Living in London's BelgraviaIyna Bort Caruso
London, England, may be a busy city but the neighborhood of Belgravia is a surprisingly tranquil district in the heart of the capital. It is also one of the world’s wealthiest.
Belgravia is situated south of the royal green expanse of Hyde Park and west of Buckingham Palace. Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, Frederic Chopin, and Margaret Thatcher are counted among its one-time residents. It is a showcase of exquisite gardens, aristocratic squares and buildings with blue-plaque historical markers. Much of the district lies within a conservation area and enjoys protected status due to its architectural and historic importance.
Locals say Belgravia has a village feel. The chic pastel-colored storefronts of Elizabeth Street and the tucked-away boutiques on the cobbled Motcomb Street tend to be frequented by those in the know.
The neighborhood’s grand plaza, Belgrave Square, was developed by master builder Thomas Cubbit in the1820s at the behest of Richard Grosvenor, Marquis of Westminster, whose family property company still owns hundreds of acres of land in Belgravia today. The original residents of Belgrave Square were wealthy homeowners who wanted to live close to Buckingham Palace. After World War II, those same homes were largely taken up by embassies or headquarters of international charitable organizations.
Belgravia’s streetscapes of iconic, cream-colored stucco townhouses are the legacy of 19th-century urban planning. The design is cohesive, distinctive and remarkably intact. Easton Square, Chester Square and Wilton Crescent are among the district’s most exclusive residential areas of trophy homes. The area also offers charming mews homes renovated from old stables as well as modern apartments.
Turnover is historically low. Belgravia attracts high net worth property buyers who prize privacy and security. Many are international owners with multiple residences.