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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.
I visited St Lukes Mews in Notting Hill to find out whether the pink house used to film Keira Knightley's famous scene in "Love Actually" was still there.
St Lukes Mews is a quiet, colorful residential street just a short walk away from Portobello Market, the beating heart of Notting Hill.
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.
To get to St Lukes Mews, I took the Hammersmith and City line to Ladbroke Grove tube stop.
I moved to Notting Hill in 2019, so have become fairly familiar with the area. For the past few months, though, I've been staying in King's Cross. In order to get to St Lukes Mews, I took the Hammersmith and City line toward Hammersmith and got off at Ladbroke Grove station.
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.
The walk to the mews was a short seven minutes and took me right through the center of Portobello Road, known for its vibrant food and antiques market.
Stalls on Portobello Road, according to the market website, are open between 8 a.m. and 6 p.m. during the summer months. In winter, many of the stalls begin setting up between 9 a.m. and close anywhere between 4 p.m. and 5 p.m.
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.
I couldn't help but admire the colorful artwork on top of a sushi restaurant on Portobello Road called Ukai - it really paved the way for how vibrant St Lukes was going to be.
As someone who regularly frequents Portobello Road, I've always been amazed at how colorful it is.
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 $13 (£10).
After passing Portobello, the walk got slightly more uphill. But just a few minutes later, I spotted the sign for St Lukes Mews.
The mews is sandwiched between two larger streets, All Saints Road and St Luke's Road.
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.
When I arrived, I wasn't too surprised to find a group of people in the mews taking photographs outside the colorful houses.
I got to St Lukes Mews on a Wednesday afternoon, so a part of me was half-expecting it to be empty. I, somewhat naively, assumed most people would be well into their workday and wouldn't be touring around residential streets.
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.
The first people I encountered quickly left, and for a while, I had the whole street to myself. It was super quiet, bar the sound of a builder working on a balcony.
I overheard the first people I encountered on my way in to St Lukes talking about breaking for lunch and soon made their way out of the mews.
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.
Right at the entrance of the street, I found number 27 St Lukes Mews, the pink house used in Richard Curtis' 2003 film "Love Actually."
Three houses from the All Saints Road entrance, I spotted it – the pink house from "Love Actually."
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.
In "Love Actually," the character played by Andrew Lincoln arrives at Keira Knightley's door to profess his love to her using cards.
As a "Love Actually" fan and someone who watches it religiously every winter, I consider the scene in which Andrew Lincoln's character Mark arrives at Keira Knightley's character's home on Christmas Eve to profess his love to her a classic.
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.
After speaking to one of the residents of another home on the mews, I learned the house is currently occupied, but that the owners were actually away.
A resident I spoke to while walking down St Lukes Mews said the owners of the pink house weren't home during my visit.
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.
I wandered down the rest of the street and noticed that several of the houses were painted darker in color, which made the pink house stand out all the more.
On my count, nine of the homes on St Lukes Mews were painted either grey or black and most others were different shades of cream. Many had colorful doors, however, and lush green plant pots outside.
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.
According to the resident I spoke to, the street has changed significantly since she moved there 20 years ago.
The homeowner living on St Lukes Mews also told me the street seems to have gotten a lot safer since she first moved there 20 years ago, and even more so since her parents moved to the area in 1952.
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 $680 (£500) instead, as he didn't feel that a home on the mews was worth it at the time.
The owner also said that the houses on the street, which now average around $3 million (over £2.5 million), were once horse stables.
Her claim is also backed up by archaeological history cited by the Kensington and Chelsea council in a planning application for number 6 on St Lukes Mews.
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."
While St Lukes has humble origins, house and apartment sale prices on the street show signs of steadily increasing since the late 1990s.
Even before "Love Actually" was released in 2003, house and apartment sale prices on St Lukes showed signs of steady increases, according to The Move Market.
It says that number 19 was sold for over $1 million (£820,000) in 2004, just a year after the romcom was released. In October 2020, however, it was bought for nearly $3.6 million (£2.6 million).
While a lot has changed, the cobblestones of the street remain in the same pattern as when British singer Cat Stevens walked down St Lukes in 1972.
Though much has changed in St Lukes Mews over the decades, the cobblestones that line the quiet street have remained near identical.
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.
On my way out of the mews, I came across a blogger, who was shooting outfit looks outside of the pink house.
An hour into my visit, I came across Gulshan Batool, a blogger who told me she shoots beauty and fashion content. She said she lives in the area and has made many visits to St Lukes Mews to create content for her social media feeds.
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 only saw two cars drive down the mews in the two hours I spent there and saw plenty of bikes propped up outside the homes.
While the homeowners undoubtedly had to be well off considering the house prices, I loved the fact so many of them seemed to prefer more eco-friendly modes of travel.
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.
As a Notting Hill local, it's safe to say I'll be returning to St Lukes Mews.
After spending a few roaming along the street, I came away with a lot of love for St Lukes Mews. First and foremost, I appreciated how welcoming the residents seemed to be in allowing their beautiful homes to be accessible from the outside to the public.
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."
Read the original article on Insider