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A London village; Belgravia

Where is Belgravia?

Belgravia is a clearly-defined area of Central London. Unlike many London districts which have rather vague borders – such as Hampstead Village – Belgravia has established borders on four sides. They are Sloane Street and Buckingham Palace Road to the west and east, and Knightsbridge and Pimlico Road to the north and south. It is thus a regular shape, with Hyde Park Corner at the north east, and Sloane Square to the south west. It is obvious from these landmarks that this is a desirably central location.

Local History

Belgravia takes its name from Belgrave Square, which lies in its northern half. The square was named in honour of Viscount Belgrave, better known as the Duke of Westminster, a major London landowner. The land was developed in the early 19th century by Richard Grosvenor, the 2nd Marquess of Westminster, and much of the property in Belgravia is still owned by the Grosvenor estate.

Getting to Belgravia

Travel links could scarcely be better than those in this part of London. Victoria Station lies at its corner, with trains to Southern England and an express service to Gatwick Airport. There are underground stations at Knightsbridge, Hyde Park Corner, and Sloane Square, as well as Victoria. Victoria Coach Station is London’s principal terminus for long-distance bus services, and there are also numerous local bus routes. Road access to the west and north of London is simple, with the M4 and M40 motorways within reach.

Belgravia’s famous residents

Astonishing numbers of famous and important people have been associated with this area, including Prime Ministers such as Margaret Thatcher, Neville Chamberlain, and Stanley Baldwin, writers Ian Fleming, Alfred Lord Tennyson, and Mary Shelley, and composers including Frederic Chopin and Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, or more recently, Andrew Lloyd Webber. Actors whose successful careers have enabled them to make Belgravia their home have included Sir Sean Connery and Sir Roger Moore.

Belgravia life

The majority of Belgravia looks much as it did in the nineteenth century. Because the Grosvenor Estate is still the major property-owner, there have been restrictions on the uses to which the buildings could be put, and most are either occupied by diplomats or professional associations, or are still private homes. Elizabeth Street and Motcomb Street have small and exclusive shops and restaurants, but otherwise Belgravia’s streets are quiet and tranquil. However, there is easy access to world-class shopping in neighbouring Sloane Street and Knightsbridge.

Public gardens in Belgravia

There are no public parks in Belgravia, but many of the houses share quiet garden squares, and residents can walk to nearby Hyde Park to the north, Green Park to the east, and Ranelagh Gardens in the south west.

A special place

Belgravia is a peaceful, beautiful village a few minutes away from the bustle of the city, which for several centuries has been at the heart of fashionable London.

Image credit – Geograph