- I strolled down the colorful street where Keira Knightly shot a famous scene in “Love Actually.”
- St Lukes Mews is two streets down from the hustle and bustle of Portobello Market in Notting Hill.
- A resident of the picturesque street said the million-dollar homes were once used as horse stables.
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It’s most famous for being one of the filming locations used in Richard Curtis’ 2003 romcom “Love Actually,” as reported by Time Out, which starred a variety of actors including Keira Knightley, Colin Firth, and Liam Neeson.
The mews is super close to other famous romcom film spots such as the travel bookshop used to shoot Hugh Grant and Julia Roberts’ scenes in the 1999 film “Notting Hill.”
Alternatively, anyone interested in paying a visit to St Lukes can get off at Westbourne Park station, which is just a six-minute walk from the mews.
But pre-warning, you won’t get to enjoy a walk through the center of Portobello Road that way.
Even though I walked through the market on a weekday afternoon, it was still bustling with market vendors and customers negotiating prices for various goods, as well as tourists.
To visit the market in full swing, make sure to go on Saturday. That’s the busiest day, with every antique stall, food stall, and vintage fashion stall open to the public.
London can be a grey place throughout the year, with overcast skies and drizzling rain. The graffiti and the rainbow of fruit and veg laid out at the food stalls on Portobello Road help brighten up an otherwise drab day in the city.
A great spot to visit, even if it is just to admire from the outside, is Ukai — a sushi restaurant on Portobello Road offering live music while diners tuck into the modern Japanese menu. I’m particularly partial to their rock shrimp, which is priced at around $US13 ($AU18) (£10).
I approached via All Saints Road and noticed a clothing boutique right across from St Lukes Mews called The Jacksons, which sells a colorful array of women’s clothing.
Right next to the mews is also a restaurant called The Little Yellow Door. Customers literally enter through a yellow door into the venue, which is styled to look and feel like a chic living room. I visited once and can attest to the fact that they serve a brilliant bottomless brunch.
However, the other part of me expected that there would be some influencers and tourists joining me on my day out on the mews — which was exactly the case when I arrived.
For a short while, I was the only person on the street, except for a man seemingly hired to do some work to the door frame opening up onto a balcony on one of the houses.
Aside from the hushed noise of his work, all I could hear for those few minutes was the hum of bees flying around the plant pots placed outside the homes and a distant sound of cars on the surrounding streets.
It looked almost identical to what I’d seen in the film, bar the two large symmetrical plant pots placed outside. I stood outside taking photographs for a while and no one entered or left, which made me think that the owners were either tucked away inside working, or out of town.
The curtains on the lower and upper levels were drawn, however, which led me to assume that the residents anticipate people coming by their homes for photographs on a daily basis.
I still have mixed feelings about how Lincoln’s character tried to make a move on his best friend’s wife, but that’s an opinion for another article.
You can watch the full scene on the Universal Pictures YouTube channel here.
The resident also said all the homeowners on the street are quite used to people coming to visit St Lukes Mews, especially those in search of the famous pink house.
During lockdown the community of St Lukes Mews really came together, she told me, which made me feel like the mews had more to offer than just its picturesque looks.
My favorite doors were those painted turquoise blue and sage green. I was also surprised to see how many of the mews had expansive roof terraces, visible from the street level.
It looked like quite a few used them to grow plants. If I was living on St Lukes Mews, it would be the perfect place to catch some sun – a rare phenomenon in London.
She told me her father said he was once offered one of the homes on the mews after winning a poker game but turned it down for a cash prize of around $US680 ($AU933) (£500) instead, as he didn’t feel that a home on the mews was worth it at the time.
According to the council, the National Archive first documents residents living on the mews in 1871. It goes on to describe how census records suggest the street was used as “a stable mews” as early as 1911, with the jobs of several people living on St Lukes listed as “corn merchant’s carman” and “coach painter.”
It says that number 19 was sold for over $US1 ($AU1) million (£820,000) in 2004, just a year after the romcom was released. In October 2020, however, it was bought for nearly $US3 ($AU4).6 million (£2.6 million).
In 1972, Cat Stevens, a British singer was pictured walking along the cobblestone street, separated in two halves by a central line of stones. That unique pattern is still very much visible on the street, nearly five decades later.
While she acknowledged to me that her frequent visits may get frustrating for those who live there, she could rest assured she wasn’t bothering anyone with her photoshoot that afternoon since the residents of the pink house were out of town.
I spotted so many bicycles parked out front of homes and tied up by front doors. In the few hours I spent on St Lukes Mews, I also only saw two cars drive through, which allowed me to briefly live out my fantasy of being a character in a Richard Curtis romcom undisturbed.
I also just loved how much St Lukes feels like an oasis in the middle of Notting Hill, which is often packed with tourists and other Londoners frequenting Portobello Market.
Next time I visit, I’ll definitely go during the holiday season so I can see whether the residents put up Christmas lights just like they did in “Love Actually.”