London is such a crazy city with so much going on all of the time and with so many different neighbourhoods, all with their own unique and quirky atmospheres, though I’d have to say that Notting Hill wold definitely be one of my most loved areas in this expansive city. This little area made famous by on of my top 5 favourite movies, Notting Hill, starring the adorable Hugh Grant and Julia Roberts, and since its release people have been flocking to this charming neighbourhood to visit the Travel Book Shop and the tattoo parlour “with a guy outside who got drunk and now can’t remember why he chose ‘I love Ken.'” However, there is so much more to Notting Hill than just the Portobello Road Markets and the famed blue door. Filled to the brim with cute cafes and shops, each with their own eclectic theme, you could easily spend your time cafe hopping around for an entire weekend, or if vintage shopping is more your scene there is an abundance of boutiques selling fashion from every decade that will take you on a journey through the decades. Though if you’re short on time, or just wanting to find the best of the best here is my guide to the Notting Hill musts.
If you’re like me food is of massive importance to my liking of a city or neighbourhood, and Notting Hill has some of my favourite places to eat in all of London, possibly because of the familiarity to cafes back home in Australia. Serving up excellent coffee, delicious desserts, and amazing brunches, this little part of London is full of tasty eateries.
The Farm Girl Cafe
This is probably my favourite cafe in Notting Hill, offering some of the most scrumptious avocado toast and a truly delicious rose latte. Though it is set back in a little alley this seemingly obscure cafe is constantly crowded with wait times of course increasing on the weekends. However, I personally think that it is worth the wait.
The Hummingbird Cafe
You cannot come to Notting Hill and not stop by Hummingbird Cafe and located right in the centre of Portobello Road you will have no excuse not to go in. The cupcakes are absolutely incredible (rivaling the likes of New Yorks’ Magnolia Bakery, my favourite bakery in the entire world!), with the perfect ratio of cake to icing, and you cannot go past a slice of some of their famous cakes.
Book and Kitchen
Eat, drink, read, talk, is the motto here, so kick back and relax with a book and coffee and enjoy a lazy afternoon, or enjoy a few games of backgammon. This is a great social hub for a friends catch up or a quiet lunch, but also plays host to parties and events if you’re after a more eventful evening.
The Grain Shop
Perfect for those mid-afternoon cravings, this little shop offers some delicious and healthy alternatives to fast food. A completely vegetarian kiosk, you’ll be able to try a soy sausage roll or pie, or stock up on a container of fresh salads, potato’s, beans, spinach, anything warm and filling.
The Chipping Forecast
If you’re craving a more traditional English dish you can’t go wrong the classic fish and chips, and there is no better place to sample it than at The Chipping Forecast. Serving some of the freshest Cornish fish and chunky fries with some tasty gravy you are guaranteed one delicious lunch.
Now of course you can’t come to Notting Hill and not grab a bite to eat at its famous weekend market that has stalls running all up and down the street with food ranging from paella to falafel. Though if you’re visiting on a weekday you’ll be welcomed to fresh fruit and veg galore.
“Whoever said money can’t buy happiness, didn’t know where to go shopping” – Bo Derek. You cannot come to Notting Hill and not stop into one (or every) shop that lines Portobello Road and the streets leading off it. From nik nak stores to record stores Notting Hill has everything you have ever dreamed of.
An anything and everything store that has some of the sweetest and most unique antique finds. Visitors and locals alike can always count on Alice’s when they are in need of something weird and wacky, and the best thing is, they’ll ship to your home country so you don’t have to worry about carry it around for the entirety of your trip.
Banksy Unofficial Store
One of the most controversial and mysterious artists in the U.K. is Banksy, and with London full of his, her, or their artwork it is no surprise to find a store solely dedicated to Banksy pieces. Here you can buy coasters, t-shirts, mugs, as well as other trinkets with his art printed on them. All a perfect souvenir.
There is an abundance of vintage stores along Portobello Road and its side streets, that offer some truly great finds if you really dig. A lot of the things that you will find in these stores are one of a kind so there is something for every individual style. Make sure to spend a few hours rummaging around in some of the stores.
The Portobello Print and Map Store
I am obsessed with antique prints, so this store is like heaven for me. Showcasing maps of every country and continent on earth as well as prints of flowers, animals, and plants. You’ll also be able to find many gorgeous pictures of London from present day and the city in the past.
This is one of the most lively neighbourhoods in the city, so make sure to get into the spirit of things when visiting Notting Hill, and what is life without a little touristy fun? Notting Hill is full of movie locations, exciting festivals, and everyday sights that you have to check out when in this eclectic area of London.
The Blue Door
So for any of you movie Notting Hill fans out there, I’m sure your first stop will of course be the blue door from the film, and luckily enough it is not hard to find. Lying in wait just off Portobello Road you will stumble upon it at the address 280 Westbourne Park Road, where you can wait for Hugh Grant, I know I’m still secretly hoping he’ll turn up one day.
Unfortunately for fans of the movie, you cannot actually access the inside of these gardens, but if you want to re-enact the scene where Hugh Grant famously makes a fool of himself by trying to climb the fence, resulting in his falling and saying my favourite line of the film “whoopsy daisy,” you will be able to find Rosmead Gardens on Rosmead Road.
Love Actually House
Changing from one movie to another, we have yet another film location must see, the infamous house from Love Actually used in the scene where Mark professes his love for Juliet with handwritten signs. This house is too cute in reality and the street that it sits on (St Luke’s Mew) is probably the most picturesque street in all of Notting Hill.
You honestly cannot come to Notting Hill and not attend its legendary Portobello Markets. Hosted every day with the more popular ones occurring on Saturday when all the market stalls are out in full swing. If you dare face the crowds, wander along the road marvelling at beautiful antiques and intricate paintings, though you are sure to find nearly everything under the sun at these markets.
The Notting Hill Carnival
This popular event has been held every summer since 1966 and is an occasion not to be missed if in town. A cultural time filled with music and laughter, originally inspired by the Caribbean flair, and is celebrated with lots of colour and happiness. The Notting Hill Carnival takes over the streets and parades through as one of the most enjoyable events of the London summer calendar.