On Tuesday this week I had the pleasure of spending a day out in an area I’ve never explored before: Belgravia in London.
To say that this is an exclusive area of London would be an understatement(!), but if you’re thinking of visiting London and want to spend a day or two there doing things more suited for adults (as opposed to a family-friendly day out) then I can thoroughly recommend this gorgeous part of the capital. Just because it’s exclusive and non-touristy doesn’t mean you should rule it out as an area to visit… in fact I’d rate it as a top area purely because you’re away from the crowds of Oxford Street and the throngs of tourists at Piccadilly Circus. It’s bustling without being crowded; it’s exclusive without feeling unfriendly.
Although I wasn’t planning on writing this post, I had such a lovely day there that I thought I’d share with you some pictures and places to go. Want an alternative, non-stressful day out in London? Look no further!
First of all, to disclose: I was gifted the day out and all the perks by Belgravia London, part of Grosvenor’s London estate. It was a “Belgravia Beauty Day” with the intention of promoting Belgravia as a London destination – I enjoyed a top salon blow dry, afternoon tea, a perfume consultation and a manicure at different spots around the area [I wasn’t under any obligation to write about it]. But the day was SO wonderful and the experience was SO fabulous that I thought I should share some details about the places I went in case you have a few hours – or a day or two – to spend in London.
It’s especially perfect if you want to spend a classy, grown-up day out with the special person in your life.
As I mentioned earlier it wasn’t an unfriendly area AT ALL, so please don’t let its exclusivity put you off! I might recommend not turning up dressed like a typical tourist, however. In the spirit of my belief in occasion-appropriate dressing, leave the sneakers, jeans and backpacks at home and just go with something one level up from comfy casual. (You’ll see what I wore below: a floral midi dress, corduroy blazer and knee-high boots.) That’s not to say you shouldn’t dress to please yourself or be uncomfortable, but a classy day out deserves a little class in the style department… you’d feel all the better for it just for the one day, and you’ll feel more inclined to pose in front of all the beautiful shop fronts for photos…!
Read on for more details about my Belgravia Beauty Day out…
Belgravia – the area
I couldn’t describe the area better myself than how it’s described on the Grosvenor London estate website: “A place of graceful Regency-style streets, smooth sweeping crescents and secret garden squares.” It has more of a village feel, with quiet streets and gorgeous shop fronts everywhere – it isn’t pedestrianised, but it FEELS as if it is.
Imagine Oxford Street; now think of the exact OPPOSITE of that. That’s Belgravia.
First stop: Errol Douglas (hair)
The first place we went to was the Errol Douglas salon on Motcomb Street. We were treated to a blow dry which, of course, was absolute heaven. I often rock up to events after a long train journey, a walk in the wind and rain or a sweaty tube ride (or all three), so my hair usually isn’t looking its best when I finally arrive at wherever I’m going. Treating yourself to a blow dry is a luxury, and one that we so richly deserve if we’re going to pamper ourselves for the day!
My stylist did a fantastic job of curling my hair as you can see above and below. We met Errol Douglas (MBE no less) himself – in fact he came and made a point of saying hello to us – and he was as charming as you’d hope he’d be. The salon looks after every hair type, has won a ton of awards and boasts a stunning interior. You’ll come out feeling VERY special indeed.
The Berkeley (afternoon tea)
Now this wasn’t just any old afternoon tea, this is probably one of the top afternoon teas in London. The Berkeley’s afternoon tea is inspired by the world of fashion (how apt!) and is known as their Prêt-à-Portea. It changes every six months so they’d just switched to AW18 when we went: we had cakes and biscuits fashioned like Victoria Beckham and Prada bags, Midnight 00 shoes, Fendi boots, etc. It was absolutely EXQUISITE, and everything tasted as good as it looked. It includes all the tea and all the flavours you could hope for – I had White Peony tea – and beautiful tea sandwiches, taster bowls and canapés.
I’ll just let the pictures speak for themselves…
Above: The Collins Room, The Berkeley
The savoury section: tea sandwiches, taster bowls and canapés
The china is Wedgwood and exclusive to The Berkeley (they do sell it but with a starting price of £54 for a tea saucer it was just out of my price range sadly…)
They have very cleverly put in a glass roof so those flat lay photos you want to take will always have perfect lighting. Afternoon tea is £58 per person but, considering just how full we were afterwards, it really is a meal in itself so in terms of value for money I think it’s well worth it.
Les Senteurs (perfume consultation)
This was the biggest surprise of the day for me in terms of expectation versus experience… I will admit I wasn’t overexcited about having a perfume consultation. I mean, I do like and wear perfume, but the thought of having someone help me choose something, or of me smelling lots of different perfumes didn’t exactly set my world on fire.
HOW WRONG I WAS.
Les Sentueurs on Elizabeth Street was, quite simply, an incredible place. Its beautiful shop front with the display of flowers and eucalyptus creeping around the exterior was to die for – all that orange! They describe themselves as being “dedicated to the art of perfumery”, and I honestly had no idea what I’ve been missing out on all my life with regards to scent. I thought perfume was what you found in the beauty section of a department store… this couldn’t have been more different. I’ll admit there wasn’t a brand name I’d heard of in there, so no Calvin Klein, Chanel or celebrity perfumes. No Marc Jacobs Daisy, Lancome or Estee Lauder.
And that was the best bit about it.
The enthusiasm and the friendliness of the staff was infectious – what they don’t know about perfume isn’t worth knowing. I honestly didn’t know how to describe the type of perfume I like (floral? citrus? spicy? – I’ve no idea) but they knew just what to ask in order to suggest perfumes I might like. And oh boy, did I like the perfumes they suggested. They were honestly like NOTHING else I have ever smelt before.
My favourites were Baccarat Rouge 540 by Maison Francis Kurkdjian (mmmmm it smelt like candy floss) and Lipstick Rose by Frederic Malle… the only drawbacks were their eye-watering prices.
But this isn’t somewhere you pop into to pick up the latest scent by Jennifer Lopez – this is what you call a perfume destination. It’s the place to go to find THE perfume for you, your signature scent. The perfume to end all perfumes.
If you like wearing scent – even just a bit – you will absolutely love this place. There’s no pressure to buy, in fact they prefer you to go away and think about what you liked and come back another time to purchase. We were given a lovely goody bag full of samples – and as I’m typing I’m wearing Petit Matin, also by Maison Francis Kurkdjian. I put it on this morning and I am loving every single waft I get every time I move… it’s heaven. These scents may be pricey, but I’m seriously considering popping back again and buying something – IF I can make up my mind and choose just one.
If you get a chance, do pop along to Les Senteurs. I am TOTALLY in love with the place.
Last stop: SMUK (manicure)
Last but not least was beauty salon SMUK (the Danish word for beautiful) in the stunning Eccleston Yards. This is a new “hub” area on the edge of Belgravia near Victoria with an amazing Frida Kahlo mural (perfect backdrop for outfit photos) and an open courtyard for dining, shopping and wellbeing destinations.
SMUK is a very relaxing space and again, the staff were incredibly friendly and welcoming. You can have everything from a cut and blow dry to makeup, a massage or a manicure, all in a stylish hygge-heavy environment which sells and uses organic and sustainable products.
We were treated to a manicure – I asked for a deep russet-red colour for my nails and I have to admit I’ve not had many manicures before – I’ve always come away thinking “my own manicures are better than that…” so I pretty much always do my own. But this time it was BEAUTIFULLY done, and that’s despite my nails being a bit of a challenge because they’re so short at the moment.
A gorgeous place, with gorgeous people, with the sole intention to make you look gorgeous. Book something as a treat for yourself, you’ll love the experience.
Belgravia: it’s pricey, but is it worth it?
Yes, the area is expensive – but then ALL of London is expensive. You’re going to get the best of the best here, no matter whether you’re dining, shopping or being pampered, so you do get what you pay for. You’re paying for the experience as well as the goods, so for a special day out I think it’s a great way to treat someone (start dropping hints to your other half for Christmas NOW). I can only imagine how lovely the Christmas experience will be there.
The really crazy thing is that I worked in Chelsea for several years, and Belgravia is literally next door… if I’d just wandered onto the next streets from all the ones I frequented regularly I would have discovered this fabulous area. But no, in seven years of working there I never ventured that far which is just ridiculous. So even if you work/live in London yourself then don’t miss out on the areas you’ve never visited and get exploring.
Belgravia is a great place to start…!
DO YOU HAVE A FAVOURITE PART OF LONDON THAT YOU WANT TO SHARE? TELL ME IN THE COMMENTS!
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Disclosure: I was gifted this day out by Belgravia London but was not compensated for or obliged to write this post (click here for my full disclosure). All content is original and opinions are my own and 100% honest. Many thanks to Belgravia London and all the businesses mentioned for a wonderful day out!
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