The Churchill Arms has serious flower power.
With over 3,500 boozers to choose from, London is pretty well-stocked with pubs. And yet, one of these pubs is not like the others: it’s almost completely hidden by an avalanche of flowers, the budget for which is more than some people’s annual salary. The Churchill Arms is fabulously floral and (unsurprisingly) a big hit on social media. Let’s take a peep behind the petunias, shall we?
For starters, let’s address that headline: to create their floral façade, The Churchill Arms forks out a staggering £25,000 a year on decorations. This is Kensington after all, were you expecting frugality? When spring springs and the flowers bloom, The Churchill Arms is bedecked with 100 flower pots, 48 window boxes, and 42 hanging baskets. Or, to put it another way, a metric fuck-tonne of brilliantly coloured flowers. Imagine being the poor fool who has to water all of those!
When the winter closes in, The Churchill Arms doesn’t rest on its laurels, shelling out an extra £5,000 on Christmas decorations. That festive budget stretches to 90 Christmas trees and almost 12,000 lights… and presumably some rather envious neighbours. Santa won’t fail to stop here, because there’s absolutely no way to miss it.
Inside, the decor is equally exuberant. The Churchill Arms may be part of the Fuller’s chain, but as you may have guessed, this place thumbs its nose at the mere mention of conformity. The pub is a sort of cathedral of Churchill memorabilia, with pictures, banners, and other odds and ends scattered all over the place.
Additionally, a definitely-not-at-all-fake blue plaque proudly proclaims that “Churchill made his wartime broadcasts here, and laughed at Hitler’s watercolours while drinking banana daiquiris and farting.” Whilst that is (sadly) a fabrication, The Churchill Arms does have one connection to the former PM: his grandparents spent large parts of the 1800s drinking at the pub, which is how it came to be so named after WW2.
This place really is a pub of many talents. For instance, the decorations have earned it awards from the Chelsea Flower Show. Away from the resplendent decor, The Churchill Arms was (allegedly) the first pub in London to serve Thai food. Nowadays, this is no big deal, but back in the day, considered rather groundbreaking.
And would it surprise you to learn that in the dining area, WW2 bric-a-brac gives way to a kind of sprawling, magical indoor garden?
Flower walls, pad thai, and Winston Churchill may not be your traditional combination, but at The Churchill Arms, it just works.
Location: 119 Kensington Church Street, Kensington, W8 7LN. Nearest station is Notting Hill Gate. See it on Google Maps.
Opening hours: 11am-11pm (Monday to Wednesday), 11am-midnight (Thursday to Saturday), 12-10:30pm (Sunday).
Price: Thai dishes from £9, pints are usual London prices.
More information: visit their website.
Featured image: @vanillay