There is so much to do in London. For some, its the smell of the grease paint and the lure of the stage lights. Others prefer to hit Oxford Street and return home ladened with shopping bags. Many are armed with cameras as they tour the famous landmarks that define the capital. Me? I love nothing more than to appreciate the abodes of the UK’s largest metropolis. Be it the Victorian terraces that back on to the train tracks or the Georgian mansions that line the streets of Kensington, I adore them all. Last weekend I was in London to photograph behind the scenes action at the BBC Proms at the Royal Albert Hall and in my break I went in search of a little London mews love.
London Mews are my lottery dream buy. As a lover of all things bijou, it’s clear to see why. Tucked behind the grand Georgian Mansions, there is something so very magical about the little cobbled streets lined with terraced mews houses. I love how you can be in the centre of London, surrounded by noise and buzz, yet a few steps underneath an archway will take you to the wonderful peace of the leafy lanes of the mews.
The History of London Mews
Blindingly apparent to some, but not to me. London mews were originally the stables and coach houses that serviced the Georgian mansions that surround them during the 18th and 19th century. Each stable offered servants accommodation above with many even sporting a little tunnel that connected the mews gardens with the basements of the elite. Perfect for transporting the unsightly hired help to ones abode.
Yet, these humble origins have moved upwardly mobile with many fetching prices of over five million pounds to buy. Rumour has it that my beloved Nigella Lawson has nested in a pink mews house of her very own.
Gloucester Mews, Paddington
The first mews I stumbled across as I left the station was Gloucester Mews. The flash of yellow and pink houses, framed beautifully by it’s Georgian arch instantly caught my eye. I loved how contemporary and cool this mews street felt. It was only when I got home and began researching the locations I visited did I discover that Gloucester Mews was one of the sets used to film scenes for Trainspotting. How cool is that?
Kynance Mews, South Kensington
Kynance Mews felt so very rural and charming. The houses were more muted in colour than Gloucester Mews and each resident clearly loved gardening. The house-fronts were adorned with tubs of flowers, greenery and food. It felt like walking down a little country lane right in the middle of Kensington. Heaven!
Other London Beauties
Ok, ok. I need to come clean, I got so wrapped up in the house love that I forgot to take pictures of the street signs so I knew what I was photographing. I couldn’t help it, the houses were just so pretty. As a picture paints a thousand words, I thought I’d share a few of my favourites from in and around Kensington. I should probably point out that not every beauty was a London Mews house.
Maybe house tours of London could be a thing? I’d sure love to go back for a little more house spotting. Are there any gorgeous London Mews I should add to my house sight-seeing list? Let me know in the comments below.