Notting Hill, London
Notting Hill is a haven of culture in London; with Colour, Victorian terraces, Caribbean Food and unique shop fronts making it the icing on the cake in West London for locals and visitors.
Notting Hill is continually a desired spot to visit as people rediscover the film of its name sake 'Notting Hill'; wanting to walk down Portobello Road Market, seeing the Blue Door and feeling like a local. Each year Notting Hill breaks out into the bright and fun Notting Hill Carnival where over the August long weekend Londoner descend to dance along with the wonderful dancers in the Parade.
Aside from the 2 things that make Notting Hill so famous, there are many secrets to discover throughout Notting Hill. Notting Hill is perfect in every season but Spring is the most beautiful when all the Cherry Blossoms cover the streets in a variety of pink. After all my years of popping down to Notting Hill I hope you get to experience life like a local.
Portobello Road Markets
Portobello Road Markets is the heart of Notting Hill. It leads off to wonderful sights to see as well as being a road full of incredible shops, stalls and cafes. As you walk down the Road from Notting Hill Gate you will see a selection of shops and stalls that range from Antiques Shops & Stalls, Jewellery from Souks across the world, Food Markets with the freshest fruit and vegetables (best to get a portobello mushroom to be ironic) and at the very end a huge selection of Vintage and Handmade fashions from Silk Shirts, Military Uniforms and dresses that would have been worn on the street in the 1960s.
The best time to visit Portobello Road Markets is on a Friday, as the markets stalls are out on the streets as well as the shop. Little food stalls pop up too to buy paella and crepes. Saturdays are great to but it is best to go early as it is the busiest day of the week and can be overwhelming with the amount of people.
Some of the highlights to shop at are:
Jessie Western - Native American Jewellery
Alice's - Antiques
Kasbah Bazaar - Textiles and Jewels from Morocco
All Saints - for the huge amount of Sewing Machines
The Hummingbird Bakery - best cupcakes in Notting Hill
Noor - Wonderful Exotic Jewellery
Sara Tiara - Beautiful Millinery & Tailored garments made with tweed
Energy to Seek - delicate Jewellery including Asian Jewellery
Arancina is the best pizza in West London. It is made by real Italians too making you feel like you are in Italy. It is a great pit stop for lunch or dinner, so grab a Arancini (stuffed rice ball), a massive slice of pizza and a beer brewed by them.
For years I walked past Hirst Antiques with my nose pressed against the window looking into Aladdin's Cave. It has become my favourite shop in Notting Hill; it is full of Costume and Vintage Jewellery, it is hard not to buy everything there as I learnt after my visits. It is a great place to pick up anything you want for any occasion or period. Not only that, they have one of my favourite Australian Jewellery brands Erstwilder. It is a must visit for Notting Hill.
Farm Girl Cafe
On Portobello Road is the best cafe in Notting Hill. Farm Girl Cafe is perfect for the Australian in me, as it takes it approach from Australian Cafe Culture with delicious fresh food and a wonderful setting to sit in. It has a long list of Coffee choices from Flat White to Matcha Latte's to a Hibiscus Matcha and a large range of Juices made in the Cafe. Each dish of food is made with love as each bite is delicious. Head over to Farm Girl Cafe early for Breakfast at Portobello but be warned as the week progresses as well as the time of the day, the cafe can get busy so it could be a wait, but it is worth it.
If you want to experience high class posh cinema with all the creature comforts, Electric Cinema is the place to go. It is one of the oldest working Cinemas in Britain opening in 1910, hosting now many of the latest cinema releases and classic movies. The seats are the best you will ever experience; each seat as a perfect view of the screen, the chairs themselves are like sitting on a cloud including a little table to place you champagne and delicious food from the bar on and a pouf which has a secret compartment with a blanket you can cuddle up with. The Electric Cinema is the perfect place for a special treat cinema experience. If you want to spoil yourself even more you can buy seats for the bed sofa in the front row for the perfect cuddle.
If you love Gin as much as I do, you'll love the Distillery. It has four floors of different experiences of Gin tasting, not only that it has a distillery on the premises and a little hotel. At level 1 there is a bar called Gintonica that host up to 100 different types of Gin from around the world, so you can taste every colour of the Gin Rainbow. On the ground floor is The Resting Room that offers The Distillery's finest products for tasting including Portobello Road Gin. In the basement is The Ginstitute, its offers an experience where you learn about Gin's colourful and checkered past from William of Orange to now. You get to create your own blend of gin along with gin tasting throughout the visit.
The Biscuiteers are the most delicious biscuits you will have, I haven't had such a wonderful Gingerbread man until now. The shop offers a large variety of different biscuits, cakes and chocolates, along with a cafe to enjoy their wares and workshops learning the skill of icing. During my visit there was a wonderful selection of Jolly Gingers biscuits iced as Frida Kahlo, Audrey Hepburn and Cleopatra to name a few but the most important for Britain at the moment being Prince Harry & Meghan Markle in time for their wedding. (The Brits do enjoy a good Royal Wedding)
The Blue Door
The Blue Door is forever in cinematic history from the film Notting Hill where Hugh Grant and Julia Roberts romance blossomed in a classic from Richard Curtis. The Blue Door is located just off Portobello Road at 280 Westbourne Park Road. The original door was sold at Auction for charity, then the door you see now was painted black to have a bit of private time but now it is painted blue again and always makes me smile as I walk past.
Lancaster Road Houses
Along Lancaster Road near All Saints Road are the most bright and fun painted houses you will ever see in your life. It is a rainbow that locals live in, the highlight is up the top of the street but down the road on both sides are bright homes. It shows off Notting Hill's fun side. When walking throughout all of Notting Hill look out for multiple beautifully painted homes.
St Luke Mews
St Luke Mews is a sweet little hidden gem amongst Notting Hill. It is a pastel and calm route with sweet homes that make you jealous wishing you could live there too. Mews are known as a row of stables in Britain, so you can only imagine the life that must have once had before.
Temperley London is a fashion gem in Notting Hill; it has a large selection of beautiful high end garments with unique designs as well as a bridal boutique. Alice Temperley is the artistic creative behind the brand with Vogue noting her as the "British Ralph Lauren" as well as making many garments for celebrities, making her work delicious eye candy and it has a wicked exterior.
Granger and Co
Granger and Co is one of the London restaurants by Aussie Chief Bill Granger, so clearly as an Australian it is one of the yummiest restaurants in town. It has a wide selection of dishes from all over the world for Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner. It is a great place to enjoy the interior design, read a book, enjoy a cuppa along with a delicious meals that is an feast on the taste buds. It is a popular restaurant so there could be queue but it is 100% worth the wait.
Around the corner from Granger and Co is Ledbury Road, which has a great painted pastel mural on the street.
Wild at Heart
Wild at Heart is a floral explosion in Notting Hill, it is a set on a backdrop of teal tiles, a neon sign and so many flowers that is warms your heart.
The Churchill Arms
The Churchill Arms is the Pub of all Pubs and it is a must visit on your trip to London. Every where you look is a layer of beauty; lets start with the outside, it is covered in 100s of flowers and it smells amazing. During Winter the pub covers the outside in Christmas trees trimmed with fairy lights making it seem like Santa's grotto. Once you walk into the pub it is covered in items from the 1940s and mementos of Winston Churchill himself, it is a traditional British Pub but so much more with everywhere you look having moments of history dotted throughout. Around the back is the best Thai food in West London, the restaurant is seems like a fairy grotto with lush green plants hanging from the ceiling. It is hard to leave the pub as you get to have a wonderful experience spending time there.
The best tube station to get off at in Notting Hill Gate, you can wander down through Notting Hill seeing all the stops then wander back up or if you are tired after a great day out, Ladbroke Grove Station is at far end of Notting Hill.
So put on your walking shoes, wear lose trousers to be able to enjoy all the places to eat and drink and have big bag for all those wonderful treasures you will find throughout the Markets. Notting Hill is a great day out and you will not want to leave this London life style.