Forget Oxford Street – Take A Stroll Down King’s Road Instead
If Oxford Street proves too busy and crowded for your shopping experience, check out King’s Road in Chelsea. The 3km long road is a shopper’s paradise, ranging from brand names, such as Nike and Levis to high-end retailers and department stores, which may be better for window shopping than actual shopping. Unique to King’s Road are the many independent shops, such as The Shop at Bluebird, a one-off “concept store”, almost too pretty to touch. A bit farther off the main drag, you’ll stumble upon Worlds End Bookshop, a dusty little secondhand shop, where you can pop in for a quiet reprise from the hustle bustle.
Just off Duke of York Square is Partridges, an artisanal food market where you can find British specialities and fancy teas and coffees, as well as normal snacks, including a selection of American foods. They also have a small cafe for takeaway or sit in, including an outdoor patio. On the weekends, as part of the Chelsea Farmers Market you can find various local food stalls selling anything from French pastries to Mediterranean salad boxes. The Duke of York Square is also home to Saatchi Gallery, a free gallery featuring rotating collections of contemporary art.
If you’re wondering why it’s called King’s Road, it’s because in the late 17th century it was just that. It is believed in 1694, King Charles II had the road specially built as a connection between St James’s Palace to Fulham and eventually Kew. In fact, King’s Road remained a private road until 1830, where it was used exclusively by the royal monarch and its circle of privileged few. Nowadays, it’s an epicentre for London independent boutique shopping.