I had seen a photo of this church and the statue of Sir Thomas More in a travel book and went to Chelsea to look for it. It is the church of Sir Thomas More (1478-1535). He lived in Chelsea from ca 1520 and attended the Chelsea Old Church. He rebuilt one of the chapels in the Chelsea Old Church, which is called the More Chapel and was More´s private Chapel. There is a statue of More (1969) south of the church.
Sir Thomas More was a councellor to King Henry VIII, who ordered for him to be beheaded as More didn´t approve of King Henry´s VIII separation from the Catholic church. After his execution he was brought into the All Hallows by the Tower Church. Sir Thomas More was later canonized in 1935.
The Chelsea Old Church dates back to the 13th century. The church was hit by a bomb in 1941 during WW2, which almost completely destroyed the church, apart from the More Chapel and some of the Monuments. The church was rebuilt in 1950. There is a reproduction of a Medieval Arch in the church.
The church is filled with beautiful Monuments, many of which commemorate the "great" families living in Chelsea. It is said to have the finest collection of Monuments outside of Westminster Abbey. Many of them were damaged during WW2, but were saved and restored.
When I visited there was a concert rehearsal, and the sacristan or the vicar, I don´t know, whispered and asked me where I was from and gave me a leaflet on the history of the church. So I tiptoed in there, looking at all the Monuments and reading up on the church. The church is filled with Monuments, one of which is More´s Monument and Tomb, even though it is not believed that he is not buried here, due to the nature of his death.
The Chelsea Old Church is a Grade I listed building.
There is a book on the history of the church "Chelsea Old Church, The Church that would not die".
When I left the church I stood by the entrance and was taking a photo with flash and at the exact same moment a lightning struck, scaring the living daylights out of me.
Well worth a trip - we had a ticket for one day of the show and one days is enough time to see all the display gardens and tour the grand pavillion.
There's the chance to get tips and have a chat with the garden designers and to but some unusual seeds and garden ornaments.
Also - don't miss the Pims stalls.
See my travelogue on my London page for more
The new Saatchi Gallery is now open in Duke of York Square - and this magnificent building is home to exhibitions of contemporary art from around the world. Currently the work on display is by Chinese artists but I shall be back soon to see the "Germania" exhibition too!
More information about this "free to enter" (isn't London fab??) gallery can be found on their website.
(The "old" Saatchi gallery was previously located in the former GLA building on the South Bank).
An ancient walled garden where from the 17th century apothocaries have researched and studied the medicinal purposes of flowers shrubs and herbs. Nowadays the plants are grown for conservation purposes and visitors can wander round admire the flora and fauna - visit the cafe and shop or just relax with a book in the sunshine.
The garden is near Chelsea embankment a short walk from Sloane Square tube station or the 170 bus from Victoria. You could also visit the National Army Museum and the National Trust property Carlyle's House on Cheyne Walk.
Adult tickets are £7 - check the website for opening times and other ticket concessions.
This beautiful chapel is included in the daily tours through the Royal Hospital and also open to the public to attend its Sunday services or for those with tickets for the Chelsea Flower Show which is held in its grounds in May each year.
We were guided by hilarious and informative Chelsea-pensioner Mac, complete with his red uniform.
Services may also include parades and special ceremonies at commemorative dates throughout the year - often dignatories and celebrities attend.
Ive worked just around the corner from here for almost 8 years - been into the grounds to visit the world famous Chelsea Flower Show a couple of times - and walked around its own open garden and parkland area other times - walked, driven or ridden transport on the access routes that border this large area of 64 acres in the middle of Chelsea, central London - particularly when frequently walked past its embankment/River Thames border on my way home. And seen the red suited Chelsea Pensioners when out and about the near by streets of Chelsea and Sloane Square. But never been in to take a tour, attend a chapel service or visit its museum.
Today we have had a work conference in its lovely 'State Apartments' and which included a tour guided by one of the Chelsea Pensioners, called Mac decked out in his red uniform.
Charles II created this hospital for war veterans on his return to Britain obviously influenced by his time in France with Louis XIV. Commenced in 1682 it took the famed Sir Christopher Wren 10 years to complete what would house 500 ex-servicemen.
These days 300 in-pensioners live here i.e. those who have met the admission criteria of being over 65 years of age, having served for the army for minimum 22 years and thus receiving an ex-army pension and not have a spouse or any other dependents - including attachments right down to any type of pet!
Included in the tour is the Great Hall, a beautiful dining room which seats 200 at a time and provides 3 meals a day and the Chapel, also open on Sundays to the public for church services.
What was fascinating was the garish gleaming gold statue of Charles II as a roman leader - interesting to be told that when recently cleaned of its black coating this gold leaf exterior was revealed!
There is a museum here which is open daily 10-12 and 2-4pm in the same building that houses the post office and souvenir shop which is open 9-5 Mon-Fri except Wed til 4pm and when the museum is open on the weekends.
Stamford Bridge, Chelsea's home.
If you are a true blue this is a not to be missed place to visit, To come here to the club's home will leave you feeling that you have completed a pilgrimage and paid homage to one of the great teams in football.
With it's museum, club shop, nightclubs, hotels and wining and dining facilities, the world famous "shed bar" on the shed end.
The photo is of the main entrance "Stamford Gate" leading up to the stadium.
Every year in May, there is a huge garden exhibition in the grounds of the Royal Hospital in London called Chelsea Flower Show. It is spectacular. I went there a few years ago, but it is just fab. You can pick up loads of great gardening tips, if you are into that sort of stuff, obviously. At the end of the show, they also sell plants with hefty discounts.
The exhibition lasts only 5 days, but the exhibitors prepare months and months in advance for the show. The show features some of the finest examples of horticultural excellence and the best displays and gardens get awarded with gold, silver and bronze awards. The show also sets the latest gardening trends and functions as a platform to launch new plants.
Designers have to apply to create show gardens. Since there is only 20 spaces, only the extraordinary garden designs make it to the show. There are also more than 100 floral displays as well a number of smaller gardens, falling into categories 'the stylish and bold chic gardens', 'courtyard gardens', 'roof gardens' and 'city gardens'.
Make sure you buy your tickets early (months and months before) as it sells out fast.
The Chelsea Cruise is in and around the Chelsea and Battersea regions of London on the last Saturday of every month, mostly during the summertime. It's a great evening out, seeing all of the old classic cars. There are American Cars like Cadillacs and Chevy 57s here, plus there are other weird and wonderful modes of transport that actually turn up at these events. We once saw a cut down red Bus, and what can only be described as a white box on wheels with Christmas lights all around it!
When we had our old Ford Cortina mk4, we had that painted an Ice cream pink with Pink Panther on the bonnet back in the early 190s; we drove proudly along the Cruise with the rest of them and wasn't out of place at all.
From the ever-hip King's Road in Chelsea to the more recently popular Notting Hill; the shopping heaven that is Kensington High Street; the fantastic greenery and scenery of Kensington Gardens; or some of London's top museums, located in South Kensington - Natural History Museum, Victoria & Albert, Science Museum.
For those into markets, Portobello Road is highly recommended, situated just behind Notting Hill Gate. The area around Portobello Road also has many trendy and unique boutiques, perfect for fashonistas.
For big department stores, there is none better than the world famous Harrods in Knightsbridge. Close behind is John Lewis in Sloane Square, which underwent a recent refit, whilst Barkers in Kensington is smaller and not as well stocked, but still worth checking out if in the area. My favorite though is Harvey Nics - just next to Harrods.
Harrods IS pricey, but it is well worth visiting even if you do not attend to buy anything because of the beautiful decor and the amazing selection. Visiting the enormous food hall, on the ground floor, is an absolute must. You might also enjoy having a cappuccino and a snack in one of the numerous cafes, or treat yourself to afternoon tea.
Nowadays, amongst other things, Kensington and Chelsea is the most affluent borough (local authority area) in Britain.
Perhaps surprisingly then, it is very popular with younger visitors because there are still much reasonably-priced accommodation available.
We all know Tower Bridge, London Bridge, Westminster Bridge and a couple of other London bridges a tourist won't miss. But Chelsea Bridge is a little away from the famous tourist attractions. The suspension bridge was opened in 1937, but there had been a bridge on this place in 1858 already. A recommendation I do on every bridge in London: See it at night when it is illuminated.
My mum-in-law loves flowers. She really enjoys working in her garden back in South Africa, and whenever she visits us, she always likes to make sure she squeezes in a visit to Kew Botanical Gardens, and the annual flower shows: Chelsea Flower Show and Hampton Court Flower Show.
Last year (2005), she invited me to go with her to check out the Chelsea Flower Show.
The Chelsea Flower Show is an annual event, taking place over a period of five days, every May. The gardens and foreground of the Royal Hospital in Chelsea are totally transformed by the most exquisite show gardens, flowers, vegetables and assorted garden paraphernalia.
This spectacular event really is a sight to be seen. The wonderful displays and exhibits will provide you with inspiration for whatever size garden you have at home - even I was inspired to tend the earth, and I was living in a flat!
The tickets sell out incredibly fast, so if you are keen to visit the gardens, you should definitely consider buying them online from the official website.
The show was packed the afternoon we visited - the sun beat down (even though it was May) and we lay on the grass sipping a sweaty glass of Pimms as we paused before taking in the rest of the show. The flowers are fantastic, and the colours amazing...It was a great opportunity to see what London gets so excited about every year. I had a lovely time. It would have been nicer to have gone for the whole day, however, as we only bought afternoon tickets, so had only a few hours to enjoy the experience.
A great annual highlight...
Tickets range from GBP42 - GBP12 depending on the day and time you go. Check out their website for details on how to get there and to buy the tickets online.
In Central London - don't expect to find many friendly locals in the pubs - 'cos there aren't any. They are all run by Australians and Kiwis, and frequented by tourists. The drinks are expensive and if you ask for chips they will be covered in cheese sauce even if you asked for chips without cheese sauce - Chips with cheese sauce is NOT normal. No Londoner eats this ...... I don't know who does :))
There is a particularly nice pub just along The Strand, The Coal Hole where you can get great pub grub like jacket potatoes and cheese and mushroom melts, soup, big fat burgers, and various sandwiches, for just under £6. There's a huge variety of other meals available and they also have "Edmunds Wine Bar" downstair too - but I haven't been there for a long time!
This really is a gorgeous part of London. Get off at Sloane Sq. tube station and either wander down the King's Road, or head towards the river (take the number 11 bus - it'll only take 5 minutes). Lots of gorgeous red brick houses and appartments. Very green and even if it does get crowded, it's not ghastly like other parts of London. The King's Road was in my 'tourist trap' section, but this was 2 years ago and after my visit today (31/08/04) it's now one of my must sees. Good shopping, pretty views and lots of lovely pastel houses to drool over, plus a short walk to the river.
The Chelsea Flower Show - watch this video stream to say how the Aussies are taking over !! (just paste the code into your internet browser):