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How to spend a winter city break in Chelsea

The Sloane Street guide to where to stay, eat, drink and pamper yourself in SW1 this winter

4 January 2024

Some say January and February are the toughest months of the year – it’s cold, dark, and there are the post-festive-season blues. We say: what better time to discover all that Chelsea and Sloane Street have to offer? The Christmas crowds have died down, but the chance to enjoy that cosy wintry feeling remains, and the neighbourhood is awash with new-year optimism. We’ve curated the perfect winter staycation for the area.

Where to stay

First things first, you’ll need somewhere to lay your head. Luckily, Chelsea is full of luxurious hotels to suit every taste, and these are not just places to sleep, but an experience in themselves that we promise you won’t want to leave. 

At Sloane is the place if you’re looking for a seductive boutique hotel (it’s courtesy of Parisian hotelier Costes), with a decor that is just so chic, not to mention the snug basement bar, which is ideal for whiling away a winter’s evening.

For an elegant London feel (and the most Instagrammable bathrooms in SW1), look to The Cadogan, A Belmond Hotel, which is steeped in city history and counts Oscar Wilde and Lillie Langtry as former residents of the building. Guests have exclusive access to Harley Street hypnotherapist and sleep expert Malminder Gill’s The Sleep Concierge service, which aims to give you the best snooze of your life with special pillows, blankets and meditations. Plus, you’ll also get keys to the gated Cadogan Gardens, where a morning stroll to glimpse frosty branches and the hotel’s resident beehives is a must. 

All-out luxury is covered by the Mandarin Oriental Hyde Park, London, with its opulent Art Deco design features and views over London’s much-loved park, and The Carlton Tower Jumeirah, which has a highly regarded fitness club for those keen to get a holiday workout in. 

Beaverbrook Town House – sister hotel to the namesake country manor in the Surrey Hills – has a distinctly British mood throughout its 14 suites set across two Georgian townhouses. And then there is The Chelsea Townhouse – formerly the Draycott Hotel – which is your destination for a serene space amid Chelsea’s charming bustle. Rooms have views over leafy Cadogan Gardens and the neighbourhood’s beautiful red-brick residences. 

...At Sloane Hotel 
The Cadogan
The Chelsea Townhouse

Where to eat and drink

Chelsea is home to some of the best chefs and mixologists in the business, and more will be joining the area in 2024, so watch this space. Though many restaurants accept walk-ins, they are all neighbourhood favourites, so it’s worth booking ahead to secure a table.

Recent openings include Azzurra, an all-day ‘boat-to-table’ eatery offering fresh British seafood cooked the Italian way. Its three-course lunch menu (£30) is a great way to relish one of the best things about being on holiday: having a long lunch with no obligations afterwards.

Another Italian spot you’ll love is Cantinetta Antinori – a Tuscan restaurant from the famed winemaking Antinori family, which is a must-visit if you’re partial to a great glass of red and live jazz, which happens in the evening from Thursday to Saturday.

Prefer French? No problem – just head to the elegant restaurant on the fifth floor of …At Sloane, or try Colbert, which serves excellent breakfasts (think French toast and abundant egg choices) and classic Gallic cuisine throughout the day. The outdoor seating is one of the best places in Chelsea to people watch, so wrap up, grab a seat and find yourself wondering whether you’re on Sloane Square or the Place des Vosges.

For a culinary trip around Europe, try The LaLee at The Cadogan, A Belmond Hotel. Named after its famous former resident, the socialite Lillie Langtry, it has a menu inspired by her journeys around the continent. The cocktails and extensive whisky selection alone are worth the visit. 

Also inside The Cadogan is pastry chef Benoît Blin’s new afternoon tea (from £75 per person), which is hosted in the elegant, art-filled Cadogan Lounge, and combines the Britishness of a classic tea with French sensibilities and ingredient twists that draw on Blin’s world travels.

You’ll find another exceptional dining experience at Beaverbrook Town House’s Fuji Grill, which serves delicious Japanese food throughout the day, and also offers an Omakase experience, where head sushi chef Jan will create between 12 and 20 exquisite dishes showcasing the region’s cuisine. A true treat for any food lover. If you’re tight for time, book in at the hotel’s sushi bar, instead.

The Anya Café on Pont Street is another place you simply must tick off the list. Its joyful Chubby Hearts and Monster Cakes have become synonymous with Chelsea and are a genuine delight to tuck into. Afterwards, go into Hindmarch’s The Village opposite, and take in the designer’s highly creative vision for this ever-changing pop-up space.

Catinetta Antinori
The Cadogan Afternoon Tea 
Anya Café

Where to shop

As one of the most luxurious shopping streets in the world, Sloane Street is a brilliant place to find yourself something that’s guaranteed to bring you joy for years to come. 

Start with Dior’s new boutique at 196–198 Sloane Street. It sits across three floors and echoes the house’s flagship on Paris’s Avenue Montaigne, while the stunning facade is inspired by its signature checked pattern. Then, at Saint Laurent, you’ll find the chicest Parisian wares, and at Kiton, the world’s most carefully crafted tailoring. Pay a visit to Jessica McCormack’s brand new, artsy boutique (her second in London) and marvel at the designer’s beautiful diamond jewellery, which combines contemporary design with vintage elements. 

Don’t miss The Village by Anya Hindmarch on Pont Street, where you’ll find a multi-store cluster of the lauded accessory designer’s offerings, all reflecting her trademark wit, vibrancy and devotion to craftsmanship. The Labelled Shop is all about organisation and decluttering; The Plastic Shop is dedicated to the I Am A Plastic Bag line (made of recycled plastic bottles); The Bespoke Shop is where you can customise your purchases; and The Village Hall is an ever-changing space that regularly delights with its concepts.

Perusing the the recently opened Conran Shop, which has a selection of iconic design items created by founder Sir Terence Conran, along with contemporary creators. There are objects large and small, so it’s perfect for finding mementoes of your staycation or making that artsy sofa purchase you’ve been thinking of. For the full list of boutiques, click here.

And if you’d prefer some guidance, why not book the Street’s Private Shopping service, where one of three expert stylists will listen to your needs and find the very best items from around the neighbourhood? It is a lovely way to treat yourself.

Conran Shop

For culture

Your first stop for culture should be the Saatchi Gallery, where its Season of Sculpture continues through January, drawing to a close on the 22nd. Expect illuminating works from 29 female sculptors, plus a retrospective on art-world legends Christo and Jeanne-Claude. 

From 14 February, the gallery will hold the biggest-ever exhibition on photographic artist Edward Burtynsky, whose large-scale images documenting humans’ impact on the planet are both awe-inspiring and thought-provoking. 

If it’s raining, opt for a museum day. The V&A’s much-loved DIVA exhibition runs until April, and for kids, the Natural History and Science museums are within walking distance and offer an abundance of engaging installations that will have little ones occupied all day. 

And for evening entertainment, book tickets for the Royal Court Theatre on Sloane Square. It is one of the world’s most celebrated centres for playwriting, and in January will host important writers from Barbados, Brazil, Jamaica, Mexico and the Philippines in a not-to-be-missed series of readings and performances across three weeks.

Be sure to check in, too, at Cadogan Hall and find out what’s on – the venue, which is home to the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, has an exciting programme of talks and music, covering classical to country, rock and pop, so there is something for everyone.

Saatchi Gallery, Women In Sculpture

Get outside

On a sunny winter’s day, there is nothing better than ambling the streets of Chelsea with a hot drink in hand. Stop off at The Roasting Party on Pavilion Road for a speciality coffee to go, and appreciate the neighbourhood’s beautiful ‘Pont Street Dutch’ red-brick buildings on Sloane Street and the ones adjoining. Extra points if you can find some of the area’s numerous blue plaques on the way. 

Or make the most of it with a walk around Chelsea Physic Garden. The historic botanical garden on Royal Hospital Road has rare plants from all over the world, so no matter the season, you’ll always find something of interest (in fact, we suggest visiting often throughout the year to see the spectacular variety).

Chelsea Physics Garden

Cosy up

Speaking of seasons – Chelsea has such unique charm in all of them, but it does feel rather magical under winter’s twinkling lights, even after the Christmas decorations have gone. 

Embrace the cosiness with a luxurious hot chocolate at The Carlton Tower Jumeirah’s beautiful Chinoiserie dining space. It’s served with vanilla Chantilly cream, gingerbread baked in-house, dulce de leche, chocolate mini stars and marshmallows, and is best enjoyed with a newly purchased read from the cosiest bookshop of all, John Sandoe

For something a little stronger, head to Sir Frank’s Bar – the Beaverbrook Town House’s eclectic space, with its Japanese-inspired decor and selection of impressive cocktails you simply won’t find anywhere else. The Elizabeth Taylor martini, which comes with a mother-of-pearl spoon of caviar (naturally), is not to be missed.

There is also something lovely about a quintessentially British pub in the winter, especially when you’ve been outside all day. If that’s your thing, then find a corner seat in Christchurch Terrace’s snug wood-panelled pub, The Surprise, and order a cask ale.

Chinoiserie Bar
Sir Frank's Bar

Where to relax

No staycation is complete without a touch of pampering, especially after you’ve been busy exploring Chelsea in the cold. 

Super facialist Teresa Tarmey has recently taken up residency at The Cadogan, A Belmond Hotel, with her most popular treatments on the menu, including the deeply cleansing Advanced Facial. Residents of the hotel can also purchase items from Tarmey’s skincare line for at-home (or in-room) pampering sessions.

For speedy sessions, Pavilion Road’s Sarah Chapman Skinesis offers express treatments in its Glow Zone. Experience Chapman’s famed facial technique with the 15-minute Lift & Gym Massage (£20). And on Harvey Nichols’ fourth floor, there is a wealth of one-hour treatments available, from Nail’d It’s popular manicures, to The Light Salon’s LED and massage sessions. 

For more intensive therapy, try Vita Boutique’s sport massage or KXU, which offers everything from cryotherapy to laser facials. Oh, and both also hold daily fitness classes. 

The Peak Fitness Club and Spa within The Carlton Tower is, like the hotel it is housed in, a lavish experience. There is an extensive and indulgent treatment menu, a relaxing members’ lounge, products from 111Skin, Grown Alchemist and Seed to Skin, plus a light-filled swimming pool and exercise classes. You won’t regret spending a chill-out day here.


For the full, year-round low-down of what to do in Chelsea, click here.
Sarah Chapman Skinesis

What to do in Chelsea

There is no shortage of exciting events, fashion and food on Sloane Street all year round. Discover the latest news here