Knightsbridge is a road which gives its name to an exclusive district lying to the west of Central London. The road runs along the south side of Hyde Park, west from Hyde Park Corner, spanning the City of Westminster and the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea. Up to Brompton Road, it is a part of the A4 arterial road, while the remainder is part of the A315.
The eponymous district comprises the areas immediately surrounding Knightsbridge (the road) on the north, Sloane Street to its junction with Pont Street, and Brompton Road to its junction with Beauchamp Place. The district is notable as an expensive residential area, and for the density of its upmarket retail outlets, famously Harrods and Harvey Nichols.
For strategic planning the area is identified as one of two international centres in the London Plan.
Cadogan Hall presents concerts of classical and popular music in Sloane Street. The Royal Albert Hall is a large venue for music and sports events. The are a number of fine art auctioneers located in Knightsbridge including Bonhams, together with many smaller boutiques.
To the north of the district, in Hyde Park, is the Serpentine Gallery, and at Hyde Park Corner is Number One, London (Apsley House), former London residence of the Duke of Wellington. Nearby are the Royal Court Theatre in Sloane Square, and in South Kensington, the Ismaili Centre built by British architect Sir Hugh Casson, together with the Victoria and Albert Museum, Natural History Museum and Science Museum.
Prince's Club was a sports club based in two separate locations in Knightsbridge between 1853 and 1940, and was home to the sports of rackets, squash and badminton. They have subsequently moved down the road to Queen's Club in Kensington.
Knightsbridge is mostly made up of strictly controlled Conservation Areas and development land is difficult to find. Most properties offered by developers are refurbished flats and houses. Many of these now have huge basement extensions, accommodating an eclectic range of facilities from swimming pools to private nightclubs.
The principal landowners in the area are the Duke of Westminster and Earl Cadogan. The two areas of aristocratic landholdings can be distinguished visually, as the red brick Queen Anne Revival buildings are mostly to be found on the Cadogan Estates, whereas white stucco fronted houses are mostly found on the Grosvenor Estate, built by Thomas Cubitt.
The most sought-after prime addresses are the garden squares closest to Harrods, which serves as corner shop to many of the world's billionaires and celebrities. The store's famous liveried footmen can be seen delivering purchases to the area's local residents, as can the paparazzi, hunting for residents and visiting celebrities. Popular addresses are Belgrave Square, Egerton Place, Cadogan Square, Lennox Gardens and Hans Place, which is located next to Harrods.
Derek Quinlan's private equity fund, Quinlan Private purchased of prime retail commercial property from the BP Pension Fund in 2005. This estate stretches along Knightsbridge from Harrods to Harvey Nichols. It is understood that this part of Knightsbridge, which includes some of the world's most expensive retail properties, will shortly be subject to substantial re-development.
Residents from the world of entertainment include Sir David Frost, Neil Simon, Anne Robinson, Laetitia Casta, and film stars such as Hugh Grant, Sean Connery, and Joan Collins, along with many other presenters, musicians, writers, and models.
For centuries the area was renowned as the haunt of highwaymen, robbers and cut throats targeting travellers on the western route out of London. The fortunes of Knightsbridge were transformed in the 19th century. The area has often been a target for high-profile crime. In 1980, the Iranian Embassy siege took place in Knightsbridge, lasting several days. It ended when the Special Air Service stormed the building on live television. In 1983, three Christmas shoppers and three Metropolitan Police officers, evacuating the store, were killed by an IRA car-bomb placed outside Harrods. In 1987, the Knightsbridge Security Deposit centre was the target of a robbery and the thieves left with a hoard worth £60 million. In 2005, 22-year-old beautician Clare Bernal was gunned down by her stalker and ex-boyfriend Michal Pech on the shopfloor of Harvey Nichols in front of colleagues and shoppers, before Pech fatally turned the gun on himself. Many residential buildings are heavily covered by CCTV and are staffed by security guards, while railings or bars on lower floor windows are commonplace.
To the north of the area, is the Hyde Park Barracks of the Household Cavalry, with a distinctive 33 storey tower by Sir Basil Spence. The Royalty and Diplomatic Protection Department is based in Walton Street. At the centre of London, and under a major flight path into Heathrow Airport, Knightsbridge suffers from congestion, noise and pollution.
All of the above stations serve the Piccadilly line.