Knightsbridge is a prestigious residential and commercial district in central London to the south of Hyde Park. It borders Belgravia to the east, Kensington to the west and Chelsea to the south. Why was the area given this name? What is the story of the district? What makes it interesting? How is the property market there? We’ll give answers to all these questions in this article.
Knightsbridge, like many other historic areas of the British capital, was a tiny village in the Middle Ages. Knightsbridge Manor was owned by Westminster Abbey in the late 13th century.
The next part of the neighbourhood’s past is unavoidably associated with Japan. In the late 1800s, Britain started trading actively with the Far East. In 1885, a large Japanese exhibition was held in Knightsbridge. For two years, British citizens had the opportunity to experience the culture and customs of Japan. They could visit an authentic Buddhist temple, enjoy a show at a traditional musical theatre, or take a break at a Japanese tea house. It is believed that during that period, Sir William Gilbert, the British playwright, and his wife visited the exhibition. He was inspired by what he had seen and later wrote the popular Savoyard opera The Mikado.
In the latter half of the 20th century, Knightsbridge became notorious across the United Kingdom due to its association with numerous high-profile crimes. The robbery of the Knightsbridge depository centre and various terrorist attacks executed by IRA extremists were foremost among them. Fortunately, the neighbourhood is now very safe, with only a few incidents of domestic crime, which are hotly debated in the local media. Only the bars on the ground floors of the buildings and many CCTV cameras on the streets of Knightsbridge remind us of the turbulent 1970s and 1980s.
Modern Knightsbridge is an affluent neighbourhood with expensive department stores, offices of the most famous fashion houses, banks offering premium services, beauty salons, restaurants, and nightclubs.
If you prefer a peaceful break in the shade of old trees, you can explore Hyde Park or Kensington Gardens within just 15 minutes. Additionally, Knightsbridge provides tranquil gardens and parks such as Trevor Square.
If you prefer art, you can find exhibitions nearby at Belgravia and Mayfair Art Galleries, as well as a collection of museums situated in South Kensington. A special mention must be given to the famous museum trio in London:
All three museums offer free entry to their permanent exhibitions, allowing visitors to come as many times as they wish and explore each exhibition in great depth. Even though the temporary exhibitions of these museums are just as famous, usually they require an entrance fee, and you should book tickets beforehand.
Since Knightsbridge has been part of different parishes at different times, it has a remarkably large number of places of worship for its size. They range from Brompton House of Worship for Catholics to the Orthodox Cathedral of the Dormition near Ennismore Gardens.
Shopping is one of the main attractions in Knightsbridge. Harrods, located on Brompton Road, is a seven-storey building with 300 retail units, 20 restaurants, a bank, and a beauty salon. Over the past 170 years, Henry Harrod’s small grocery shop has become the UK’s best department store, capable of catering for all cravings and needs.
For sure, shopping in the neighbourhood isn’t restricted to one location. The flagship store of the well-known luxury department chain Harvey Nichols is situated in Knightsbridge. High-end boutiques, jewellery shops, and watch shops can be found on Brompton Road, while Sloane Street nearby boasts numerous branded fashion and antique shops.
Knightsbridge is also known as home to some of London’s best restaurants, with a wide variety of European and Asian cuisines. Since such reviews are often biased, we’ll just tell you about the specifics of the restaurant business in this neighbourhood:
Many of the buildings in Knightsbridge are of historical or cultural value and thus cannot be significantly renovated, i.e. modified beyond recognition. Prices have risen noticeably since the 2000s due to the substantial demand for residential and business premises in the region exceeding supply. Even a small loosening of regulations in 2008, which permitted developers to construct terraces and extend basements, failed to reduce the price of residential property per square metre in the neighbourhood.
As a result, prices for flats in the orange ceramic-brick mansions and whitewashed houses designed by architect Thomas Cubitt are similar to those in Belgravia. It is not unusual to find a one-bedroom flat costing around £1 million.
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In Old English, the name of this place name did not mean “knights’ bridge”, but “bridge of the young men or retainers”. At least the neighbourhood has been referred to as such in 11th-century written sources.
Another version suggests that before the luxury mansions and boutiques, it was a marshland with several bridges, one of which was frequented by knights en route to the Holy Land. Frequent horse parades of the Crusaders gave the name first to the bridge and then to the whole neighbourhood. Unfortunately, neither the bridge nor the Westbourne River have been preserved over time, as it now runs underground.
The main advantages of Knightsbridge are its density and proximity to many London sites, combined with a well-developed public transport system.
Knightsbridge is known for its lively nightlife. The local nightclubs and pubs are frequented by residents of neighbouring, equally prestigious areas such as Belgravia, Mayfair, Kensington, and Chelsea.
Another important feature is opulence in everything. Be prepared for very high prices in local boutiques and restaurants. Flats there cost extortionate amounts of money. This is a prestigious neighbourhood and to live there comfortably you will need a lot of money.
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