How to Find the Secret Mews of London

on March 1, 2017

I’m so excited to share with you the finest hidden gems ever – the secret mews of London!

When I found out this month’s travel linkup theme was “hidden gems,” I was on a Megabus back from London. Crammed between a boisterous 5 year old and my smuggled McDonald’s french fries (who decided french fries aren’t allowed on buses anymore??). Despite that, I had one of those light bulb/angel choir singing in the background moments. Because there’s nothing, I repeat nothing, more “hidden gem” than these quiet and quaint rows of houses, miraculously peaceful in one of the world’s largest cities.

I’d spent that morning wandering Notting Hill after a canceled appointment, and for the first time in all my trips to London, I found where those quaint instagrams come from. You know the ones I’m talking about… the pale pink doors, the rows of pastel houses, the wooden flower baskets and empty cobbled roads. It turns out, the secret mews of London were under my nose that whole time, I just needed to know where to look!

 

Okay, okay, okay first of all… what the heck is a “mews”??? Trust me, I felt the same for so long…like, did they name it after a kitten noise because all mews have to be cute? (Debatable). The ever trusted and super reliable fountain of information, Wikipedia, informs me that mews is a British term for a row of stables…but nowadays is more like a small alleyway behind larger city roads. Apparently there was a “picturesque movement” (lol) in the 19th century when most of these houses were refurbished…and my instagram ain’t complaining.

 

St. Luke’s Mews 

AKA where they shot Love Actually. I completely randomly stumbled across this little oasis in Notting Hill, and only after posting a photo online did I realize this is where some of Love Actually is filmed!

Other Notting Hill Mews

The quaint-ness isn’t reserved to St. Luke’s Mews!

Ennismore Garden Mews

This one is in Knightsbridge near some lovely gardens.

 

How to find the secret mews

Honestly? I loved just exploring. Wandering until I stumbled across a secret mew, hiding behind some draping ivy. You’ll need to go to a more residential neighborhood, probably on the west side of London (there are lots of polished-up secret mews in the posher neighborhoods of Notting Hill or Kensington, once you get off the main touristy roads). Look for small side streets, they may at first appear just like alleys. They often run parallel to the main roads.

If, however, you travel with a mission, I’ve found some great resources to guide your secret mew-hunting:

  • This vintagey looking book from Amazon, titled ‘The Mews of London: A Guide to the Hidden Byways of London’s Past’
  • This directory of all the mews in London (334!) from a real estate website…complete with photos.
  • This post by A Lady in London which names some of her favorite mews in west London.
  • This post by Mandy from Emm in London about the prettiest mews in Knightsbridge and Belgravia neighborhoods [her blog is now closed for new posts 🙁 ].
  • This post by Laura of Sometime Traveller listing a few cute mews around London.
  • This instagram dedicated to all the mews of London.

 

I loved exploring the secret mews of London…hidden gems in the truest sense of the word! I couldn’t help imagining myself living in one of them… locking my bike outside my turquoise painted door, eating breakfast outdoors in the summer in the peaceful cobbled yard, chattering with neighbors or having barbecues in the summer. And of course enjoying my billion dollar paycheck at the end of each month 😉

Sarah xx

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Thanks to Polly from Follow Your Sunshine, Emma from Adventures of a London Kiwi, Angie from SilverSpoon London, and Tiff at a girl and her passport for hosting this month’s travel linkup. You can join by writing your own post on the theme “hidden gems” and linking it up through any of their blogs.

  • so pretty! I came across a few in Paddington area too:)

  • Love Love LOVE this! I’ve wanted to see this area of London since I first discovered it a bit ago, but you’ve just pushed up to top of my to do list again when I’m in London! #WanderfulWednesday

  • Oh my god, can I please live in one of these houses pleeeeaaaase???!!!

  • So many gorgeous photos! I definitely need to find more of these in London, feel like I miss all the good insta opportunities!

    Jasmin Charlotte

    • I know! I can’t even tell you how many times I’ve been to London and this is the first time I really found the mews!

  • Ah tooo toooo pretty. You found so much charm! I love reading posts about places in London that I haven’t yet explored, next time I’m home I will try my best to 😉 Just so many photographic opportunities!

    • See – they’re so sneaky! You could live in London your whole life and not find some of these, they’re hidden in plain sight !

  • How did I live in London and never discover any of these? Wow – they’re all total IG porn!

  • You hit me right on the head because places like this are totally me thing. As a matter of fact, I didn’t know about the word “mew” until I hit one in New York last December (pretty similar to the ones in here). Another reason to visit London! #WanderlustWednesday

    • Whaaaaaat there are mews in NYC?? Ahh I grew up visiting NYC and never even imagined there would be mews there too, they are so sneaky!

  • Such pretty pics! I remember looking up the meaning of “mews” when I first moved to London, it confused me too 😉

    Also, French fries should be allowed everywhere. It’s the only way you’re gonna survive a megabus 😂

  • Wandermust Family

    Stunning pics

  • moiradennis

    I love exploring the mews in London – well done! #wanderfulwednesday

  • What a gorgeous post!!! Your photos are really lovely and yes, it’s a lovely area. I’m sorry I made you use a sad face!! I’d like to say I’ll be back at the end of the year but for now am enjoying having a bit more time on my hands.

    • Thank you Mandy!! I will miss your posts but you do you, there’s really no point in blogging if you’re not enjoying it or too busy, in my opinion at least!

  • This is SO charming. <3 Seriously, I really want to visit London and I love your photos. We have these things called hofjes here in the Netherlands, but they're a bit different (although beautiful too). I have meant to find a few more of them…so maybe I will. 🙂 Thanks for the inspiration!

    • Oooh, nordic Mews :O You will have to make a Netherlands version of this post once you discover them all aha

  • Kelly Ann Duhigg

    Thank you so much!!! These photos are absolutely delightful. I love how you can find such wuaint and peaceful places in such a large city like London. And the best part is that I had never even heard of the mews before. Thanks!

  • Rachel K.

    Oh goodness I just want to go to London now! This was a super helpful post – definitely saving it for my next trip 🙂

    • Thanks Rachel! I hope it comes in handy next time you’re in London 🙂 definitely let me know if you find any good mews 🙂

  • Beautiful photos! I stumbled on the odd mews when wandering around London. Am heading back for a visit in June and might just spend a day out appreciating them (with a few coffees en route).

    • YES coffee is of course necessary. I got a rose latte at Farm Girl which isn’t too far from St Lukes Mews (the best one of em all!). It’s pretty hyped up but the coffee was great!!

  • Lynn Jung

    I am OBSESSED with London and I’m now itching to find these secret mews! I loved Notting Hill when I visited in October, it’s just such an incredibly beautiful neighbourhood. Thank you for opening my eyes to the existence of these hidden gems!

    • YES please do!!! Yes it is such a great neighborhood, but it often feels too touristy for me which is why I don’t go there very often – I literally saw a guy who had to come out on his porch and yell at people taking selfies all over his property!! So the mews are a great balance of that Notting Hill vibe but a little more peaceful aha

  • Jamie

    These photos…oh my! This would be my first priority when visiting London. Thank you for sharing!

  • Kyntra Strickland

    These pictures are absolutely gorgeous! Thank you for sharing these hidden gems. I think it is so cool that you happened to stumble upon where Love Actually is filmed. What an amazing adventure.

    • I know right?!?! I really had no idea until a few days later when I posted it on instagram. Then I was like, oohhhh yeahhh I see it now haha

  • Robyn Spice

    What hidden gems. Your pictures are absolutely gorgeous as well! This makes me want to visit London again!

  • Love all these! So pretty! I definitely need to do some more exploring of these areas.

  • Kelly | A Pair of Passports

    Such a cute idea for a guide! Kynance Mews in South Kensington will always be my favorite 🙂

  • I love London for this – there is a little mews (a bit more open) just off Great Ormond Street that I love – it has awesome coffee and restaurants tucked away

    • Oohh that sounds great… I would love to live in a mews but I guess I can settle for coffee and a meal aha

  • Hannah Logan

    I am absolutely stashing this for my next visit. SO DAMN PRETTY! haha. I would LOVE to explore this area so thank you so much for sharing! You photos are gorgeous!

    • Ahh so glad I could be of help!! I mainly made it for my own reference so I’d remember the names for next time but I’m so happy other people are finding this helpful, too!!

  • Megan

    I loooove the pictures! They’re so cute and make me want to go and explore the little alleys and stuff.

  • You should totally do a walking tour showing people around the secret mews! I sooooo wish I’d done this when I lived in London! So cute and quaint!

    • Hahah that is a great business idea Ngaire!! I’m not sure I’m knowledgeable enough yet but it sounds like something I’d definitely go on!!

  • What a lovely post! Hope to explore these when I visit London someday 🙂

  • LC

    Ah, there was one not far from my flat in London, that I’d wander through whenever I got the chance. Lovely photos.

  • Two Blue Passports

    Sarah! Love this one. Wish I had it before I was in London in September. We have a lot on Dublin too…perhaps I should scope out the best ones we have. xx Morgan

  • So lovely, I’ve lived in London my whole life but hardly explored these! Definitely worth a day wandering!

    • They are hard to find – but right under your nose! I couldn’t believe I hadn’t found them before!

  • Probably my favorite post in this month’s link-up – I ADORE the mews in London! I’m always too shy to take pics (and then regret not taking any) because I’m paranoid that someone’s going to walk out at any second and catch me snapping away at their front door … I but I suppose they’re used to it!

    • The highest praise!!! Hahaha, thank you Jaime!! Yes…. there were some SUPER awkward (/hilarious because it didn’t happen to me haha) moments in Notting Hill, where people were doing full-out model shoots on someone’s steps, and this poor guy came out of the house nextdoor and yelled for them to get off private property aha. It was legitimately like watching someone shoo the pigeons from their porch!! I didn’t feel that paranoid in the mews, though, as they were completely empty (and I didn’t actually go onto private property like a criminal hahaha).

  • Thank you for sharing this London hidden gem! (Also love your intro). Have you been to Primrose Hill yet? it really reminds me of Notting Hill

    • Haha thanks Eppie! No, I haven’t, I will definitely have to check that out next time I’m in London, whenever that is!

  • Best, and possibly the prettiest post I’ve ever seen!

  • Aww these mews look amazing… i live in london and reading this post inspires me to explore more! 🙂
    xx finja | http://www.effcaa.com

  • I want to move in one of those mews, the pink on is my favorite!

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