Notting Hill is a fascinating area in West London full of contrasts with an incredible vibe especially during Saturdays when the markets are most busy. Recognisable by its beautiful colourful Victorian townhouses, Notting Hill is on top of most London bucket lists.
Portobello Road Market – Notting Hill’s Darling
The Portobello Road Market is located in the Notting Hill area of West London. Portobello Road runs almost the whole length of Notting Hill, and the market has been here since the 19th century. In those days it mainly sold fresh foods to the people who lived nearby.
In the 1960s, antiques dealers joined the market and since then it has grown to be an internationally renowned market for antiques and collectibles. These days people flock to the market for just about everything; the big market day here is Saturday and serious shoppers are advised to get there by 8:00 or 9:00 AM to beat the crowds and most vendors pack up by about 4:00 PM.
Portobello Road can be divided into several distinct sections. Starting from the southern end, the antiques market runs from where Chepstow Villas cross the road to Elgin Crescent. The fruit and vegetable and other food stalls start here and continue to Talbot Road.
At this point the market tends towards stalls carrying typical new market goods such as packs of socks, batteries, and other swag, and this carries on until the Westway. Here you will find the fashion market where young designers looking to get their designs in the public eye set out what’s new and cutting edge in street couture.
From the Westway on to Golborne Road, you will find vendors selling mostly secondhand goods. The items here are affordable and cater largely to the less than wealthy locals in the area, but determined shoppers can often stumble across something quite special here.
10 Notting Hill Highlights
- Experience the market vibe on Saturdays
- Take a picture in front of the flowered-covered pub Churchill Arms
- See Hugh Grant’s house from the 1999 movie at 280 Westbourne Park
- Check out the colourful pastel houses in streets like Lancaster Road for great photo locations
- Visit the fairytale looking Biscuiteers Boutique & Icing Café
- If you’re a gin lover, visit the Portobello Road Gin distillery
- Visit the Notting Hill Carnival during August
- Find a second hand gem at Portobello Road Market
- Check out Electric Cinema for a cool movie experience
- Make a visit to the unique antique shop Alice’s at 86 Portobello Road
Portobello Road Market i films and books
Notting Hill’s Portobello Road Market has been featured in many films and books, including the 1971 musical film, Bedknobs and Broomsticks. The lyrics refer to the market and the people who live and work there. The popular children’s literature character Paddington Bear, in books by Michael Bond, enjoys visiting Portobello Market on a daily basis, and he is friends with an antique shop owner on Portobello Road.
The board game Portobello Market is named after this market, and the game show Bargain Hunt regularly features contestants buying items at the market to later sell at auction.
The film “Notting Hill” featured Portobello Road Market quite prominently, which has certainly added to its cachet with tourists and film buffs alike.
Notting Hill Carnival
Originally set up by members of the West Indian community, The Notting Hill Carnival started in 1965 and since then it has grown so much that today is the World’s second-largest street festival. Of course, music is the soul of the Festival and you will be entertained with an eclectic mix of Soca, Funk, Reggae, Dub, Steel Bands, Calypso filling the air of any place in the district! Most of the music is played on live stages with the great participation of local bands and international artists and musicians!
It is split over the Sunday and Monday Bank Holiday and Sunday’s Carnival is also known as “Children’s Day” and has a far greater emphasis on family. But there are loads of kids on both days enjoying the bright colours of the floats and the dancers’ feathered costumes. Remember earmuffs for kids as the music gets very loud, and better head home with the little ones before the party takes completely off in the evening.
The epicentre of the 2-days Carnival is the Parade with groups from all around the world showing off their fantastic costumes and performing along the 3-miles long route through Notting Hill’s major streets. The procession route is along Great Western Road, Chepstow Road, Westbourne Grove and Ladbroke Grove. There will be plenty of occasions to get a real taste of what the Caribbean is…from music to dances, costumes and food! Try the delicacies on the stalls that literally pave the streets.