In Notting Hill there’s a small pocket of superlatively chic shopping awaiting your attentions – Ledbury Road and its environs. If you’re staying in one of our Notting Hill vacation rentals, like the Marlborough or Stuart, well, you’re a very lucky thing as you’re a hop, skip and a jump from this stylish enclave at the west end of Westbourne Grove. But shoppers take note, it’s quick and easy to reach Notting Hill from nearly all of our apartments, so you can search for antique treasures on Portobello Road and spend a leisurely afternoon exploring the rest of oh so charming Notting Hill.
The fun starts at the corner of Westbourne Grove and Pembridge Road with the sleek Space N.K (127-131 Westbourne Grove). Behold! Its wonderfully curated selection of beauty products from around the world is a constant source of temptation and delight.
- What gifts do you need to buy for loved ones back home? Snow globes, T-shirts with London buses and boxer shorts with union jacks on them are strictly verboten. You’re in Notting Hill. It’s just not done.
- Which sartorial gaps in your wardrobe need filling? It’s almost spring after all.
Let’s start – naturally enough – with question 1.
If children are the future recipients of your holiday largesse then get thee to Caramel Baby and Child (77 Ledbury Road). The British designers behind this range of luxury children’s wear have forged a charming balance of vintage feel with a modern twist. Just because kids are hurling themselves into whatever tree, puddle, or muddy morass they can find, it doesn’t mean that they can’t look stylish in tana lawn tops or Swallows and Amazons-esque shorts.
(A small note here; the continental likes of Bonpoint and Petit Bateau also have outposts close at hand in Notting Hill, but why buy French when you’re in London? I’d go straight to the source; get thee on the Eurostar, stay in a Paris Perfect pad and then purchase quelque chose lovely for the aforementioned cherubim.)
But what if the recipients are one of those … you know, the sort of person who is difficult to buy anything for? I’ve the answer: Smythsons (214 Westbourne Grove). Bespoke stationary and leather goods that will set hearts a flutter with gratitude. You can’t go wrong. It’s had 125 years of practice and with Samantha Cameron – the Prime Minister’s wife – as a creative advisor it’s got a thoroughly British pedigree.
Thinking about it, you may end up keeping that featherweight diary for yourself …
And on that note, let’s focus on YOU and some answers to question 2. Perhaps it’s time to update that wardrobe. Oh, where to begin, where to begin … ?
There’s a select slew of international brands such as MaxMara, Comptoir des Cotonniers and Ralph Lauren that command attention whilst Anya Hindmarch’s handbags (63a Ledbury Road), Brora’s Scottish cashmere (187 Westbourne Grove) and Joseph’s (236 Westbourne Grove) minimalist chic fly the flag for the British contingent. For a one-stop shop with a cutting edge selection of designer fashion then do pop into Matches (60-64 Ledbury Road). They also offer a personal shopping service for those in a hurry or wanting a style update.
Now, dear London Perfect readers, I’m sure there are one or two bargain hunters amongst you with a sartorial flair. Let’s admit it; there’s nothing quite like that adrenalin-charged thrill of finding a stunning piece of clothing at a fraction of the original cost. If it’s vintage, antique and second-hand, you’re also secure in the knowledge you’ll never suffer the mortification of wearing the same ensemble as another attendee at any social event ever again.
That security and smugness is worth its weight in gold and don’t you know it you style maven, you!
And so here’s the secret section of the post. Shhhhh! I’ll need to write this part sotto voce.
There’s not one but TWO charity shops along this stretch and – oh my – what a variety of designer vintage there is to consider. Save the Children’s Living and Giving shop (177 Westbourne Grove) and an Oxfam Boutique (245 Westbourne Grove) are alluring emporia, demanding of a visit and a fossick through their beguiling and ever-changing wares. Not only will you emerge looking chic enough to give the locals a run for their money, you’re donating money to a good cause.
Zoë F. Willis is a London Perfect reservationist, writer and Londoner. Visit her blog Things Wot I Have Made to find out more about Zoë’s many creative talents!