Nearest Tube: South Kensington
The district of Chelsea lies on the north bank of the River Thames, bordered by Belgravia and Kensington.
Originally it was a small fishing settlement, but by the 16th Century it was the residential spot of choice for the aristocracy and even King Henry VIII (1509-47). As a result, during this period Chelsea gained the nickname 'Village of Palaces'.
By the 19th century the district was famous for its artistic community, a connection that continues into today. At 143 Old Church Street there is the Chelsea Arts Club that dates back over 100 years, and there are numerous small, commercial art galleries in the area.
Chelsea also has a long association with the military. Chelsea Barracks is the biggest army barracks in central London, while the Royal Hospital is a home for British army veterans. There is also the National Army Museum in Royal Hospital Road.
In more recent years, Chelsea has gained strong associations with the world of fashion - for this is also where you will find the Kings Road, the street that became synonymous with daring fashion in the 60s. And these days Chelsea is equally well known for its flowers with the famous Chelsea Flower Show held each year at Chelsea Royal Hospital. And of course there is the popular Chelsea Football Club.
A particularly nice part of Chelsea is Cheyne Walk (pronounced "chaynee") which for part of the way follows the banks of the River Thames. There are lots of famous past residents of this street, including authors George Eliot and Henry James and artists JMW Turner and Dante Rossetti.
Another famous past resident of Chelsea is the playwright Oscar Wilde, who lived at 34 Tite Street. Wilde was later imprisoned for two years for homosexuality.
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