One of the things I was really looking forward to was visiting some of the London Mews (you know, those little pretty streets made famous by the movie “Love Actually” in the scene where Keira Knightly opens the door to find Andrew Lincoln and some cue cards standing in the street). There are many of them in London, the one made famous by the movie is actually in Notting Hill – St Luke’s Mews; as this was somewhat out of the way given the plans we had made we visited some mews in the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea. The mews are usually hidden away behind archways and you would never know that you are in busy London!
These houses were originally built in the 18th and 19th century to stable horses and provided accommodation above the stables for the servants. The houses sit on cobbled little streets which originally were service roads located behind grand Georgian and Victorian houses.
There was usually a tunnel under the garden connecting with the basement of the house, so servants could slip out to the stable without disturbing the residents. A curious feature of almost any mews house is that it has no windows at the back, so servants could not spy on their betters enjoying a stroll in the garden.
Most mews were utilitarian places, with hard-wearing cobbles and a drain down the middle to take away the waste from the horses.