Taste & See London // Notting Hill
Notting Hill is a bustling, cosmopolitan area located in West London (near the top left corner of Hyde Park/Kensington Gardens for anyone looking on a map). It has historically been associated with artists and 'alternative' culture, and although it was rather run down in the 1980s, the area is now known for being affluent (as evidenced by some of the fancy cars parked on the street). It is a rather fashionable place to live, with terraces of large Victorian houses with beautiful gardens, high-end shopping, and wonderful restaurants on almost every street corner. This quote describes the neighbourhood rather well:
Notting Hill Gate underground station has connections to the Circle, District, and Central tube lines, and is fairly accessible depending on where you live or are staying whilst in London. Other tube stations in the area include Holland Park, and Ladbroke Grove. There are also a number of bus lines that serve the area, and in fact, we chose to take a bus from Sloane Square to Notting Hill because it's a pretty cheap mode of transport here in the city. Once you arrive, it's wonderful to explore the area on foot - I'm pretty sure that we did about 28,000 steps on this day! Once again, City Mapper is a great app to have on your phone to help you find your way around London and navigate the different modes of public transport that are available.
Exploring the Area
As I've already mentioned, we enjoyed exploring Notting Hill on foot. After hopping off of the bus at Notting Hill Gate station, we walked up Kensington Park Road, past Ladbroke Square Garden, and left onto Kensington Park Gardens. There are some beautiful houses lining these streets, and we were lucky enough to enjoy the spring blossoms in their full glory. How beautiful! Once we reached St John's Church (on what I think was the top of the 'hill'), we headed off to find some of the filming locations for the film, Notting Hill. My mom is a big fan, so we managed to find one of the houses on Lansdowne Road and Rosmead Gardens, which can both be seen in the movie. Following that we turned right onto Elgin Crescent and walked to the famous Portobello Road. We arrived a bit late on a Thursday to experience the market, but I've visited the full market before and it's a must-see if you're in London. It gets pretty busy on a Saturday (open 9:00-19:00), but is worth a visit if you have some time.
Portobello Road Market
Next up, we found the Notting Hill Bookshop on Blenheim Crescent, which is just off Portobello Road. This independent bookshop is renowned for the 'Travel Book Department', made famous by Julia Roberts and Hugh Grant in the film Notting Hill. Needless to say, we weren't the only tourists taking photographs of the shop - it's a tourist magnet. Inside the shop, it's just like any other sweet local bookstore with wonderful titles, both new and old as well as other cool trinkets, children's toys, and cards.
The Notting Hill Bookshop
Website - http://www.thenottinghillbookshop.co.uk
Instagram - @nottinghillbookshop
Facebook - https://www.facebook.com/nottinghillbookshop
During the week, it's a great idea to check out some of the sweet local cafés in the area. My mom and I enjoyed lunch at The Dayrooms Café, which is an 'Aussie' eatery that provides delicious, seasonal food that is inspired by the food scene of Melbourne and the beautiful South Australian coast. The eatery itself is just beautiful. It is filled with light thanks to a few nice, big windows, and the decor is wonderful. There are a few stunning botanical prints on one of the main walls, which compliments the indoor plants that are dotted on each of the tables. All I can say here is #INTERIORGOALS! I ordered the Green Shakshuka with a yummy Passion Fruit JARR Kombucha. It was good, but I think that my mom hit the jackpot with her order of the Sticky Sesame Chicken Roll. I would highly recommend visiting this café if you ever find yourself in the area, but would make sure to either go during the week or early on a Saturday or Sunday (I remember trying to eat there on a Saturday once and it was absolutely packed).
The Dayrooms Café
Website - https://thedayroomscafe.com
Instagram - @thedayroomscafe
Facebook - https://www.facebook.com/thedayroomscafe/
Address - 212 Kensington Park Road, Notting Hill, London, W11 1NR
Notting Hill is conveniently located near enough to Kensington Gardens that you can either walk or take a short bus trip to the entrance near the Diana Memorial Playground. After our delicious lunch, we took advantage of the sunny weather which made it just perfect for a stroll through Kensington Gardens before we headed home. We walked down Broad Walk and enjoyed a close-up view of Kensington Palace in all its glory along with the statue of Queen Victoria and the Round Pond. I made sure to take my mom past the Albert Memorial and the Royal Albert Hall, which is definitely one of my favourite buildings in London.
So there it is, my very short guide to Notting Hill. I know that I probably haven't included a whole bunch of amazing sights, places to eat, and things to do in the area, but I hope that my little guide will help you navigate this beautiful area of London when you find yourself here in future.