Kensington, Central London
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Sail on sailor From time to time, we all like to slip our moorings and glide away to safe anchorage in calmer waters. Elvaston Place may sit on the pretty terra firma of Kensington, but, at heart, it sails the seven seas. Each room of this graceful home flaunts a sailing theme, while its elegant comfort and calming décor will ensure you feel lapped by the waves and borne aloft by the very gentlest of oceans. Head above deck onto the sweet balcony, row on the Serpentine, or breeze around Kensington Gardens – the choice is yours, captain. Sea legs Your hosts are retired and live in the country, Elvaston Place being their pied-á-terre when the tide takes them to London. With all the sailing memorabilia adorning their home, it should come as no surprise that their chief passion is for travel… Water, water everywhere Like a harbour dotted with boats at anchor, the sitting room swims with nautical flourishes, from a boat in full sail on the wall, to a ship’s bell and even a stuffed duck. Two sash windows flood every last corner with light, revealing a room of elegance and gracious antique furniture, and you’ll certainly want to splash down on one of the cushy sofas. Four can sit and eat at the round dining table, while the kitchen will cater to any hungry sailor. You’ll spot more boats on the shower room walls, as well as our shipshape White Company toiletries. Pretty paintings and more antique furnishings make the double bedroom distinctly inviting, while the master is about as relaxing as they come, coolly clad in cream and boasting a handy ensuite bathroom. Before turning in, though, take your nightcap onto the balcony and drink to the North Star. For sail Both landlubber and seafarer should set a course for Hyde Park, whether for a row on the Serpentine or a saunter about the lovely grounds. Hunt for treasure in the designer boutiques of High Street Kensington, Sloane Square or the King’s Road, or ensconce yourself in a cosy coffee shop and enjoy the well-dressed sea of people flowing by. And if you wish to navigate to the west end, ten minutes on the tube will have you bobbing up in Piccadilly Circus.