If you’re looking for a typical South Kensington atmosphere, this is your place. The Anglesea Arms is located at 15 Selwood Terrace, South Kensington, London SW7 3QG. It is part of the ultra-posh Onslow Gardens area off of Brompton Road, a favorite of London’s socialites and expense account babies. The building itself, once home to Charles Dickens, dates back 1712 and sports a thoroughly traditional feel. Everything about the space is charming, from its whitewashed exterior and spacious terrace to its warmly decorated interior with red wallpaper, mahogany wooden tables, and old paintings.
The bar area is intimate and generally packed, but rubbing elbows with this hot spot’s clientele is half the fun of the Anglesea experience. The patrons of this pub certainly bring to mind the “Made in Chelsea” cast. They are your typical Kensington Chelsea borough twenty-somethings: effortlessly beautiful, impeccably dressed, and extremely well off. You’ll see plenty of groups sipping on bottles of high-dollar champagne for no particular reason other than it’s what they “fancy.” But don’t be intimidated, order yourself a nice beer or glass of wine (you’re looking at around 6- 8 pounds), and go chat. The locals are actually quite friendly and approachable. Talk to this well educated group about anything from literature to fashion to politics. They’ll be sure to give you their unapologetically upper-class British opinion. It makes for very interesting conversation.
If you feel like splurging a bit (or if the parents are in for a visit), check out the Anglesea’s basement restaurant. Meals are about 20 to 40 pounds, but the food is wonderful. The menus are classy yet unpretentious. They change daily and are based around seasonality. The genre is best described as nouveau- European with dishes such as wild mushroom, parmesan & truffle oil pâté, wild boar & apple sausages with sauerkraut, or swordfish steak with watercress, palm heart & caper salad. The portions are generous and the flavors are imaginative, be prepared to leave satisfied.
For the average study abroad student, The Anglesea Arms is not an every night kind of place. However, spending an evening here is a great way to get a taste of the London that is slightly out of reach. You can enjoy the finer things in a relaxed and accessible environment, without completely breaking the bank. So through on a stylist, yet understated outfit and go check out this South Ken gem.
By: Joanie Jockel