I love a bank holiday weekend, who doesn’t? Sundays are usually low key and even a bit depressing, knowing you have to get back to the daily grind in a matter of hours. But not a bank holiday Sunday; no… these are completely transformed into an amazing additional day where it feels as though the world is your oyster. Stay up as late as you like! Go on, have that extra glass of wine. Whoa, is that sunshine?! Yes, because bank holiday Sundays are simply magical.
I spent this past bank holiday Sunday with one of my favourite people in one of my favourite places – my BFF and I had a day out of (window) shopping along the Kings Road.
I spent over ten years living in London and the majority of that was in a SW postcode – Fulham, Parsons Green, Wandsworth, Clapham, Wimbledon, Putney (I moved a lot!). Most of these places had a very standard if not small high street. But Chelsea is different. It’s full of one-off boutiques, chic cafes and bars full of beautiful people, all of which seem to be for a lifestyle that’s just a tad bit more aspirational. I love it.
As you probably know, I also love shopping. London is without a doubt a shopper’s paradise but braving Oxford Street on a bank holiday is just not something I’m willing to do. The Kings Road, which is the heart of Chelsea, is different. It’s got an amazing buzz of fashionable people, but it doesn’t have hoards of tourists and swarms of shoppers, making it a much more enjoyable experience.
Fancy a stroll and some shopping? I recommend starting from Sloane Square and working your way down the Kings Road, like we did, popping into wherever takes your fancy along the way. Here’s a short selection of some of my favourite stops, inspired by our recent shopping trip:
Fuel up with breakfast at Colbert
Come out of Sloane Square tube station, go right and you’ll find yourself under the beautiful burgundy awnings of French brasserie, Colbert.
As soon as you walk in, you’ll be transported to great cafes of Paris. It’s opulent but friendly. Grab a seat at the marble bar for a quick breakfast to get you going. Choices range from a decadent full English to lighter options like a single portion of eggs florentine, home-made granola or mashed avocado on toast, with most options under a tenner (including coffee!).
Let the shopping commence!
Once you’re fuelled up, wander across the street and you’ll see the impressive corner building that is Club Monaco’s UK flagship store.
Be sure to wash your hands after brekkie, as a land of soft, sumptuous fabrics awaits – if you’re anything like me, you’ll want to touch it all!
Club Monaco describes its style as ‘distinctly urban-casual’. It’s a great place if you’re looking for something special or need an investment piece. The tailoring is soft but well structured. Many pieces are quite classic with a touch of embellishment that adds an on-trend edge. I love it as it’s slightly off the beaten path so whether you need a dress for a wedding or a new trench, the likelihood of sharing your style with others is slim!
Bright, shiny and personalised
Next venture down the Kings Road and very quickly you’ll come to an opening with a florist on the corner – turn in here and you’ll find a square full of beautiful boutiques! One of my favourites is jeweller Monica Vinader.
I’ve been a long-time fan and collector of her simple gold-plated designs so when this standalone shop opened, I rejoiced. If you’re a rose gold lover like me, be warned, you’re going to want it all. Fortunately, a lot of the pieces look great alone but are designed to be stacked and worn together – rings, bracelets and necklaces. You can also get free engraving done on site. Men take note, it’s the perfect place to buy a gift!
A sure-fire favourite
Continue exploring the Duke of York Square and you’ll find a fabulous Zara. I’m sure you’ve been to a Zara before but this one is different. It’s spacious and tidy and the selection is fantastic. They also have a sizeable home section, which is divine. If you need a Zara shopping-spree it’s definitely worth making the trip here and saving yourself the stress of Oxford Street!
There are number of other fabulous shops lining the Duke of York Square as well that rival central London. Most look small from the outside, but venture in and you’ll find a basement level. Cos and All Saints are definitely worth a browse. And don’t forget to explore the street side which is home to fab shops like BCBGMaxAzria, Space NK and Michael Kors.
Not-so diet friendly
Walking down the Square you’ll find an open tree-lined space with a café smack in the middle, and the Saatchi Gallery on the left. At the end of the path is one of the most impressive Jigsaw stores (complete with a spiral stair case) and Partridges, the Queen’s grocery store.
Pop in here even if just to browse their impressive deli and dessert counters.
You’ll also find one of London’s best selections of imported American foods. It’s a mecca for a homeless Yank like me come Thanksgiving time! However anytime of year I’m likely to walk out with a pack of Twizzlers. It’s also a great place to grab a coffee (and a pastry) while you sit outside and people watch.
Continue to head west down the Kings Road and you’ll find a range of boutiques, shoe stores and high street faves, far too many to mention!
Explore an emporium of awesomeness
Explore at your leisure but don’t head home until you arrive at Anthropologie – one of my all-time favourite shops!
I used to go as a child back in Florida (where I grew up) and play hide and seek through the rails of clothing, dream which eclectic door knobs I’d buy for my dream house and flip through the beautiful selection of coffee table books. Not much has changed in twenty years, except now I have to exert extreme budgeting will power!
Anthropologie is like an old fashioned emporium of beautiful clothing, homewares and accessories (the Chelsea shop even has it’s own art gallery!) from a diverse collection of unique brands. It’s best to visit just after pay day.
Debrief the day
No shopping day is complete without a debriefing glass of bubbly at Bluebird. It’s become somewhat of a Chelsea institution.
After one visit, it’s easy to see why. If it’s sunny out, sit in the gorgeous garden where you might spot Spencer or Binky (or some of the other Made in Chelsea crew).
There’s also a café, a restaurant and a shop. It’s the perfect place to end a fabulous day!