The area of London known as Knightsbridge is a well renowned as an exclusive residential district of London and as home to some of the most famous shops in the UK. The following article provides an overview of this compact, yet significant district of London.
Where It Is
The district of Knightsbridge is located in West London, spanning the edges of the City of Westminster and the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea. It has a prime location on the southern edge of Hyde Park, surrounded by Brompton and South Kensington to the west, Belgravia to the east and south with Buckingham Palace just beyond. The area is in fact named after the Knightsbridge Road which roughly forms its northern border, on the edge of Hyde Park. To the east it is approximately separated from Kensington by Exhibition Road and to the west Sloane Street forms its border with Belgravia, although the boundaries of the area are in truth very blurred.
Knightsbridge Road itself is one of the most famous sections of the traditional route to the West of England and Wales, the A4, the Great West Road. As an extension of the Brompton Road it runs towards the centre of London into Hyde Park Corner and ultimately continues past some of London’s most recognisable landmarks. It carries on into Piccadilly, down the northern extent of Buckingham Palace, through Piccadilly Circus, Haymarket and Charing Cross and along The Strand and Fleet Street.
The district sits within Zone 1 of the local transport network in London and is served by Knightsbridge tube station on the Piccadilly line, although Hyde Park Corner tube station is also on the edge of the area.
Knightsbridge is world famous for two things, shopping and exclusive homes. In terms of its residential credentials it is up alongside its illustrious neighbours such as Mayfair and Belgravia as home to some of the most expensive and sought after real estate in the UK if not the world. In fact it has been judged that 14 of the UK's 200 most expensive streets are within the small district. What’s more in 2007, the most expensive apartment property on the planet at that time was sold in Knightsbridge for a staggering £100,000,000. Perhaps the most prominent residence in Knightsbridge, however, is actually the towering apartment block of the Hyde Park Barracks, home for the members of the household cavalry.
The district boasts some of the most exclusive designer and retail outlets in the capital too and is home to arguably the two most famous flagship department stores in the UK, Harrods (since 1849) and, just up the road, Harvey Nichols (since 1880). Indeed Knightsbridge has been designated as one of only two international shopping centres in the capital alongside the West End (which includes Oxford Street).
The settlement that we now think of as comprising the Knightsbridge area grew from a small settlement founded around a bridge on the River Westbourne, a tributary of the Thames, between the larger villages of Chelsea and Kensington. The river, which is now is now hidden underground in sewage pipes, also shared its name at various stages of its course with areas of London such as Kilburn, Bayswater and Serpentine (in Hyde Park).
The most notable event in the history of the the bridge at Knightsbridge is the fateful meeting between Empress Matilda and the residents of the capital 1141. Matilda was in dispute with her cousin King Stephen for the right to succeed her father, his uncle, Henry I as the ruler of England in a conflict latterly known as The Anarchy. She arrived to claim the throne having captured and deposed Stephen but was ultimately turned away by the Londoners having failed to show enough humility and coalesce on their demands for lower taxes.
For such as small area of London is certainly has a big reputation. Despite being dwarfed for much of its existence by more illustrious neighbours it has now become an internationally renowned hot spot in London for all things associated with an high-end exclusive lifestyle.
© Stuart Mitchell 2012
If you want to find out more about living in Knightsbridge then visit Estate Agents Knightsbridge.
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