One of the most sought after property locations in London, Notting Hill blends culture with class and peace with excitement.
Notting Hill is one of the must see areas of London. With its mix of trendy culture, bohemian cafes and historical resonance, the area is popular with both tourists and locals. With so many boutique hotels in Notting Hill, it’s not surprising that so many people are seeking the high life in the area. With films such as Notting Hill bringing a certain amount of classic British charm through the screen to the wider world, channelled through a certain grinning actor, you can see why people flock to the area. The area is surrounded by glamour and nostalgia, and even walking the streets, makes it easy to see this. Whether you’re looking for an afternoon out or a week in luxurious Bayswater London Accommodation, the Notting Hill area will no doubt satisfy. So what makes Notting Hill such an attractive London destination for countless tourists?
History of Notting Hill
Notting Hill has records going back as far as the 1300’s and was initially part of the Parish of Paddington. It was only in the 19th century that the area began to gain its own distinct personality as Pottery Lane became a brick making district, attracting workers into the area. On top of this, the area was brought to wider attention by the arrival of pig farmers. By the end of the 19th century the once rural area had begun to expand as developers and land owners reach began to touch on to what is now Bayswater. It was the work of a Thomas Allason, an architect who worked alongside the wealthy Ladbroke family (whose name lends itself to Ladbroke Grove), which brought the area of Notting Hill into the public eye as a fashionable destination for living and visiting. The area continued to grow, especially for wealthy residents who saw the “paddocks” and pleasure gardens”, private communal gardens for locals as a great reason to invest in property there. The pre-war and post-war era saw the area fall out of fashion and become known for its slums and extreme poverty. Only with the help of the National Housing Trust through the 60’s and 70’s was this poverty alleviated from the area and replaced with a vibrant community of Caribbean, Portuguese and Moroccan expats. It was around this time that the Notting Hill Carnival became popular and as the area was built up again in the 80’s and 90’s, there was a surge in popularity which continues into the present day.
Things to do in Notting Hill
So you’ve dropped off your bags at your Bayswater hotel and now you fancy a day out in Notting Hill. The area is already teeming with life and there’s way too much on offer. Whatever you’re looking for in your day out, Notting Hill has it all and more. That’s why we’ve compiled a list of some of our favourite things to do in Notting Hill and whilst there is plenty more in the area these have our seal of approval for all year round satisfaction, whatever the weather and mood.
As one of the oldest working cinema in the country, the Electric Cinema in Notting Hill was the first cinema designed specifically to show movies. With a counterpart in Birmingham, this cinema was designed in the Edwardian Baroque style as can be seen by the lavish interior. To this day it retains much of its original charm is a great cinema where you can catch both independent and international films as well as the biggest new blockbuster releases. Dating back to the year 1910, the Electric Cinema has survived through two world wars and has almost always been in continuous use.
Portobello Market is one of the most popular markets in the city. In its early days it was much like many of the other markets in London, selling a range of homeware and market stall food. Only after the appearance of rag and bone men, independent London street traders, in the 1940’s, who began to sell a more diverse range of goods, did the market begin to increase in popularity. The rag and bone men began to specialise in antiques and bric-a-brac. This tradition has carried on and visitors can now find five sections to the market. Tourists looking to navigate round the mile long Portobello Road stretch will be able to find specific sections focussing on second hand goods, clothing and fashion, household essentials, food and antiques. Due to its trendy neighbourhood and beautiful multi-coloured houses, the area has become a prime spot for both locals and tourists. Whether it’s some beautiful vintage jewellery or the best in second hand clothes fashion, the area is great for anyone looking for a breath of fresh air in their street market shopping experience.
Notting Hill Carnival
Celebrating the vibrant afro-Caribbean community of Notting Hill, the Carnival is an annual event which celebrates much of Black British culture on the bank holiday weekend of August. If you happen to be staying in Notting Hill over August, you will be wowed by the incredible amount of live music, carnival parades and special events taking place across Notting Hill. Not only is the music great, reflecting the best in dance hall, electronic and hip hop, but the celebration of Notting Hill’s diversity is on full display. Whether you opt for the wealth of free events or for the ticketed festival stages, you’ll find something to cater for all ages. Dating bac to the 1960’s the festival has been led by the West Indian community of West London and since 2006, has been part of the list of English icons. This event is not only celebrated by the local community, but by the national community, hundreds of thousands flocking to the area every year to celebrate and dance the weekend away.
As one of the top art galleries in West London, this gallery explores the cutting edge and the most contemporary of art out there. With prints from the likes of Banksy, the urban art genre has found a home in the Graffik Gallery in Notting Hill. Whether you’re an art aficionado or just looking for a taste of the British art scene on your trip, take a browse of what the Graffik Gallery has to offer. With works by Dotmaster, Alec Monopoly and many others, you can find the most bold, political and innovative artists displaying their works here. On top of this, the Graffik art gallery is open to private viewings if you are looking to get your work displayed somewhere and can even take part in workshops focussing on street art and graffiti, giving visitors a chance to explore the culture and politics behind graffiti.
The Gate Theatre
Since 1979, the Gate Theatre has sat above the Prince Albert Pub in Notting Hill and continues to show the most cutting edge and exciting new theatre in the city. In this 75 seat venue, the gate theatre tackles the social and political questions of the modern day, whilst also allowing a safe space for theatre makers to go and nurture their talent. Whether looking for an educational workshop, a safe space to try out and workshop some new writing or just for a great thought provoking evening out, the Gate Theatre is the perfect theatre for a thriving and intelligent West London
Rough Trade west is based just off Portobello road and is the shop branch of one of the most famous independent record labels in the world. With the West London branch dating back to the late 70’s, the shop plays host to countless gigs from the best in new music as well as selling both old and new records and literature, with a lean towards the punk and DIY movements. With so much on offer, this is a music lover’s paradise, often playing host to free gigs and signings from many famous musicians. With the likes of Sonic Youth and Adele having once worked in – or for – the shops, the Rough Trade store in West London acts as a who’s who walk of fame for rock and roll. Whether you’re into rock, hip hop or pop, there’s always something for you at the Rough Trade shop and if music isn’t your thing then it’s a great place to find a souvenir for a loved one!
With a vow to “serve more veg and better meat,” The Shed in Notting Hill is one of the most popular restaurants in the area. A must for any hungry tourist foodie, the Shed is part of the Sustainable Restaurant Association and finds its menu changing with the seasons in both a traditional English and experimental way. With locally sourced produce from farms in the Sussex countryside, the restaurant prides itself on being environmentally friendly and sustainable, making the delicious food even more guilt free. Whatever your tastes, visiting London means visiting somewhere you can truly taste British cuisine.
Biscuiteers Boutique & Icing Café
Looking to satisfy you sweet tooth in Noting Hill? Our favourite cake and biscuit shop Biscuiteers Boutique and Icing Café is a one stop shop to sweet flavoured paradise. Whether you’re looking for a cake for a loved one or a quick nibble before work, this cute Notting Hill café is one to beat the sugar rush to. With so much on offer including icing decoration lessons and a wide range of personalised cakes made just for you, a pick me up at the Biscuiteers Boutique will be the perfect start to a day out in Notting Hill.
Lutyens & Rubinstein Bookshop
This book shop was founded in 2009 by two literary agents, so you know you’re in the hands of experts. Whether you’re looking for a pick me up crime thriller or your child’s first book, the Notting Hill based Lutyens & Rubinstein reignites the romantic image of Notting Hill as at the forefront of quality bookshops. That being said Lutyens and Rubinstein are just the tip of the iceberg, there’s a whole range of second hand and antique book shops dotted around the Noting Hill area, each more fascinating than the last. Whether you’re looking for a valuable hidden gem or a preowned paperback, Noting Hill is the bookworm capital.
St Luke’s Mews
Having shot to fame due to Keira Knightley’s character in Love Actually living there, St Lukes Mews is just one of many cute mews spread across the Notting Hill area. What makes this one stand out is the beautiful multi-coloured Terraced houses as well as the quaint cobbled streets that truly ooze originality. Whatever you’re doing in Notting Hill, make sure you take a walk down St Luke’s Mews to really see how it should be done. On top of this, St Lukes Mews is one of the most romantic spots in West London, the mews being the spot where many romantic proposals have taken place. Certainly a street then, to keep in mind if you’re on a romantic trip with your partner!
Westbourne Grove is an up and coming high street in Notting Hill. The area is home to both independent shops and chain shops, giving a great mix of the independent and the branded. The street runs through Kensington Notting Hill and Chelsea and has a history dating back to the 1840’s.
Notting Hill Arts Club
The Notting Hill Arts Club is one of the trendiest clubs in the city, with a wide range of events ranging from live to DJ to private hires. Here you can find some of the best new acts in West London and a day time bar where you can sample some of the tastiest cocktails concocted by professional mixologists. If you’re staying the weekend in Notting Hill and are looking for the best in new music then you can’t go wrong with a night out at the Notting Hill Arts Club, rubbing shoulders with some of the hottest celebrities out there.