The Handbook
The Handbook

Take a wander round London’s smartest districts and it’s impossible not to be wowed by the stately majesty of Belgravian, Mayfair or Knightsbridge mansions. But scoot around the back of these gilded palaces, and a whole ‘nother world opens up, and it’s not what you’d expect. While the regal fronts are stucco monuments of regimented grandeur, the rears are far more varied, built haphazard and in various styles and with the most charming little mews houses. Originally built as stables and servants’ accommodation, the mews houses themselves are now generally worth millions of pounds and are just as sought after as the houses they used to be attached to.

And when it comes to social media, these places are mews-ic to our eyes, glorious in their cutesyness, gorgeous cobbled back streets with a character and life of their own. Here are some of our favourites…

Cornwall Gardens is one of Kensington’s smartest addresses, a grand garden square in typical white stucco style. But round the back, through grand arch, the pretty cobbles of Kyance Mews make a perfect mews Insta shot and represent a perfect example of London mews properties.

The Portland Estate, the smart area of north of Oxford Street, originally developed by the Dukes of Portland and famous for being the home of the BBC and Langham Hotel, is also home to some stunning mewses, not least Warren Mews, just round the corner from Regent’s Park tube station. Interestingly (to me, and realistically probably not to the Instagammers reading this, but hey ho, you’re stuck here now), you know the minister that gets sacked by Malcolm Tucker in the first episode of The Thick Of It? The one that shouts ‘Yes, I know what transport fucking entails’, well in real life he’s Timothy Bentinck, 12th Earl of Portland, the family that created this part of town.

Behind the upmarket jewellers and high fashion boutiques of Bond Street lies one of London’s most charming mews, Lancashire Mews. And not only is it rather charming, but this unexpected warren of alleys plays host to one of our favourite Mayfair eateries (and drinkeries) Mews of Mayfair. Perfect for sitting outside and enjoying a glass of wine in summer, or indeed an entire meal in the mews and courtyard. It’s a true hidden gem.

Holland Park boasts some of the largest London mansions which regularly sell for multiples of tens of millions of pounds. Take a trip down to the area, but maybe don’t drive, given yellow lines in the mews behind Holland Park Avenue, they clearly don’t want you driving…

Mews aren’t just an historic relic of a time when coaches and horses ruled London’s narrow roads, they can be thoroughly modern too, as witnessed by. Pinks Mews, in Holborn. The new development by CBRE, apartments start just shy of a cool mil…

Potentially the only London mews left that actually has a stables with real life horses living there, Bathurst Mews lies just north of Hyde Park behind Sussex Gardens and the rather less attractive 60s block that forms the north side of Sussex Square.

One advantage of mews houses is that they don’t have to conform to the same strict rules set for the houses they sit at the back of. No Grosvenor cream here, instead multicolour individualism is allowed to run wild. Head to Ennismore Gardens Mews for a burst of colour.