Explore... Sloane Square
Sloane Square is a vibrant, sophisticated neighbourhood in South West London. Located in the middle of Chelsea, Belgravia and Knightsbridge, Sloane Square is famous for its enticing combination of independent shops, fantastic restaurants and pubs, luxury stores and elegant hotels (like our very own boutique aparthotel, 3 Sloane Gardens) – the perfect base for an exciting break!
Sloane Square is a landscaped square that was originally created as a ‘traffic island’ in the middle of ‘Hans Town’; 'Hans Town' being the name given to the area of London owned by Sir Hans Sloane, an Irish doctor, during the 18th century. In the 20th century, the area was updated with the addition of pedestrian paving and the famous Venus Fountain, as pictured above (image courtesy of Derek Rankine/Flickr).
Now, Sloane Square is a bustling metropolitan oasis, packed with food, fashion and cultural pursuits. Here are some of our favourite ways to spend time this vibrant location.
If you’re a foodie, look no further! Sloane Square (and nearby Chelsea) is full of restaurants: from well-known chains to independent eateries. The famous Bluebird Café, Tom’s Kitchen, and Grainger & Co are a stone's throw from the square.
If you’re looking for something a little different, however, the Duke of York Square is a must-visit. With a number of established restaurants in the vicinity, this quaint square is also famous for its Fine Food Market, which is curated by food specialists Partridges (one of Queen Elizabeth II’s official grocers) and takes place every weekend. The market includes everything from oysters to street food, homemade sweets, and gourmet gifts – all from a selection of outstanding local suppliers.
Vivienne Westwood’s iconic ‘World’s End’ store. Photo Credit: David Mapletoft/Flickr
As lauded British designer Vivienne Westwood once said: ‘There’s nowhere else like London. Nothing at all. Anywhere.’ She may well have been referring to South West London: because both Chelsea’s King’s Road and Sloane Street (just off Sloane Square) were at the centre of London’s fashion revolution in the 1960s, and have a place in history as vibrant hubs of Mod fashion and protest culture.
There’s a different vibe nowadays – it’s more luxury than counterculture – but the area remains extremely popular for shopping. The King’s Road is home to Vivienne Westwood’s first (and arguably most iconic) store, World’s End; and opulent retailers like Mulberry, Tiffany & Co and Cartier all have stores in the vicinity. There are plenty of department stores and independent retailers, too – meaning that there’s an option for every preference and budget. In short, Sloane Square is a shopaholic’s dream!
The Saatchi Gallery. Photo Credit: Matt Brown/Flickr
It’s easy to think that luxury and edgy culture don’t go together – but Sloane Square and its surrounding areas would prove you wrong. Home to the Royal Court Theatre, Cadogan Hall and the Saatchi Gallery, this area is simply brimming with theatre, art and music.
The Royal Court Theatre, which is located on Sloane Square, is one of the most important institutions in the world for progressive theatre. Often dubbed ‘the writer’s theatre’, the Royal Court prides itself on pioneering undiscovered and emerging talent, as well as producing new works by established authors.
Cadogan Hall – which is just around the corner on Sloane Terrace - is similarly forward-thinking: in fact, it was the first London venue ever to have a resident orchestra, giving the world-famous Royal Philharmonic Orchestra a permanent home in 2001. The venue of choice for the BBC Proms Chamber Music Series, Cadogan Hall offers a varied programme of jazz, folk, and contemporary music events as well as conferences, talks, and even children’s shows.
If your taste tends more toward the visual, head over to the Saatchi Gallery. Initially drawing on the private collection of Charles Saatchi, the Saatchi Gallery has since evolved to become one of the world’s foremost spaces for contemporary art exhibitions, attaining a reputation for discovering promising new artists. A registered charity since 2018, the Saatchi Gallery has maintained its mission of providing ‘an innovative platform for contemporary art and culture’, and remains the place to go if you wish to discover some of the most unusual, thought-provoking art in town.
The Chelsea Physic Garden. Photo Credit: Charlie Dave/Flickr
One of London's most charming features is the plethora of residential squares built around gardens - and Chelsea is full of them. You only have to walk down a side street and you'll soon come across a pleasant green space to relax in.
If you’re hoping for something a little grander, however, you must visit the Chelsea Physic Garden. The oldest botanic garden in London, the Physic Garden is home to a whopping 5,000 different plants (ranging from the medicinal to the edible).
But it’s not only the plants that make this garden so special. Tucked away by the River Thames, the location feels mysterious and secret – like you’ve stumbled on a hidden oasis. And this is no accident. Built for the Worshipful Society of Apothecaries back in 1673, the Chelsea Physic Garden’s home was chosen for its private yet convenient location: this allowed the apothecaries to moor their barge on the river, make the most of the warm air currents, and also forage freely in nearby areas for training and plant-harvesting purposes.
At the Chelsea Physic Garden, you’ll find a treasure trove of horticulture: from the largest outdoor fruiting olive tree in Britain, to the world’s most northerly outdoor grapefruit tree, as well as many other rare tropical and sub-tropical species. The perfect place for an afternoon spent in nature!
If you'd like to discover the delights of this wonderful neighbourhood for yourself, our boutique aparthotel 3 Sloane Gardens would make the perfect base. For more information, please visit our dedicated webpage, or get in touch to discuss your stay.