Without a doubt one of the capital’s most glamorous, bohemian and creative neighbourhoods, Notting Hill is quite unlike any other part of the city. Of course, pretty much all of London is cosmopolitan and eclectic, but there’s still something about Notting Hill that gives it a style all of its own. For one thing, it’s extremely fashionable, yet it wears its credentials lightly, the atmosphere vibrant and inclusive.
Unsurprisingly, the area has a rich and varied history, and its inception dates back as far as the 13th century. By the 18th century, the area was known for its brick-making and pig-farming industries, then, as the years progressed, a local landowner began to expand his Notting Hill estate, intent on creating a suburb that would attract wealthy Londoners to the area. The district went on to become a favourite haunt for a number of artistic and cultural types, keen to find a place near the city to call home.
Here are our picks for just some of what’s on offer in this iconic location:
Portobello Road Market has come to define the weekend in Notting Hill, as the street is transformed into a bustling, thriving array of amazing street food stalls, antique dealers and purveyors of vintage fashion that are, quite simply, some of the best in the world. Then there are the books, music and artisan jewellery to name but a few of the treasures just waiting to be unearthed here. The trick, though, is to really take your time, drink in the atmosphere and wait to see what catches your eye…
One of the oldest cinemas in the UK, The Electric Cinema is a long-established meeting point, somewhere where the community comes together to, naturally enough, celebrate all things cinematic, but also to socialise and get dinner and drinks that are, frankly, of a pretty impressive standard. For special events, there are private screenings on offer, but the real thrill of the Electric is the nights spent with an audience of committed film fans for whom this is a genuine celebration. One of Notting Hill’s most iconic venues.
Cleary, Notting Hill Carnival needs no introduction. One of the world’s largest street festivals, it attracts over a million visitors each August for two days of music, partying and celebration. Among Britain’s most iconic events, it’s famous for its welcoming, joyous atmosphere. The music is great, the costumes are incredible and the food and refreshments are fantastic. Think coconut shell cocktails, jerk chicken and callaloo and saltfish dumplings, all set to a soundtrack of the finest dancehall, calypso and reggae from across the globe. Just a small taste of what awaits.
Running all the way across Notting Hill, Westbourne Grove has got everything on the one street: designer boutiques, upmarket lifestyle and gift shops, plus a range of excellent cafes and coffee shops, perfect for taking a break whilst you engage in some high-end retail therapy. The luxury brands on offer include Heidi Klein, Fiorentini + Baker and WtR. Having come to define the more upmarket side of Notting Hill, this is the perfect way to while away an afternoon. And if you’re in line for something sweet? Yogland Fit Frozen Dessert comes highly recommended.
Food for thought
Our guide to the best eating and drinking in Notting Hill:
Opened in 2019, Gold has quickly paved its way to culinary success. Featuring a fresh spin on classic European fare, the menu is divided into raw, cheese and charcuterie, salads, vegetables and plates. The idea is to mix, match and divide with your fellow diners, but unlike some sharing plates, the portions here are as generous as they are tasty.
Orsay’s focus is firmly on amazing fish and seafood, inspired by the Western Isles of Scotland, which its chef and owner Jason Boxer once called home. A relaxed, contemporary bistro, the dining room is intimate, and the dishes are seasonal, fresh and exquisitely crafted, amounting to a must-try for seafood lovers everywhere.
If it’s hearty, Italian food you’re after, Mediterraneo is about as traditional as it gets, with a dining room made up of rustic stone walls, an al-fresco option and a menu made up of freshly made pasta, traditional fish and meat dishes and, of course, an exemplary wine list. Lively and easy-going, this is comforting, classy and a real pleasure.
Created by world-renowned chef Endo Kazutoshi, Sumi’s menu is full of next-level Japanese dishes that combine the traditional with the innovative to impressive effect. Everything on offer here is of an extremely high standard, but the beef, vegetable or seafood Gohan is a real standout. A local favourite that’s really made its mark.
Notting Hill is well served by the Central, District and Circle lines. There is also a range of easily accessible walking, cycling and jogging routes that crisscross the area.
Business and Education
Some of Notting Hill’s prodigious colleges include The London College, Notting Hill College and Regent College London. Local businesses included software, finance and property, drawn by the district’s illustrious reputation.