Discover – Notting Hill
Since the 1999 release of the romcom Notting Hill, starring Hugh Grant and Julia Roberts, this area of west London has become popular with tourists and film fans alike. Believe it or not, though, this pretty location is not only about the The Notting Hill bookshop, where Hugh and Julia fell in love, and that iconic blue door – which, by the way, was removed and sold at auction at Christie’s. You’ll find plenty of other spots to make your Instagram feed pop.
One of Notting Hill’s distinctive features is the colourful pastel houses along Portobello Road – indeed, around almost any corner. These houses attract photographers from all over the world and have made Notting Hill a popular place. Want to know a little secret? There is a well-hidden road where you can see some of the prettiest houses in this area without the hustle and bustle. It’s opposite Notting Hill Gate station and it’s called Hillgate Place – we’re sure you will fall in love with it instantly.
Notting Hill has some of the cosiest and most picturesque cafés in London, making it perfect for tourists exploring the area and locals just looking for a nice cuppa. Farm Girl on Portobello Road serves delicious food and its rose latte is definitely a drink you should try. It’s a photoworthy double-shot latte of rose water infused with milk and rose petals. Also worth a mention is the popular Biscuiteers Icing Café on Kensington Park Road, where you can sit down and relax with a cappuccino and a selection of delicious cakes, biscuits and chocolates.
Portobello Road Market
This quirky market is, in fact, several markets in one. Saturday is the busiest day, when you can find more than 100 stands selling food, fashion accessories, household goods, vintage clothing and almost anything else you can think of. When you’re visiting the market, keep your eyes open for Alice’s, an eye-catching vintage shop that’s located right in the heart of the market. On a sunny day, there are also some talented and bizarre street performers to be spotted too, making the experience even more unique.
Some of the most interesting (and hidden) street art can be seen in Codrington Mews. They’re the home of record label XL Recordings, and the walls are covered with artwork from Thom Yorke’s The Eraser album, while the front features the art of The XX’s Coexist. The award for the prettiest mews goes to St Luke’s Mews, where many of the houses are pink. This is where Keira Knightley’s character lives in the film Love Actually – couples from all over the world come here to get engaged.
Notting Hill Carnival
One of the most exciting events is the annual Notting Hill Carnival at the end of August. It’s Europe’s biggest street party and fills west London with Caribbean colours, music and flavours. Watch floats and costumed performers dancing through the streets in the carnival parade, while stopping at the tempting food stalls dotted around.
For more info on London’s areas, go to www.visitlondon.com/areas