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The Yurt in the middle of Notting Hill

April 9th, 2024

The Yurt in the middle of Notting Hill

The inside of a yurt with fairy lights and sheep skins yurt in the middle of notting hill

A yurt in the middle of Notting Hill is not something you think would be possible. The immaculate streets of Notting Hill lined with shiny luxury shops, well-managed garden borders and perfectly pruned trees, seems like a far cry from the vast wilderness that the Yurt originates from.

Horses and Mongolian People in Mongolian scenery mountains

Family Experiences with Yurts

So how did a yurt appear in the middle of Notting Hill? Melt’s founder Louise Nason and her family used to holiday in a yurt every summer. Inspired by its beauty, the practicality of being able to move it around, and the ability to be right on nature’s doorstep, they would go find a field in the middle of the countryside and set it up for the summer.

Many years later, her husband Andrew Nason, who now runs the company, decided to bring the yurt experience to Melt. Remembering the incredible memories and sensation of living in a yurt, he decided to gift that experience to the residents of Notting Hill. The idea is to transport you from the busy streets of London to another realm – somewhere wilder, calmer and more comforting.

The Yurt is placed in the back garden of their Ledbury road shop, and takes up the entire space! You walk straight out of the shop and straight into the Yurt.

A yurt door in the back of notting hill garden Melt chocolates Ledbury Road shop


History of the Yurt

The yurt, or ger as they are also known, have been homes for the nomadic people of Mongolia for thousands of years. The popular narrative of the Yurt is that it originates from Central Asia around the year 700 CE. Along with the expansion of the Mongol Empire under Genghis Khan, the yurt culture was bought into the areas that are now known as Turkey, Hungary and Romania.

People putting up a Yurt in Mongolia

However, in the year 1982 a serendipitous uncovering of the “Arjan tomb,” revealed some new information. An opulent burial from the Neo-Elamite era was found in close proximity to the ancient settlement of Arjan, situated amidst the Zagros mountains in southern Iran.

In this burial site there was found a beautiful bronze bowl dated c. 600 BCE, named the ‘Arjan bowl’. The expansive outer design of the Arjan bowl prominently features the fundamental wooden components of a circular, domed “ribbed tent.” This depiction portrays the tent without its typical felt covering, emphasizing the structure’s distinctive long curved struts and crucial roof wheel. The illustration was evidently crafted to showcase the tent’s defining features.

An iranian drawing on the arjan bowl of a yurt like structure

Some more evidence found on a cave wall in the city of Panticapaeum (in the vicinity of modern Kerch, in the Crimea). This painting dates back to 1CE and depicts riders moving towards a domed-shaped tent in which a family stands beside it.

Wall painting of a yurt on a cave wall
Therefore, prior to the widespread adoption of the yurt by the Turks, it is plausible that there was a significant period where peoples of Iranian descent had already utilized similar architectural forms. However, hundreds of years later, the yurt would proceed to develop into a the trellis tent that is still used by nomadic Mongolian people to this day.

The Special structure of the Mongolian Yurt

The definition of a yurt by the National Geographic is ‘a portable, circular dwelling made of a lattice of flexible wood and covered in felt.’

The entrance of the Mongolian yurt faces south, designed to integrate both spatial and practical elements. At the apex of the roof lies an open circular aperture known as the “toon”. On clear days, a beam of sunlight gracefully traverses the inner circumference of the yurt. Its journey begins as early as 5:40 am and continues until around 7:40 am, casting its glow upon the various inner walls, or “khana”, depending on the season.

The top of a yurt with a man climbing over it

This natural sundial serves as a vital tool for the nomadic inhabitants, aiding them in organizing their daily routines. From tending to the herds and processing their milk, to drying dung for fuel and observing religious practices, the movement of the sun guides their activities. The angle of sunlight streaming through the toon onto the yurt’s floor varies with the passage of time, providing cues for estimating the hour and month. Such observations inform decisions regarding the commencement of seasonal migrations between summer and winter pastures.

Chocolate Making Experiences in the Yurt

As recommended in The New York Times, Melt’s Cacao Ceremony is a chocolate ritual, a sacred shamanic ceremony that uses ceremonial cacao and sacred plants to help you achieve transcendence.

Melt uses breathwork, meditation, and sound immersion for your anointment and ascension. The Sacred Cacao will facilitate the healing process and act as a source of divine inspiration. Live music and ceremonial cacao transports you to another realm of chocolate transcendence.

Best chocolate experience in London ritual of chocolate

Melt’s Cacao Ceremony will take place inside our Mongolian Yurt in Notting Hill. Our Yurt is a sacred space, built from a single ash tree, and decorated with Amazonian blankets and rugs. The Sound healing and gong bath in our beautiful Yurt is like having your very own private orchestra sending music directly to your soul.

The inside of a yurt with sheepskin a gong in the middle of notting hill

A Poem about a Yurt

Finally to inspire the feeling of a yurt, even if you may never have been in one. This poem by renowned poet Bai Juyi (772-846) reveals the charming benefits of living in a yurt.

The Sky-Blue Yurt by Bai Juyi

The finest felt from a flock of a
thousand sheep, stretched over a
frame shaped like the extended bows
of a hundred soldiers.

Ribs of the healthiest willow, its color
dyed to saturation with the freshest

Made in the north according to a
Rong invention, it moved south
following the migration of slaves.
When the typhoon blows it does not
shake, when a storm pours it gets
even stronger.

With a roof that is highest at the
center, it is a four-sided circle
without corners.

With its side door open wide, the air
inside remains warm.

Though it comes from far beyond the
passes, now it rests securely in the
front courtyard.

Though it casts a lonely shadow
during nights brilliantly illuminated
by the moon, its value doubles in
years when the winter is bitterly

Softness and warmth envelop the
felt hangings and rugs; the tinkling
of jade enfolds the sounds of pipes
and strings.

It is most convenient after the earth
has been covered with frost, and it is
the best match when snow fills the

Positioned at an angle is the low
chair for singing, evenly disposed are
the small mats for dancing.

When I have leisure time I lift open
the curtain and enter the yurt, and
when I am drunk I wrap myself up in
a cover and sleep there.

Behind me an iron lamp-stand that
bears a candle; a silver incense
censer that flames is suspended
from the ceiling.

Kept deep within is the flame that
lasts till dawn; stored inside is the
fragrant smoke that lasts till

When the animal-shaped charcoal is
close by, fox furs can be cast aside.
When the ink-stone is warm it melts
the frozen ink and when the pitcher
is heated it becomes a stream in

An orchid canopy will barely attract a
hermit and a thatched hut is inferior
for meditating.

(But invited to my yurt) an
impoverished monk responds with
praise, and a threadbare scholar
stays in place, unwilling to leave.

Guests are greeted with it,
descendants will hand it down to

The Wang family boasts of their
antiques, but they have nothing to
equal this Sky-Blue Yurt.

Yurts in Mongolian Countryside with horses



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