It’s been almost 20 years since a floppy-haired Hugh Grant and dazzling Julia Roberts put Notting Hill on the map, and the area has been going from strength to strength ever since. Nestled alongside Shepherd’s Bush and Kensington, Notting Hill has become one of the most desirable areas in London, known for its perfect blend of chic and bohemian living.
Aside from its leafy gardens and enviable Zone 1 location, we spoke with a local Notting Hill based estate agent to find out what it is that keeps drawing people to Notting Hill.
Foodies living near Notting Hill will find themselves spoilt for choice at every turn, with exquisite dining options serving all kinds of cuisine. From boutique cafés and coffee shops to Michelin-starred restaurants, there is truly something for every palette. For example, the traditional fish and chip shop Geales offers unequalled quality and has been serving chip-shop classics to locals for over 70 years. Dedicated gastronauts might prefer The Ledbury, which is considered to be one of the top 15 restaurants in the world, and holds 2 Michelin stars – although you will need to join their reservation waiting list before sampling one of their dishes.
Notting Hill Carnival
Over the August Bank Holiday, Notting Hill and Ladbroke Grove are flooded with around two million revellers enjoying the Notting Hill Carnival, which celebrates West Indian culture and the diversity of the local London area. It’s impossible to ignore, and the relaxed streets are suddenly transformed into an overflowing fiesta of steel drum bands and frenetic dancers in a 2-mile long parade.
While it may be overwhelming for some, many residents agree that is something magical about their neighbourhood becoming the racing heart of London for three solid days.
Do you love live music, or is rummaging through records more your bag? Is your passion for vintage threads, or do you crave the cutting-edge of style? Whatever your personal vibe, you won’t need to look far to find your groove in Notting Hill.
The historic Tabernacle is the go-to venue for music, art and dance events, while the collective of shops that make up the Music and Goods Exchange is the place to go for vintage clothing, jewellery, records, comics and more. Notting Hill residents are also treated to two independent film houses, plus the inimitable atmosphere of the Electric Cinema.
The buzzing local markets attract shoppers from all over London, the UK and the world – why not enjoy having it on your doorstep? On weekdays, you should make a trip to Portobello Road for the vibrant fruit and veg market, while on a Saturday you will find over 1000 vendors selling all kinds of antiques and vintage artefacts. Don’t miss the Hill Gate Village farmers’ market, also held on Saturdays.
Famous Faces and Famous Places
In case you needed any further proof of Notting Hill’s cool credentials, don’t forget that it’s one of London’s celebrity hubs. Notable residents include fashion designer Stella McCartney, supermodel Claudia Schiffer and Brit-Pop legend Damon Albarn, so you’ll be in excellent company as you peruse the record shops and cafés.
As you walk along Notting Hill’s picturesque lanes, absorb the quintessentially British architecture and look out for memorable locations from films such as Quadrophenia and The Italian Job. Oh, and of course, the iconic blue door on Westbourne Park Road, from the 1999 film, Notting Hill.
The Transport Links
Your closest tube station is Notting Hill Gate, which is actually positioned on the border of Zone 1 and Zone 2. It provides access to the Central, Circle and District lines, and it’s also only two stops south to Earl’s Court, where you can switch to the Piccadilly line, or two stops north to reach Paddington Station for the Bakerloo line and National Rail.
If you need to travel beyond the city limits then both the M40 and M4 are conveniently close, and Heathrow is accessible via the express train, which runs from Paddington.
Between the understated glamour and the exceptional amenities, it seems that the popularity of Notting Hill won’t be diminishing any time soon.