My time out in the hot & humid ‘smoke’ this week allowed me time to explore a place that I’ve only recently been become aware of, and have never visited before – even though I had, in the past, attended several meetings in the actual area, when working for Barclays Bank – and in fact, the place I went to this week, is literally only round the corner from where I used to attend these meetings – and I never knew it was there!!
So – my little jaunt out involved me getting a couple of trains over to the west of London, and in particular Notting Hill – where I sought out what is most probably one of the most ‘colourful’ and unique pubs in London – namely the amazing “The Churchill Arms” – and what a fantastic pub it is!!!
The ‘Churchill Arms’ is located at 119 Kensington Church Street, on the corner with Campden Street – just a couple of minutes’ walk from Notting Hill Gate tube station, on the District/Circle and Central lines.
The pub building was built itself dates back to 1750 – making it one of the older and more historic pubs in London.
Sir Winston Churchill’s grandparents were apparently ‘regulars’ at the pub, way back in the early 1800’s – and because of that connection, the pub was renamed in honour of the name, at the end of WW2.
Inside the pub today, there is a whole plethora of ‘Churchill’ memorabilia, such as paintings, pictures, photos, newspaper cuttings, banners & signage, all over its walls or hanging from the ceiling.
There is also loads of other weird quirky collectables and clutter on display or hanging up, throughout the pubs interior.
That in itself makes the pub an interesting place to hang-out in – however, what makes The Churchill Arms so unique is the amazing and wonderful floral displays that completely smother the exterior of the building – which is really unusual for a boozer that is situated in such a busy urban area.
Apparently, the floral displays as they are today, started life as simply as a couple of hanging baskets – but today, the pub is famous all over the world, for its uniqueness, colour and beauty.
Today, it is estimated that the exterior of the pub is adorned with approximately 100 flower tubs – 40+ hanging baskets & 48 window boxes, which cover the entire building right up to and including its chimney pots.
The way in which the pub has been decorated throughout the years has even earned it awards at the prestigious ‘Chelsea Flower Show’.
In 1999 The Churchill Arms won the ‘Evening Standard’ pub of the year’ award.
Apparently the cost of setting up these displays is estimated to be around £25k per year – and during the Christmas period, the plants are replaced by up to 90 Christmas Trees and nearly 15,000 lights.
Another claim to fame of The Churchill Arms is that some 25 years ago, it was the very first pub to serve up Thai food – and today, there is a Thai restaurant part to the pub that is still going strong and pulling in the punters.
So – having spent a very enjoyable couple of hours in the ‘Churchill’ looking at all the interesting memorabilia and stuff on display – and of course, neckin’ down the mandatory ‘cheeky’ one (which, if truth be told, ended up being 3 ‘cheeky’ ones), I rather merrily trotted off back to Notting Hill Gate tube station –thinking sympathetically (as I tend to do after a few beers) how on earth have they managed to keep the floral displays in full bloom throughout the uncharacteristic dry, hot and humid couple of months we’ve had here in the ‘smoke’…..and I also spared a thought for the about poor old sod whose job it is to ‘water’ the floral displays – and also just how much their water rates must be.
The Churchill Arms – quite simply a unique pub, and one which I will most definitely be returning to, hopefully in the not too distant future – If you are ever in the area then check it out you’ll luv it, and wont be disappointed.