You might recognize the title from a film called Notting Hill starring Hugh Grant and Julia Roberts. Yes, this film was made in the area Notting Hill and yes, the famous bookshop is still there and yes, you can barely make a proper picture of it as there are always people posing in front of it. Apart from this, Notting Hill offers a lot more. The subtitle of this article refers to the expression ‘Nothing comes from nothing’, which means if you don’t do something, nothing will happen. So, I’ll help you to get your ass off the couch and, well, do something. Welcome to Notting Hill.
First of all, if you want to escape the busy city centre of London (admittedly, London can be exhausting) then this is a more quiet part, or let’s say there’s a pleasant liveliness, located in West London.
There is one high street you might have heard of, namely Portobello Road. It’s a long road with little shops selling clothing, vintage and particularly antiques. Those stores are very special and unique each in their own way. No big brands here, just small boutiques looking colorful on the outside.
Every Friday and Saturday Portobello Market pops up in this street. The usual selling is now added with fresh fruit and vegetables, CDs, art and much more. Obviously it’s more crowded these days.
If you like it busy then come during the Notting Hill Carnival, which takes place in August, and get involved in the vibrant street festival.
Walking straight through Portobello Road all the way to the end of the street (I challenge you to go that far, it’s a long walk), you will pass a blue facade you can’t miss. I’m talking here about Pizza East: a lovely restaurant on the corner of Portobello Road and Golborne Road. With all its windows open it invites you to walk in. It has a likeable interior with wooden tables and light blue chairs. No similarities with a typical fast-food chain, this one is different with its quality dishes. You’ll notice mainly locals come here, which is a good sign to me.
After lunch at Pizza East you should stroll through Golborne Road. Some nice places to go are: Ollie & Bow for exclusive house decoration and Kokon To Zai for fashion. Also, take a look at the Victorian houses in the streets around the main road. This is your chance to use the famous Boris Bike (named after the mayor of London Boris Johnson) and cycle around, because you probably won’t die as it’s easier to handle the traffic here. When you decide you’ve burned enough calories, go pay a visit to the Hummingbird Bakery and try one of the delicious cupcakes or brownies.
Girls, open your eyes while walking or cycling around: David Beckham lives in this area. And boys, this means Victoria (a.k.a. Posh) also lives here, as many other celebrities.
Talking about public figures, Jamie Oliver is a well-known cook in and outside the UK and owns the brand ‘Recipease’. When wandering around in Notting Hill you will definitely pass by one of this massive cooking centres, where it’s all about food. I can’t call it a shop as there is much more to join. Not only can you buy quality food, you can also have breakfast or lunch (or brunch) and take cooking classes to learn how to prepare it yourself. And on top of that you can even organize a party here.
If you feel like you haven’t bought enough then go to the up-and-coming shopping area Westbourne Grove. Here you find it all: fashion designers, art galleries, florists, luxurious shoe shops, jewelers…
By the end of the day there won’t be much money left in your pocket, I promise.
- Written by our guest blogger Fien Dehaen