|Peggy Porschen Bakery|
Belgravia, with its cream colored mansions, gentile garden squares and graceful streets is one of the most expensive and chic areas in London. It is home to embassies, upscale shops, impeccable hotels and at least six Michelin-starred restaurants.
But the real reason I wanted to come here was to visit Peggy Porschen Cakes, a bakery so beautiful that it has almost 400,000 instagram followers. So, I'm really lucky that my friend Beth, who lives here, has offered to show me around her haunts!
We start at Victoria Station and head toward Elizabeth Street. (you can also arrive in Belgravia by tube to Hyde Park Corner, Knightsbridge or Sloane Square) . Belgravia is a fashionable district that is shared by both the City of Westminster and the Borough of Chelsea. Its borders are Buckingham Palace on the East, Hyde Park on the North, Pimlico Road on the South, and Sloane Street (Chelsea) on the West.
On the corner of Elizabeth and Ebury Streets, a miniscule pink palace rises out of the masses of white stucco. Peggy Porschen Bakery is both tiny and popular, which is why there is generally a line going around the corner and down the street, just for the opportunity to take a photo of the store, or to taste one of their delicious cupcakes. We tried the dairy-free Orange Almond cake--moist and yummy!
After getting my sweet tooth going, I'm anxious to visit some of the street's other famous bakeries and eateries. Our next stop is Dominique Ansel Bakery, home of the "cronut."
Of course someone would get the idea of putting together a croissant, a donut and some custard filling, right?
Dominic Ansel Bakery
I can see that this day will put my January diet to the test, but that doesn't deter us, and we continue on down Elizabeth Street, possibly one of the cutest streets around, and full of boutiques, eateries and more bakeries!
my friend's favorite pub, the Thomas Cubitt ( named after the architect of the area)
Jeroboam's Wine Shop
In the 17th century, this area was known as 5 Fields, and it was pretty much as advertised. But in the early 1800's, the Grosvenor family who owned the area hired the famed architect Thomas Cubitt to develop what would be one of the first "planned communities". The columns and architecture provide a genteel rhythm, as you can see.
As you proceed, you now come to Eaton Square, one of Belgravia's 3 main squares, many of which are private, and only open to residents.
At Belgrave Square, one can't help but notice the many embassies that line the perimeter. Notice the flag with the circle of stars above? That's the European Union Flag, one that in a few months, the UK will no longer be flying.
As we continue back towards Ebury Street, we pass the home of Vivien Leigh (Eaton Square),Mozart and Ian Fleming (Ebury street), each recognized by blue plaques. Other famous past residents include Maggie Thatcher, Sean Connery, Roger Moore and Chopin.
Ebury Street is also home to the trendy Lime Tree Hotel, and around the corner, the famous jazz club, The Boisdale. If you are staying in the area, pop in for a Scottish meal and some late night jazz!
We now dip into a hidden courtyard, Eccleston Yards, which opened in summer 2018 and where we find a very instagrammable mural of Frida Kahlo, a Barry's Bootcamp, and some inspired eateries.
My friend Beth tells me that in this area, there are several really good restaurants which she has tried: Uni (Japanese), Santini and Olivocarne (Italian). This is probably a good time to talk about the plethora of Michelin starred restaurants in this neighborhood: Petrus, Amaya, Marcus and Celeste, as well as The Dining Room, in the Goring Hotel, pictured below.
The average price for an apartment (flat) in Belgravia (as of jan 2019) is £3.4 million. The flats in the building below, which is across the street from where my friend lives, price out at 30 million pounds (about $40m), but there are those that reach a stratospheric 100 million pounds!
Another tidbit for you: Mansions here are what we call apartment buildings in the USA, but unlike most of the USA, flats within the mansion blocks can be extremely pricy and prestigious. (Think The Dakota in New York City)
By now, the sugar is starting to wear off and we are feeling a bit "peckish", which is UK for hungry. I cant wait to try out lunch at the Daylesford! I've heard about its wonderful concept, literally farm to table. The organic Daylesford Farms are located in the Cotswolds, and they have restaurants all around London. They give classes in cookery and crafts, sell organic produce and locally made gift items. In the restaurant, you are surrounded by items --scarves, dishes, pet toys-- which you may purchase! I apologize in advance but I took quite a few photos of the Daylesford restaurant and store. I highly recommend eating lunch or brunch here.
my salad, which was really 3 salads: caesar, grain and kale
Shelves around the eating area are lined with items for sale!
fresh vegetables and meat at the Daylsford
But we aren't done yet!!!! We have one more square to cover, Orange Square. There is nothing orange about this square, which, in the center area features a statue of Mozart as a boy. For all you over-achievers, Mozart lived in Belgravia when he composed his first symphony, at age 8.
Orange Square has some amazing furniture and antique stores surrounding it, a beautiful florist, and a well-known pub, aptly named "the Orange".
One thing I want to talk about is Afternoon Tea. The Brits do not call it "High Tea", that is an Americanism! It is served just about everywhere, but there are always those that stand out. For example, although I haven't experience it, the Lanesborough Hotel offers two very posh Afternoon Teas.
And I KNOW I"ll be back to try the Afternoon Tea at R Chocolate. The menu includes a Chocolate Tasting, and a Chocolate Fondue option. Even R Chocolate's wine is infused with Chocolate!
Well, that wraps up our day in Belgravia! Hope you enjoyed it as much as I did!
Beth and I after an amazing day of eating and shopping in Belgravia!
PS: If you have a bit more time, you might try exploring the Chelsea side of Belgravia, surrounding Sloane Square (which I will cover separately, because the people of Chelsea also claim it as theirs!). Sloane Square is home to a Theatre, Cadogan Hall (concert venue), multiple shops and art galleries, such as the Saatchi modern art gallery, and even a grocery store that sells American products!
Or you could always do more shopping in Belgravia!
Knightsbridge Road---Harvey Nichols
Motcomb Street---Louboutin shoes, expensive boutiques and old style street lamps
Pimlico road --- Trendy furniture and antiques
Elizabeth street---small boutiques, bakeries, florists and cafes
Sloane Square-- more boutiques, art galleries, restaurants, tube stop
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