Whether you’re looking for an antique Royal Navy Ship Clock from the 1920s or just want to dance in the street to some Calypso music, Notting Hill’s got just what you’re looking for.
Widely considered one of the more fashionable neighborhoods in West London, Notting Hill is located in the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea. It’s filled with cobblestone streets, large Victorian townhouses, communal gardens and some of London’s finest shops and restaurants. So to get the most out of your stay, here’s our recommendations for places to see and things to do in Notting Hill.
Portobello Road Market
Portobello Road runs the entire length of Notting Hill from north to south, and that’s where you’ll find one of London’s most popular markets, the Portobello Road Market. The market is famous for its antique section, which dates back to the late 1940s and 50s. On a Saturday morning, the main day for antiques, you’ll find over 2,000 antique dealers crowded into the street along with jazz quartets and shoppers perusing through the wide array of books, jewelry, furniture, and decorative art pieces. Make sure that you bring plenty of cash and are ready to deal with these vendors.
Antiques aren’t all that Portobello Road has to offer. If you travel a little further north, there are fruit and vegetable stands that sell fresh produce throughout the week. Under the Westway Flyover, you’ll find a row of shops specializing in vintage clothing and boutique fashions. And if you need a quick bite to eat, try the Hummingbird Bakery for some of the most delicious cupcakes in London.
If you haven’t found what you’re looking for at Portobello Road, just a few minutes away you’ll find Westbourne Grove, one of the main shopping areas in Notting Hill. There you’ll find fashion boutiques, shoe and bag designers, jewellers, art galleries, and cafes and restaurants.
And it also happens to be part of the route of the…
Notting Hill Carnaval
On the last weekend of August, the Notting Hill Carnival takes over the streets of the neighborhood, filling them with Caribbean food and music. It’s the largest street fair in Europe, and second in the world only behind the Rio Carnival in Brazil. For the past few years, over 1 million people have traveled to participate in the celebration.
Dating back to 1965, the Carnaval was founded to celebrate cultural unity in Notting Hill. Today, that spirit remains as the immigrants who have settled into the community proudly display their music, food, dance and, of course, colorful costumes. During the event, you can enjoy foods from Portuguese bakeries, Moroccan cafes, and Caribbean street vendors. Meanwhile the sounds of steel bands and soca and calypso music fill the air.
On Saturday, the party begins with a steel band competition. Sunday is children’s day, and Monday is for the adults. On both days, the party gets started at 9am, so get there early. Because many of the streets will be closed in the area, it’d be smart to take London’s public transport. Also, the north entrances tend to get crowded, so try to enter from the west or south.
Notting Hill Restaurants
If you’re looking for a real special meal in Notting Hill, look no further than the Ledbury. For the past two years, it’s been voted the top UK restaurant by the National Restaurant Awards. Serving modern French cuisine, Australian chef Brett Graham is constantly rotating dishes on and off his menu based on the seasons and availability of the ingredients.
But the restaurant is rather small, making tables hard to come by. So it’d be smart to make your reservations when you start planning a trip to London.
The Ledbury, 127 Ledbury Road, Notting Hill, UK W11 2AQ, 020 7792 9090
Notting Hill Accommodations
And of course, our recommendations for Notting Hill would not be complete without highlighting some of our amazing Notting Hill accommodations. These include our 2-bedroom Leinster apartment, which features a private garden where you can dine al fresco; our 3-bedroom Lloyd apartment, which is located close by Kensington Gardens, Westbourne Grove, and Portobello Road; or our 3-bedroom Notting Hill short-term rental, located around the corner from where the movie “Notting Hill” was filmed.
So book your flight to London and come enjoy all the culture and history that Notting Hill has to offer!