Visiting Notting Hill is a must when you travel to London. Here is my guide of what to do in Notting Hill.
Notting Hill is just as whimsical as the film suggests. It is one of London’s most well known neighborhoods, and a popular destination for tourists. The pastel colored buildings and the flowers and greenery bursting out of every available space make you feel like you have fallen into a movie – it is a neighborhood that seems too pretty to be real.
The thing about the film Notting Hill is that it actually managed to capture the spirit of the neighborhood. Sure – it washes the touristy-ness out – but maybe that didn’t exist prior to the film. Whether you are a fan of the movie or not, here is a guide of what to do in Notting Hill:
What to Do in Notting Hill:
Portabello Road Market
The biggest attraction in Notting Hill is the Portabello Road Market, but even when the market isn’t taking place Notting Hill is a destination for shoppers. The market is open everyday but Sunday, and there are the most stalls on Saturday. (This photo isn’t actually of the street market, somehow I didn’t have a photo of that).
Admire the Pastel Colored Homes
There are a couple of streets that are particularly pretty. I do want to point out that the summertime is when some of these homes might be getting fresh paint, so expect a few to have some scaffolding.
Many of the side streets off of Portobello Road are lined with multicolored homes. Perhaps the most famous street is Lancaster Road where there are vibrantly colored homes between All Saints Road and Basing Street.
Browse the Antiques Shops
Alice’s is particularly wonderful. They have a bit of everything including a wide selection of teapots and other ceramics – you know, items that you actually be possible to bring home on an airplane.
Shop in the Clothing Boutiques
There are a few bigger name retailors, but most shops are small locally owned businesses which means that you can find things you can’t find anywhere else.
Visit the Bookshops
You rarely see bookshops in America, but Notting Hill as a few! One of the better ones is Lutyen Rubinstein.
Explore the Art Galleries
The can’t miss gallery is Graffik, which is where you can find works by the elusive Banksy and other urban artists.
The Museum of Brands, Packaging, and Advertising
I really enjoyed this small museum which is devoted to examining the marketing and advertising efforts behind everyday products. It’s the type of thing that you don’t really think about, but I was fascinated by seeing the evolution of the way products like laundry detergent, biscuits, and beer are packaged and marketed. It you are looking for a dose of nostalgia, this is the place for you.
Be sure to check out the lovely garden in the back of the museum. The museum does have a café and the garden would be a nice spot for a cup of tea.
There are two places that you can’t visit in Notting Hill.
The Travel Bookshop
The idea of a tiny bookshop devoted to selling travel books is just so charming. You want it to be real, but sadly, it isn’t. The shop that occupies that space is a tacky tourist shop that makes you wonder if a travel bookshop wouldn’t be more successful.
The Blue Door
Just like the travel bookshop, the blue door from the film isn’t real either. The door was actually actioned off at Christies. So save your time and don’t go looking for it, you won’t find it.
Where to Eat and Drink in Notting Hill
The Churchill Arms
This is a place that you must visit when you are in London. It’s spectacular decorations both inside and out are something to be admired in person.
In the back of The Churchill Arms you will find an excellent and affordable Thai restaurant. It is probably the most affordable meal that I had in London.
I suppose that this is technically in Kensington, but the nearest tube station is Notting Hill Gate so I think that justifies giving The Churchill Arms a spot on this list.
A pretty little shop that sells biscuits (Americans call them cookies). The lovingly decorated cookies would make a nice gift, and there are cookies to match the season and current events. For example, the shop had different types of World Cup cookies when I visited. Downstairs there is a classroom where you can learn to decorate cookies.
A low key spot for delicious French style roast chicken and side dishes. This is a great affordable dinner option.
Gail’s is part of a chain, but the baked goods are delicious and it is a bit of a local hangout. I had an order of scones with clotted cream and jam paired with a pot of tea. This location has outdoor seating too.
Notting Hill is an easy place to spend a leisurely day exploring. The neighborhood can give you a sense of living like a local in London.
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