While the stylish streets and designer stores of SW1 are filling up with crowds of Christmas shoppers, its charming garden squares and hidden enclaves are flowing with festive cheer as residents come together for carol services and neighbourhood parties that are taking place in some of Britain's most expensive and lavish homes.
Known as one of the world's most prestigious addresses, Knightsbridge boasts an exclusive collection of elegant serviced apartments, pretty mews cottages in cobbled streets and Victorian mansion blocks with striking façades.
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Most of the community spirit focuses around the garden squares - such as in the area behind Montpelier Square, that is known locally as "Knightsbridge village", and on the north side of Brompton Road - and is particularly evident at this time of year.
This area is considered an international destination with a relatively transient population. However, according to local estate agent Tom Dogger of Winkworth, there is a great sense of community among residents. He says: "Although most people do not spend the majority of their time at their flats or houses in the area, many have adopted this lifestyle for years and enter into the spirit of the community when in London."
Knightsbridge is bordered by Hyde Park to the north and Walton Street to the south. It is in the very heart of fashionable central London, with the world-famous Harrod's and Harvey Nichols' department stores on the Brompton Road and many designer brands opening flagship shops within the coveted SW1 postcode.
What properties are typical to the area?
Large, lateral purpose-built flats on the original main roads, such as Brompton Road, Knightsbridge and Sloane Street. There are also town houses in quieter locations behind the busier streets and charming mews homes that originally serviced the larger houses.
Who is buying here?
Predominantly international buyers. In the Seventies when oil prices peaked, this was an Arab-based location and although there is still a very strong undercurrent of Arab money in the area, buyers now tend to be Euro-based, including Italians and Greeks, who tend to buy property below £5 million.
Above this and at the top end of the market there is huge activity from Indian, Russian and Chinese buyers and investors. At this level there is a huge element of buy representation and we get approached by search agents representing big companies, or private banks - these types of transactions are not public, they are usually off-market.
British buyers have all but disappeared from this area but many owners and residents are from families who have owned property here for generations.
What are the 'hottest' properties in the area?
The whole area is hot as there is so much demand - for anything prime we are receiving five offers. Particularly attractive areas are Montpelier Square, Egerton Crescent - which is in a great location with a striking façade - and The Knightsbridge is a very well-positioned development overlooking the park.
Where are the 'hidden gems'?
Beaufort Gardens is very near to Knightsbridge but as there are lots of hotels in the area, property prices are lower than those in surrounding streets.
What are the best investment opportunities in the area?
The whole area is deemed prime for investment. There is a general shortage of stock across all types of property. The majority of tenants here are professionals and international.
How is local parking?
There is residents' parking for permit holders throughout the local area.
What are service charges in the area like?
Service charges are generally high in Knightsbridge. A one-bedroom apartment would typically be upwards of about £4,000 a year. Charges at the top end of the market can be in excess of £100,000 annually.
What are your favourite viewings to show potential buyers?
The more prestigious and expensive the better!
If money were no object, where would you buy in this area?
I would buy a house in Egerton Crescent.
Tom Dogger is a Director at Winkworth's Knightsbridge, Chelsea and Belgravia office.