Knightsbridge Area Guide

Once upon a time, they say, two proud knights approached a bridge over the River Westbourne, near the great city of London. Both demanded precedence. Neither would yield, so they fought until both were dead. To this day, the place is called Knightsbridge.

It's all a myth, of course. The most likely explanation is that the bridge marked the boundary of the jurisdiction of the Guild of Knights, a powerful body in 11th century London.

Then, Knightsbridge was a small village in the country. Today, it is famed as one of the most exclusive places to live in the world.

The location between the natural beauty of Hyde Park, the richly diverse shops and restaurants of Brompton Road and the cultural hub of South Kensington's museum quarter makes Knightsbridge a highly desirable place for a London base.

For centuries, Hyde Park was a hunting ground. Henry VII and his daughter Elizabeth I both hunted deer there, and Elizabeth started a tradition of holding military reviews in the park that continues today in the form of gun salutes on royal occasions.

Charles II had the park enclosed with a brick wall and it became hugely fashionable, "Everyone who had either sparkling eyes or a splendid equipage constantly repaired thither," a contemporary wrote. And this was despite the risk of being robbed by the many highwaymen, one of whom was hanged in 1687 for killing a woman who had swallowed her wedding ring to prevent him taking it.The park was also a popular duelling ground. In 1712 Lord Mohun, a notorious rake, fought the Duke of Hamilton. Such was their hatred for each other "they seemed to run on one another, as if they'd tried who should kill first," according to an eye witness. In which they were completely successful, Lord Mohun being killed outright and the Duke dying of his wounds a few minutes later.

Nowadays Hyde Park is devoted to peaceful enjoyment. Horses exercise on Rotten Row, cyclists ride on the network of cycle paths and couples hire boats on the Serpentine. Many just relax in the sun.

Knightsbridge is one of the world's greatest shopping areas, with Harvey Nichols, Harrods and the flagship stores of internationally-famous brands such as Armani, Jimmy Choo, Manolo Blahvic, Prada and more.

Knightsbridge offers a property type for everyone, from elegant Georgian houses to terracotta-faced Victorian apartment blocks rather cattily called 'Pont Street Dutch' by the cartoonist and author Sir Osbert Lancaster.

Recently, major new developments in the area have set new standards of style, luxury and price.

The Knightbridge set the trend with a block of 191 apartments plus penthouses and mews house, all with secure car parking and 5 star services. This was followed by a development of the old Harrods warehouse into a block of stupendously large apartments.

But the apogee is the Candy brothers' One Hyde Park, designed by architects Rogers Stirk Harbour + Partners and occupying a stunning site between Knightsbridge and Hyde Park. The block is cleverly designed to provide panoramic views of the park from almost every apartment, and the block is linked to the five-star Mandarin Oriental hotel next door to provide impeccable room service.

A penthouse at One Hyde Park sold for just under £140 million, a price that puts Knightsbridge at the top of the world's property table.

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