A Short History of Knightsbridge
Knightsbridge is known for being one of London’s more affluent and exclusive residential and retail areas. Home to famous names and buildings over its extensive history, Knightsbridge has long been a favourite for tourists from all over the world.
Knightsbridge was a prominent area, even in the times of the Anglo Saxons. The area has been named Knightsbridge in one form or another since around 1030AD, and the ‘knight’ in the name comes from the old Norse word ‘CNIHT’ which means young man or horseman.
Knightsbridge also has a dark side; as one of the main ways into and out of the city of London, it was a favourite haunt of Highwaymen before the area gained a higher social status in the 1900s.
Fashion pilgrims from all over the globe flock to Knightsbridge for its exceptional high-end designers. If you’re visiting our Park Grand Kensington Hotel looking for a little retail therapy, a visit to Knightsbridge is a must as this neighbourhood plays host to the luxury department stores, Harrods and Harvey Nichols.
The former was founded in 1834 and now covers a 5-acre plot of land. Its 330 departments cover 1.1 million square feet and include food and seasonal Christmas departments which are famous around the world. The flagship Harvey Nichols department store, which opened on the site in 1831, is known for being a purveyor of food, wine and high-end clothing.
As well as these established department stores, Knightsbridge is home to two of Prada’s UK stores, and London-based shoe designers Jimmy Choo and Manolo Blahnik. The world-renowned auction house, Bonhams also takes up its London residence in the area.
Sitting just a short way west of Knightsbridge is Exhibition Road, where you’ll find some of London’s most spectacular museums and galleries. The road was named after the Great Exhibition of 1851 which was held at Hyde Park, and which brought thousands of visitors to the area.
If you’re staying at one of our hotels near Earls Court, a trip through Knightsbridge to Exhibition Road is a must, as it’s the home of the Victoria and Albert Museum, the Science Museum and the Natural History Museum among many other prominent institutions.
Knightsbridge is situated between Kensington and Belgravia and, as such, has played host to some famous faces over the years. Lady Margaret Thatcher spent her final years there, and other names to have graced the terraces of Knightsbridge with their presence include Virginia Woolf, Sir Michael Cane, Ian Fleming and Jose Mourinho. It’s also the place where Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart wrote his first ever symphony at the age of eight years old in 1764.
Harrods alone boasts a wealth of famous patrons over its 184 years in business including writers Oscar Wilde and A. A. Milne, actors Charlie Chaplin and Vivien Leigh and father of modern psychology, Sigmund Freud as well as many members of the Royal Family.