Kensington is one of London’s most beautiful and classy neighborhoods. Vibrant, luminous and elegant, it is lovely in spring but in winter it remains as impressive. It looks wistfully and enchants you with her hidden treasures. Grab your coffee, forget the map you hold with the tourist attractions of the city and let’s take a wintery stroll in the famous Mews of Kensington and in its beautiful corners.
For the record, Mews were service roads with rows of stables or courtyards for carriages mainly in London of the 18th and 19th centuries. They were built behind aristocratic neighborhoods to serve the needs of the wealthy residents of the region. The ground floor was used for the care of the horses while the upper floor was usually given to the servants as a residence. The word comes from the Royal Mews, the royal stables built 500 years ago at Charing Cross in the space of Royal Hawk Mews.
Today, Mews are hidden corners and secret hideouts, Cobbled streets, small courtyards, narrow passages and even cul-de-sac, colorful veins of the great grey arteries of lively London. These gorgeous bijou streets bring to life images of a bygone era and emerge the scent of the real London. The properties of Mews are used either for residential or commercial purposes, although modernized maintain the traditional look and all those features of the original Mews. The Kensington in the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea, hides among the big busy streets of many such not visible in the many places. This neighborhood has one of the most beautiful and most popular Mews, framed in Instagram profiles.
A WINTERY WALK IN KENSINGTON’S MEWS
Start your walk from the High Street Kensington Tube Station served by the yellow (Circle) and Green Line (District Line). Cross the road across, where you are allowed and walk up to the number 92 of the High Kensington. That’s where the favorite Ole & Steen chain is. Get a hot cup of coffee in your hand and enjoy your walk. You are just starting a journey into the past. Turn backwards. On your right you will meet the English restaurant The Ivy Brasserie. You officially begin your trip to modern London, that holds well in its bowels the aura of the Old Times, the Victorian London. You’ll see, as long as you know where to look. Look to your right! In front of you unfold the small literary side street, Kensington Church Walk.
Follow it and you will be led to a very Gothic setting: in the imposing edifice of St. Mary Abbots Church with its atmospheric gardens. The church was in 1872 under the architectural eyes of Sir George Gilbert Scott, and it is known for its elaborate sharp bell towers that are the highest in London.
At the end of the runway you meet Holland Str. Turn left and closely below you will meet the entrance of the first Mews. And it is Drayson Mews who welcomes you with the Instagram image of hair salon in number 1. Its turquoise door has stolen many clicks!
Successive brick houses harmoniously follow each other and give color and light heart to your walk. The quiet paved road leads to Hornton Place and Hornton Str. which ends on the lively Kensington High Street. Cross the road and turn right. A few meters below you will find yourself in the backyard of a small galleria, Eden Close. Raise your eyes and you’ll see the Adam and Eve Mews metal plate nailed. It crosses the cobblestone alley with sixty-eight properties, some of which retain the original garage doors and balcony doors. Catch sight of the different facades and the successive romantic attics. Turn right and you’ll come to Allen Str. , where you’ll find yourself closer to the nostalgic past. Just opposite the historic pub BRITANIA has been around since 1834.
Walk along the road to the intersection with Stratford Rd, turn left and in the first lane to the right, you find the Radley Mews joining the Lexham Mews. The showstoppers of Radley Mews are the outstanding collectible cars in the Graeme Hunt Ltd. display window.
Without realizing it, you will stroll through Lexham Mews, which have something of an Italian touch, with small balconies, vibrant colors and modern facades marrying with plaster details. As you exit this picturesque alley you will pass under its fairy-tale stone arch.
The fairy tale does not end here, it continues in the elegant and bustling Lexham Gardens with the white classy residences in the queu. Soon you’ll crawl again into the attractive Kensington’s backstreets. The short alley called Lexham Walk gives way to Cornwall Walk. You will feel that you are following a maze of cobblestone streets and narrow alleys, where horse-drawn carriages suddenly pop up. You could glimpse in the small coaches windows ladies, so dressed up with their fine winged hats. Hover around and hark the aura of the place. Happen to be the horseshoes echoing to your ears? With these images and these intense emotions, you will end up in a spectacular crossroad with stone arches and magnificent buildings that you will no longer know which one to follow.
I suggest that you enter the cul-de-sac stunning little narrow, Cornwall Mews West to gaze at the nine barely residences. Then, do an about-f ace to follow Cornwall Gardens, until the short passage to your left leads to Stranford Rd.
Crossing Stranford Rd, winter is revealed in its warmest and most lonely colors and reveals its true naked beauty.
Enjoy the season of Reflection. To your right are the very private Kingsley Mews that lead to a cul-de-sac. Turn back and then right to the Eldon Rd which meets Victoria Rd. Continue left on Victoria Rd. It’s amazing how remarkably serene it can be some streets of London! You will find the vertical St. Albans Grove, where on the right is connected to Victoria Grove. In the first alley turn right at Canning Passage that ends at Canning Place. Here they are parallel to each other, the De Vere Cottages Mews and the Caning Place Mews.
The style of these two mews differs from the precedents, since they are small paved courtyards that gather around them the buildings. Their lines are plain and simple with the facades on the Dere Mews being in monochrome white with special details on the doors. While the Caning Mews maintain a classic brick view with the balconies loaded with the red petunias.
Leaving behind and this piece of wandering in the backstreets of South Kensington, proceeded to the Gloucester Rd and turn right. Cross it lengthwise until you are exposed to the stone arch that will reveal your entrance to the most photographed mews in London. And it’s no other than the famous 19th century Kynance Mews.
In a constantly changing and modernizing London, the Kynance Mews have retained their authenticity. Some places travel through time. And this cobblestone alley in the heart of Kensington certainly holds much of the past unaltered!
This is confirmed by the black gate at number 10, which was the home of Juliete Binoche in the 1993 film Damage starring with Jeremy Irons. If you have seen the movie you will recognize that twenty-seven years later this picture remains the same. You go out to Launceston Pl which divides the Kynance Mews in two. Just opposite another stone arch welcomes you back to Kynance Mews from Launceston Pl which leads into a cul-de-sac.
Stroll through this rustic backdrop that feel like English countryside; vibrant colors, many pots waiting the spring to bloom, climbing ivies and the city’s most beautiful traditional houses.
Back on Gloucester Rd to get up to the Queens Gate Mews and close this winter stroll in one of the most beautiful neighborhoods in central London. Queens Gate Mews are my favorite one’s.
Not because they are named Royal, but because they have a vintage feel. These vintage touches borrowed from the past captivated my sensors.
London is wonderful all season. Its neighborhoods, too. It is a vibrant metropolis that knows how to keep the glamor of the past alive and keep small nostalgia oases well kept. Hope you enjoyed this winter walk at Kensington Mews and got to know this town a little more.
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