Notting Hill is a highly popular and affluent area in West London, situated in the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea. It’s very famous for its Portobello Road market, annual Notting Hill Carnival and for its ‘cool’ and cosmopolitan feel. Known for its high-end boutiques and famous shopping streets, it’s a must-visit for tourists and is one of the most sought-after places to live in the UK capital. The area has been eternalised thanks to the 1999 film Notting Hill, starring Julia Roberts and Hugh Grant.
A brief history
The area was quite run-down until the 1980s, which shows just how incredible its transformation has been! Since it was first developed in the 1829s, Notting Hill had an association with artists and alternative culture. The origin of the name is uncertain, an 1878 text, Old and New London, reports that the name derives from a manor in Kensington called “Knotting-Bernes”. The main landowner in Notting Hill was the Ladbroke family and from the 1820s, James Weller Ladbroke started to develop the Ladbroke Estate. He worked with the architect and surveyor Thomas Allason to turn the area into a fashionable suburb of the capital. Many of the streets bear the “Ladbroke” name, including “Ladbroke Grove” and “Ladbroke Square”. In the 1970s, Jimi Hendrix wrote Purple Haze in Westbourne Grove, which used to be a run-down and deprived area, but in the early 1990's it morphed into one of the most fashionable parts of town.
Notting Hill is well known for its white stucco villas, Victorian terraced houses and spacious flats, as well as contemporary, new apartments. There are also a multitude of period conversion flats. Popular with well-heeled families, successful professionals and students, W11 offers something for everyone!
Of course we’ve got to start with Portobello Road Market! Head here for everything, from antiques and vintage accessories to street food and fresh veg stalls. You can also check out the designer shops, such as the French boutique Aimé and Melissa Odabash, which sells luxury swimwear on Ledbury Road; as well as celeb-favourite The Merchant, which offers bargain priced brands.
Transport links are most convenient – the underground stations in the area include Notting Hill Gate; Holland Park; Bayswater; Queensway and Westbourne Park, which are all well connected. Train stations that are close include Shepherd's Bush Paddington Queen's Park Marylebone West Brompton.
Notting Hill is home to a number of garden squares and has the biggest private square in London, Ladbroke Garden Square. The beautiful and vast open spaces of Kensington Gardens and Hyde Park are also close by.
Notting Hill has some excellent schools. Private primary schools include: Chepstow House School and Southbank International, state schools include Coleville Hill School. When it comes to secondary schools, there’s Lansdowne College which is private and of course the well known Holland Park comprehensive school, which has an outstanding reputation.
Five things to watch out for!
1. The Lonsdale is a fabulous cocktail bar, well known for its lush drinks. You can also get cocktail master classes if you want to mix your own drinks at home...
2. The Travel Bookshop, known from the film Notting Hill, is worth checking out if you’re looking for some great travel locations and want to know more about them.
3. The Electric Cinema! The oldest surviving picture house, comfy sofas to view a range of cult films. There’s a great restaurant too.
4. The Ledbury is one of Notting Hill’s best restaurants and has gained many accolades including a second Michelin Star.
5. The Notting Hill Arts Club is an arts and music venue which holds club nights every evening. The range of events includes interactive crafts, to themed Soviet nights!
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