A lot of people associate London with Big Ben, Buckingham Palace and Tower Bridge, but there is another side to the English capital which is filled with cobbled alleys, secret passageways and charming little streets steeped in character. And you don’t have to stray far from the beaten path to find them. Tucked away behind West London’s main roads are some of the city’s prettiest streets: the London mews.
Built in the 18th and 19th century, these little streets were used as service lanes to large mansions and townhouses. The word ‘mews’ refers to a row or courtyard of carriage houses. The ground floor was used as horse stables whilst the upper floor housed the coachmen and servants. Today, most of the London mews have been converted into two or three-storey residential buildings and are highly sought after. Despite their central locations, the streets are very peaceful and it’s easy to forget that you’re in the heart of the city.
There are so many lovely mews streets in London; each one is unique and full of character. In this guide you’ll find 10 of the prettiest mews streets in West London. Whether you are in London for a long weekend or live here, these streets are definitely worth visiting.
1. Frederic Mews
The first time I walked past Frederic Mews I almost missed it. This little mews street is set off Kinnerton Street and the entrance is not obvious to a passer-by making it one of the lesser known (and quieter!) London mews. There are lots of narrow passageways between the buildings on Kinnerton Street, one of which leads to Frederic Mews. Wander under the low archway and you’ll discover a picturesque little cul-de-sac lined with plain brickwork houses and pretty pastel doors and windows. One of the residents told me that during World War II, a bomb fell directly on William Mews which is just behind Frederic Mews and both mews were badly damaged and had to be rebuilt. As a result the properties don’t resemble the typical London mews streets where you can still see previous equestrian usage.
Nearest tube station: Knightsbridge
2. Halkin Mews
Halkin Mews is a pretty part-cobbled cul-de-sac off Motcomb Street, a small but iconic street lined with luxury shops and cute cafes. I first stumbled across this mews whilst looking for floral displays in Belgravia. Home to only a handful of houses, it’s quite different from other London mews streets where houses line both sides of the street. The courtyard is filled with flower pots and greenery which complements the lovely pastel green doors and windows and creates a calm oasis. Like many other mews streets, Halkin Mews was badly damaged during World War II and the properties had to be rebuilt. Today, the mews is part of Westminster City Council’s Belgravia Conservation Area.
Nearest tube station: Knightsbridge
3. Belgrave Mews North
If you turn right out of Halkin Mews and walk to the end of Motcomb Street you’ll come to the pretty Wilton Crescent. Directly ahead is the archway to Belgrave Mews North. As you walk down the mews, you’ll notice that the facades of the properties are a mix of different styles. Like many London mews, Belgrave Mews North has been featured in a couple of films, namely the 1960 film ‘The League of Gentlemen’.
Nearest tube station: Knightsbridge or Hyde Park Corner
Kensington and Chelsea
4. Ensor Mews
Ensor Mews is not only one of the most picturesque mews I’ve come across, but it’s also one of the best spots to see wisteria in London at the beginning of May. It contains Georgian and Victorian Terraces and it’s thought that most of the houses were built between 1840 and 1880. Situated in the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea, there are lots of other mews and little streets nearby and you can easily spend a couple of hours just walking around the area with your camera!
Nearest tube station: South Kensington
5. Stanhope Mews South
Stanhope Mews South is another hidden gem that I discovered when I was looking for photo spots in Kensington. As you walk down the mews you’ll come across lots of little details which make this mews so special; pastel doors, pink chairs and tables and colourful potted plants outside every house. Stanhope Mews South is a short stroll from the Natural History Museum, the Science Museum and the V&A but the street is so quiet that you’ll forget you are in the heart of central London!
Nearest tube station: Gloucester Road
6. Kynance Mews
Kynance Mews is probably one of the most well-known mews streets in London. It is incredibly picturesque so you’ve probably seen it on your Instagram feed if you follow any of the large London accounts like Time Out or Secret London. Divided by Launceston Place, the street is split into two sections, both with their own stone archway. Ivy drapes over the entrance to the East giving it an almost mystical feel. As you walk down this longer section you’ll find an ivy-covered house and a secret staircase to an old church – it does feel like you’ve stepped into a fairy tale! The other section to the West is just as photogenic; lush foliage lines the cobbled street and climbs up the little cottages. It is also home to one of the prettiest wisteria plants I’ve come across in London.
Nearest tube station: Gloucester Road
7. Horbury Mews
Horbury Mews is a very pretty yet unusual mews street. Part of Kensington’s ‘Ladbroke’ Conservation Area, the mews street is actually t-shaped. This is likely due to the plot and the demand for stables from residents living around the area. The houses at the end have retained their original brick work whilst the others have been painted different pastel shades. They reminded me of the lovely coloured houses at Hillgate Place which is quite close by. Potted plants, climbers and little benches make this mews even more charming.
Nearest tube station: Notting Hill Gate
8. St Luke’s Mews
St Luke’s Mews might be the most iconic of the London mews streets. It was the first mews street that I stumbled along when I was out exploring Notting Hill and started my fascination with these quaint streets. The little pink house looked very familiar but it was only after checking on Google that I realised it was where Keira Knightley’s character in ‘Love Actually’ lived. The mews street is a popular spot for instagrammers and photographers and if you have ever been you’ll know why. Every house down the cobbled street is painted a different colour and complements the next – grey, mauve, teal blue and pink. The colourful flowers along the walls also create some great opportunities to frame your photos!
Nearest tube station: Westbourne Park or Ladbroke Grove
9. Holland Park Mews
Just off Holland Park lies one of London’s best-preserved mews streets. The majority of houses down Holland Park Mews are Grade II listed buildings and as a result they have retained many of their period features. Wrought-iron staircases leading to picture perfect balconies and original sash windows give this mews a geometrical feel but if you look closely you’ll see that it’s the little details which make each house unique.
Nearest tube station: Holland Park
10. Warren Mews
Warren Mews is one of my favourite mews streets due to its very distinctive entrance. The black-painted building with trailing plants and window flower beds leads through to the mews street. There are usually a couple of cute bicycles outside add to the charming façade. It’s almost impossible to walk past without taking a few photos of this impressive building.
Nearest tube station: Great Portland Street
These are just a few of the prettiest London mews streets that I’ve discovered during my time in London. There are plenty of others so if you spend a day walking around West London I guarantee you’ll stumble across a few without realising it! On a side note, please remember that these houses are people’s homes so be considerate. They are used to tourists but don’t overstay your welcome and please don’t trespass to try and get the perfect shot!
If you have any recommendations please let me know in the comments below – I always love finding new London mews streets! I hope this post inspires you to go and explore this wonderful city.
Love from Steph
Enjoyed reading this post? Pin it now, read it again later