Portobello Road is one of the most famous streets in all of London. Perusing the eclectic street market is a not-to-be-missed, quintessentially British way to spend a weekend morning in Notting Hill. Want to navigate the market like a seasoned pro? Here’s everything you need to know about shopping on Portobello Road.
What Is Portobello Road Market?
Portobello Road is a quaint stretch of street filled with colorfully painted houses, cute cafés and independent shops like indie record outfit, Rough Trade and The Notting Hill Bookshop, made famous by the movie, Notting Hill. (Check out other well-known British film locations here.) On select days, the street plays host to a fabulously British market of antiques, artisan food, farm-fresh produce and knickknacks. (The market is divided into sections according to which goods are being sold.) Dating back about 300 years, the antiques section, stocked with mismatching china, vintage furs and lace, crystal homewares, jewelry and quirky books, is perhaps the most famous and certainly the most photogenic.
When Is Portobello Road Market?
Saturdays are the main market day, with all vendors in full swing, followed by Fridays. On other days, only some stalls are open. (You can see the full schedule here.) Without a doubt, go on Saturday morning, if possible. The activity usually kicks off around 8:30 A.M. By 11:00 A.M. it’s positively packed, so if it’s a leisurely morning shop you’re after, start early.
Where Is Portobello Road?
Portobello Road is in the heart of the charm-packed neighborhood of Notting Hill, right around the corner from our Notting Hill apartments. There’s the bright and cheery Leicester and the completely stunning Danebury, with the most amazing private roof deck. The market is also just a short stroll from the sun-filled Palace Gardens apartment, the classic Austen and the charming Hornton.
The best part of the market—where all the most gorgeous, eye-catching gems are on display—is right at the start of Portobello Road (at Pembridge Road). Don’t miss the arcades, the little shopping passageways filled with even more rare goodies. (As you shop, don’t be afraid to try and haggle for a better price—it’s expected!) As you walk north up Portobello Road, the stalls of chic antiques start to peter off. Posh collectibles are replaced with fun bric-a-bracs, funky second-hand clothes and punchy street art. (There’s even a Banksy located near the corner of Portobello Road and Acklam Road.)
Why Go Shopping on Portobello Road?
For the setting and the shopping:
The energy and ambiance of Portobello Road on market days is memorizing and energizing. Street performers vie for your attention. And it’s impossible not be taken with stall after stall of old-world treasures. (Also, the adorable pastel-colored houses in powder blues and darling pinks make for a perfect backdrop for your Instagram photos.) Without too much digging, you’ll be able to bring home unique souvenirs, like vintage postcards, or one-of-a-kind treasures for yourself, like a 1920s silver hand mirror.
For the fresh food:
Also, one of the best things about having your very own London Perfect apartment is you have an amazing kitchen all to yourself. So make like the locals and skip the big name chain supermarkets. Instead, stock up on some fresh produce at the fruit and vegetable section of the market. There are also fresh baked breads, cheeses, as well as meat and fish purveyors.
For the snacks:
Another reason to go shopping on Portobello Road is to try the yummy street food. Among the stalls piled up with leaning towers of teacups and vintage fur capes, you can find some tasty treats to keep up your momentum while shopping on Portobello road. Street food favorites include a German bratwurst truck (location varies), as well as an unnamed falafel stand. Your best bet is to keep your eyes peeled for the long lines, as they usually denote the local favorites.
The street is also lined with people whipping up Nutella and strawberry crêpes. Also, if sweets are your thing, check out the brick-and-mortar storefront of The Hummingbird Bakery. (They make great American-style cupcakes.) There’s also Fabrique, a Scandinavian bakery selling the most amazing traditional Swedish cinnamon buns.
And once you’re done with all that shopping, treat yourself to a well-earned G&T at The Portobello Star, a hip and historic gin joint that’s been open since 1740.
Ready for an unforgettable stay in Notting Hill? Our reservations team can help you choose the ideal apartment (as well as hook you up with more local shopping tips!).