Village London: Notting Hill and Holland Park

LONDON, UNITED KINGDOM - OCTOBER 27: People in Portobello Road, a famous market area in Notthing Hill district on October 27, 2013 in London, United Kingdom.

West London encompasses some of the most attractive and desirable real estate in London. Hyper-gentrified Notting Hill, to the west of central London, is where the bourgeois splendour of Georgian stucco villas meets the bohemian chic of one of the best antiques markets in the city at Portobello Road. This famous road is built on the site of a pig farm named for an English victory over Spain at Porto Bello in the Gulf of Mexico in 1739. The green oasis of Holland Park nearby provides peaceful relief from the lively shoppers. 

Tube stops: Ladbroke Grove (Circle, and Hammersmith & City lines), Notting Hill Gate (Central, District. and Circle lines), Holland Park (Central line)


Melting pots and markets at Notting Hill

Walking around Notting Hill with its chichi shops, cool bars and trendy, well-heeled residents, you would never guess that, as recently as the 1960s, this was one of London’s most poverty-stricken areas. Or that, in the 1950s it gave rise to Britain’s first race riots when white Teddy boys clashed with incoming Caribbean residents. That is all in the past, although the Caribbean tradition is still proudly celebrated annually with the Notting Hill Carnival (last weekend in August).

The two biggest attractions are Portobello Road (www.portobelloroad.co.uk) and Holland Park. The former bursts into life as an antiques market on Saturday (8am–6pm), but week-round has many fantastic little antique shops and boutiques for vintage (and vintage-inspired) clothes such as Mensah (291). There are also some great cafés, including Café Garcia (246) where the gazpacho is as good as any you’ll find in Spain. Be sure to wander down All Saints Road for offbeat shops and the organic pub, The Pelican (45). 

The Museum of Brands, Packaging and Advertising (2 Colville Mews, Lonsdale Rd; www.museumofbrands.com) is a fascinating small museum devoted to social ephemera where you can take a trip down memory lane and reconnect with all the long-forgotten packaging of your favourite childhood treats.

 

Holland Park

Holland Park is a grand oasis of green space where you really feel you are in the countryside. At its southern end, the Leighton House Museum (12 Holland Park Rd; www.rbkc.gov.uk) is a must for anyone interested in Victorian art, while the Orangery Gallery and tea rooms are a must for anyone interested in a good cup of tea in a beautiful setting.

 

For more information about what's on in Notting HIll, go to www.notting-hill.org.