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It’s said that money can’t buy happiness — but if you happen to find yourself in Belgravia, one of London’s most affluent areas, it can certainly buy you plenty to be happy about. Your credit card can get quite a workout in this district, which is home to more than 300 boutiques and businesses brimming with everything from Chanel handbags and haute Philip Treacy hats to gourmet cupcakes and hot tea at Peggy Porschen. Our editors have pinpointed the perfect places to shed some pounds (British pounds, that is) during your next trip to the English capital’s chic enclave.
We can’t think of a better way to spend your time in Belgravia than by making a few fun purchases from exclusive designers like Allegra Hicks or Philip Treacy (brides-to-be will definitely want to make an appointment at Jenny Packham’s flagship bridal boutique). You can also comb the racks for swimwear and lingerie at Eres, pick the perfect pair of heels at Jimmy Choo and relinquish your handbag for an Anya Hindmarch or Lulu Guinness creation. And you’ll also find other powerhouse designers less than a mile from the heart of Belgravia, including Giorgio Armani, Hermes, Chanel, Gucci and Versace.
It’s a must to stop by Philip Treacy’s shop on Elizabeth Street. The milliner to the stars has designed hats for everyone from Karl Lagerfeld at Chanel to Lady Gaga. And don’t forget 36 of his designs were donned at Prince William and Kate Middleton’s 2011 wedding (remember the eye-catching fascinator Princess Beatrice wore?). So if you want to be treated like royalty, visit the boutique for haute headpieces, ready-to-wear hat collections and dainty hair accessories.
For the last 150 years, H.R. Stokes has been the go-to stationery shop for Londoners, including Queen Victoria’s family. Here you’ll find hand-engraved invitations, business cards, letterheads and wedding invites created by old-fashioned letterpress printing. Here’s how it works: Order personalized goods, approve an emailed proof and then the product will be shipped to you (or, pick up your made-to-order paper in-store). The Elizabeth Street shop also sells books, scented candles and soaps.
After all of this shopping, you’re definitely going to work up an appetite. We recommend a visit to the Peggy Porschen Parlour on Ebury Street. Indulge in the strawberry-and-champagne cupcake — vanilla sponge cake saturated with champagne syrup and filled with strawberry-and-champagne preserve, then topped with Marc de Champagne and cream cheese frosting, and of course, a strawberry. The award-winning cake designer also serves blended teas at the Belgravia bakery.
Pastry chef extraordinaire William Curley’s eponymous boutique is where everyone in London goes for choice chocolates. It’s probably because the chef has been named Britain’s Best Chocolatier by the Academy of Chocolate for the past four years. Make weekend plans to enjoy the Dessert Bar, which includes a five-course menu created by one of Curley’s chefs. And if you’re traveling alone and don’t want to overdo it, no worries. The Classic: Solo will be perfect for you—it’s a combination of flavored ice creams and fruit topped with a tasty chocolate sauce.
Photos Courtesy of Jose Lasheras and Jenny Packham