Notting Hill is one of London’s most affluent neighbourhoods in West London, located to the north of Kensington and west of Bayswater. Celebrated as a cosmopolitan and multicultural district, it’s equally famous for a certain desirable bookseller and an American actress. It has great links to the city, with Notting Hill Gate, Westbourne Park and Ladbroke Grove tube stations, and is a short walk away from Hyde Park and Kensington.
Notting Hill was a hamlet on rural land until the 19th century when urban London began to expand. The Ladbroke family were the landowners of the area. James Weller Ladbroke, with help from architect Thomas Allason, began developing streets and houses with a vision of a high-fashion suburb. During the Blitz, numerous townhouses in Notting Hill were destroyed and replaced with slums. It was then known as one of the worst places to live in London.
Unlike conditions in the 1940s, Notting Hill today is regarded as opulent, trendy and vibrant. With rows of beautiful pastel-coloured houses, you’ll never be short of a great photo opportunity. Check out the explosion of colour on Lancaster Road and admire the pastels on Chepstow Villas, not to mention the bright tones on Westbourne Grove. It comes as no surprise that Notting Hill is now considered the prettiest district in London.
There are so many hidden gems waiting to be discovered in Notting Hill, from a state-of-the-art luxury cinema to quirky bars hidden down obscure side streets. Built in 1887 as a church, The Tabernacle in Powis Square is one of the areas most loved venues. The Grade-II listed building with a picturesque courtyard features an indoor theatre and café, now serving as a charming art and entertainment venue.
Just a 3-minute walk from The Tabernacle is the beautifully vintage Electric Cinema. One of London’s oldest movie theatres has been restored and now thrives as a unique, luxurious viewing experience. With spacious armchairs, sofas and even double beds to enjoy in a deep red dreamy atmosphere, the whole cinema is designed with comfort in mind.
The last weekend of August hosts one of the district’s most exciting events. Starting on Great Western Road, the streets erupt into a huge Carribean party for the Notting Hill Carnival. As incredible floats and performers stun the crowd in the parade, join the party, dance to calypso music and strut to the steel band.
A special treat for fans of literature rests at the top end of Portobello Road. George Orwell lived there for a year and in that time dressed as a beggar to visit the slums as content for his political essays and novels. Look out for the blue plaque commemorating the author to identify his old place of residence.
Notting Hill’s biggest attraction, however, is the world-famous antique market. Stretching over two miles, The Portobello Road Market comprises of a variety of antique, food and fashion stalls and is open Monday-Saturday. There is always an energetic atmosphere to immerse yourself in, especially on Saturdays, where you’ll be sure to grab a bargain.
Once you’ve had a stroll around the picturesque streets of Notting hill, consider dropping into Aubaine for a delicious bite to eat.
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