Just landed in Chelsea and you haven’t a clue where to go next? From the King’s Road to the World’s End, our Chelsea taxi driver’s guide has got all the best tips on where to get a great pint, a delicious cocktail or even a world class meal. We’ve even got some thoughts on what to do while you’re here. Let’s get cracking. Chelsea has long been the shiny, polished face of upmarket west London. With Sloane Square even lending its name to the one-time local glitterati – the Sloane Rangers. Today you’re more likely to know its rich and fabulous from TV shows like ‘Made in Chelsea’ but not much has changed here since its heyday of the 1980s. Fascinatingly, long before Chelsea became known for its affiliation with money and shopping, it was once thought of as a rather hip and swinging corner of town for punks and hippies. Walk up and down the King’s Road now though and it’ll feel odd to imagine counterculture icons like Malcolm McDowell or Sid Vicious plotting their next debauched party. Especially amongst what are now largely high end designer stores. Of course it’s not all wealthy socialites in Chelsea, there’s also the footballers. Reach the end of the Fulham Road and you’ll hit Stamford Bridge. Home to the mighty Chelsea F.C. – or just ‘The Blues’ as they’re known round here. With the river Thames and Battersea just to its south, Fulham to its west and Pimlico to its east, Chelsea can count some glamorous areas among its neighbours. So you can expect to spend a pretty penny while you’re here. Addison Lee have been providing London with reliable minicabs since 1975. Ensuring our customers always enjoy the most comfortable, prompt and reliable cars and drivers. We put your safety above all else and pride ourselves on never charging more than you’ve been quoted. Follow this, our Chelsea taxi driver’s guide to unlock the secrets of this splendid part of town. All you’ll need now is an Addison Lee.
Where to drink
The Chelsea Potter
You have to walk surprisingly far up the King’s Road from Sloane Square before you hit its first pub (go beyond it at your peril). But when you do you’ll find a place that’s busy, buzzy and full of fun. Once a bit of a grubby venue that rested on the laurels of its location, The Chelsea Potter has taken a turn for the pleasant in recent years. Detractors will tell you that this place is little more than a tourist trap but any time we’ve been wandering up the King’s Road, we’ve struggled to find a more convenient place to rest our feet and wet our whistle. Can be quite expensive but given the location, it’s hardly a surprise.
119 King's Rd, SW3 4PL
The Cross Keys
For anyone looking for an altogether more relaxed and amiable environment, check out the Cross Keys. This elegant gastropub has much more of that classic old-world, west London feel about it. It’s hard to find many pubs in Chelsea that don’t claim to have once housed famous patrons but one look at the Cross Keys and you really do get the impression it might have had its fair share. Decked out in calming oak from head to toe, this is a pub for long lunches or drawn out post-work pints. The food here is really terrific but if you’re only in the market for a drink, allow yourself a scotch egg. They’re rather good.
1 Lawrence Street, SW3 5NB
Without wishing to spoil the illusion too much, The Chelsea Ram is owned by the illustrious Young’s brewery. But unlike their usually excellent range of London pubs, this one belongs to their superior Geronimo range. A selection of gastropubs that are especially comfy and inviting. Step inside and you’ll feel like you’re home. There’s a lovely little sofa in the corner next to a fireplace that’s just begging for settle down to. At the back, a large dining area that doubles up as a great place to enjoy your pint. While at the front, in the entrance there’s a more of a classic pub vibe. The food varies but is mostly exquisite and last time we stopped by they had a great range of Japanese whiskies.
32 Burnaby St, SW10 0PL
Where to eat
Let’s start with the big one. They say the hardest thing about Michelin stars isn’t getting them, but keeping them. So imagine how hard Gordon Ramsay’s eponymous restaurant must have to work to hold onto all three? Well, finding out is an unsurprisingly dear affair but it’s well worth the effort and the large pile of cash you’ll have to hand over. The food, the setting and the service here are all just on a whole new level to anything you could possibly expect. The freshest possible ingredients and the tastiest of all expertly sourced flavours come together to create a menu for the ages. You’ll find your servers and waiters to be expertly informed and always more than happy to help out.
68 Royal Hospital Rd, SW3 4HP
Are there any greater phrases in the English language than “24hr restaurant”? If there are then we were probably fast asleep when they were uttered. VQ has been a mainstay of the Fulham Rd’s hungry hordes since 1995. Where it has been working at full tilt for over 20 years. A fancy and much needed 2012 facelift has left VQ ideally poised to fulfill your late night eating needs. The food ranges from all day/night breakfast through to NY style pizzas and hot dogs. And before you ask, yes they do serve alcohol all through the night. We should also mention they’re equally decent by day as they are by night.
325 Fulham Rd, SW10 9QL
Another restaurant with a bit of a quirk to it. The Orange Elephant is a real newcomer to the Chelsea scene. Embracing the business model set out by single dish establishments like Burger & Lobster, this place is all about the sirloin beef. Describing themselves as “Masters of Steak” (aren’t we all?) these guys knock out a sirloin steak, their special sauce and some beef dripping chips for £20 per portion. All you need to do is tell them how you like it cooked and what drink you’d like to go with it. For the real masters of steak there’s a special £80 menu which involves a 1.3kg Tomahawk Steak. But we have less of an idea what that is than why they called Orange Elephant. What we do known was it was all delicious and we’ll be back for more soon.
351 Fulham Rd, SW10 9TW
What to do
Royal Court Theatre
While you’d certainly expect to find a theatre in this part of west London, you might not expect somewhere quite like The Royal Court. Set against the glitzy backdrop of Sloane Square (right by the tube station, which is handy if it’s raining), the Royal Court has been at the forefront of London’s most daring, adventurous and provocative theatre for over fifty years. Widely regarded as being the testing ground for some of Britain’s most exciting playwrights, this is the kind of theatre you go to to be constantly surprised. It’s also a great spot to see plays before they move on to the West End and more pricey ticket structures.
Sloane Square, SW1W 8AS
Originally opened in 1985 in St John’s Wood in north London, the Saatchi gallery has played an important role in shaping London’s art scene ever since wealthy philanthropist and advertising mogul Charles Saatchi decided to open up his personal collection to the public. Today it sits in the resplendent Duke of York’s Headquarters building. And continues to champion the work of artists both old and new. With a heavy emphasis on modern artists like Tracey Emin and Damien Hirst. The majority of the gallery is free to walk around although there are always temporary exhibitions which you’ll need to pay to see.
Duke Of York's HQ, King's Rd, SW3 4RY
There’s a bit of a disconnect between the fancy upper class settings of Chelsea and the slightly grittier reputation of some of its football club’s fans. That being said, Stamford Bridge (their ground) is far from an unpleasant place to be. For the most part these days Chelsea are a hugely successful and world renowned football club. Attracting megastars of the modern game to play week in and out on their hallowed turf. Recent heroes of the Blue faithful have included John Terry, Frank Lampard and Didier Drogba. And as long as Billionaire owner Roman Abramovich continues to pump his considerable wealth into the club, expect this to continue. Tickets aren’t cheap but you can expect quite the show if you’re happy to fork out.
Fulham Rd, SW6 1HS