The hotel is across the road from Cadogan Gardens, a leafy park square in the heart of Chelsea.
Touch down at London Heathrow for the quickest routes into the city. The Heathrow Express will whisk you to Paddington in 15 minutes; a car or taxi will take about 45 minutes if the traffic plays nicely. The hotel can arrange private transfers for £95 each way (but prices can be cheaper when booked well in advance).
All of London’s major stations are within easy reach. The most convenient is Victoria, where you’ll be able to hop straight onto the District or Circle line, riding one stop to Sloane Square, a short stroll from the hotel.
You won’t need a car if you’re staying at 11 Cadogan Gardens. With Sloane Square so nearby, the Tube is the fastest way to get around, and taxis are plentiful after dark. If you do decide to bring a car, the hotel has valet parking.
Worth getting out of bed for
A longtime home-from-home for aristocrats and bon vivants, 11 Cadogan Gardens is no stranger to lives of leisure. In truly British style, the afternoon tea is one of the day’s highlights, with specialty teas and champagne doing the rounds in the cosy refinement of the drawing room (or Han’s bar, if bottle-green leather and milky marble are more your cup of tea). In the summer, the hotel’s walled terrace becomes the perfect Pimm’s garden, particularly during Wimbledon, which is shown on a big screen. After dark, the Chelsea Bar becomes the hotel’s social heart, where cocktails are served till late in a dusky room with cognac-leather armchairs and dark-wood parquet.
Opposite the hotel are the famous Cadogan Gardens, which you can access during your stay – the lawn makes a fine spot to laze with a book on a summer’s day. But unlike most hotels, what’s out back is equally enticing. After a consultation with local residents, the mews that line Pavilion Road were refurbished and occupied by a host of handpicked businesses, including a butcher, artisanal bakery, barbershop, cheese monger and wine merchant, each housed in a redbrick mews house with a steep gabled roof. The local area is rich in independent boutiques selling everything from exotic flowers to handmade hats, but for a food-focused experience, try the Farmers’ Market just off the King’s Road, where you can sample half a dozen Maldon oysters before browsing the surrounding shops. Occupying the Grade II-listed Duke Of York’s Headquarters, the Saatchi Gallery is famous for its star-studded and oft provocative exhibitions of contemporary art. If you’re looking to escape the crowds for an hour, take refuge in the Chelsea Physic Garden, which was established in 1673 as a place to grow medicinal plants.
Take a stroll along the King’s Road on a Saturday or Sunday morning, and you could easily believe that Chelsea was where brunch was invented. With its sunny terrace and forest of potted plants, the Ivy Chelsea Garden is a mainstay on the scene, and has one of the biggest brunch menus in the borough. For something a little different, try Peruvian ceviche specialist Chicama, where last night’s excess will be absolved by cured salmon with avocado and eggs, or sweetcorn pancakes topped with crab and ají amarillo hollandaise. For a casual lunch, book a table at La Mia Mamma, where traditional dishes are cooked by authentically Italian ‘mammas’. The menu changes every three months, focusing on the cuisine of a particular region each time. Expect pasta that’s been handmade that morning, succulent grill items and the familial service that Italy is famous for. British cuisine gets a creative makeover at Elystan Street, helmed by Michelin-starred chef Philip Howard, who forged his career under culinary heavyweights like Marco Pierre White and Simon Hopkinson. The dishes are lighter and fresher than many British fine-dining options, and the wine list is full of winning bottles from established and up-and-coming wineries.