London Notting Hill
303 Westbourne Grove
303 Westbourne Grove
The area’s appealing terraces of large Victorian townhouses, pretty gardens and fashionable shops and restaurants, along with the starring role it played in the film Notting Hill with Julia Roberts and Hugh Grant, have earned it a reputation as one of London’s most stylish and desirable neighbourhoods. Indeed many see Notting Hill as the ultimate urban idyll.
Home to the mile-long picturesque Portobello Road street market and the annual world-famous Notting Hill Carnival, the area enjoys an association with alternative culture and artists – it was a popular base for hippies and musicians in the sixties and seventies. The famous Notting Hill Carnival is Europe’s largest street festival with a Caribbean theme that sees West London transformed and packed with costumed performers, floats and bands. Calypso music and deliciously tempting food stalls turn the area into a huge party with a fantastic atmosphere.
There is no shortage of things to do and enjoy in buzzing Notting Hill. With three charming cinemas – the Coronet, which dates back to 1898, and the Electric, which has been restored to its historic 1910 grandeur, and the Gate cinema – Notting Hill offers much for the culture seeker. There is also The Gate theatre, loved for its intimate size and huge charm, and the fascinating Museum of Brands, Packaging and Advertising, which examines Britain’s consumer culture over the last few decades.
For those looking for some retail therapy, Westbourne Grove and Ledbury Road are crammed with interesting, independent shops and boutiques, selling high fashion, jewellery, art and homeware. Wander round the corner to Portobello Road for an entirely different shopping experience at the extensive antiques market, or relax in one of Notting Hill’s many cafés, bars and restaurants, spanning all manner of international and domestic cuisines.
Not only is there is so much going on in this exciting corner of West London, but the beautiful and well-used open spaces of Holland Park, Kensington Gardens and Hyde Park are also just a short stroll away, providing the ideal place to while away an afternoon escaping the hustle and bustle of the city.
The Notting Hill Carnival
As if the above wasn’t enough for you, Notting Hill is the proud home of Europe’s biggest street party. Every August, more than a million people descend on the streets for a weekend of parades, food, music and culture. The festival itself is a celebration of the vibrant Afro-Caribbean community and the abolition of slavery in the early 19th century, bringing together London’s cultural diversity into one energetic gathering. Visitors can expect fantastic food, sound stages around every corner, flamboyant costumes and one party they will never forget.
One of West London’s key shopping streets, Westbourne Grove runs east to west through Notting Hill and into Bayswater, crossing the famous Portobello Road. The street is lined with the area’s signature colourful buildings, housing many designer shops and boutiques as well as trendy bars and restaurants. Although the area has undergone comprehensive redevelopment over the past few years, and the old and traditional is being replaced with the new and modern, the area retains a unique feel, with a fantastic number of thriving independent businesses.
Home to the world famous market, Portobello road runs nearly the whole length of Notting Hill, from north to south. The market, which takes over the street every Saturday, with some stalls also open on Fridays, is the largest antiques market in the country and also sells food, flowers, new and vintage clothes and an eclectic mix of bric-a-brac. The beautiful colourful street has much more to offer besides, including the Electric Cinema; one of the country’s oldest cinemas, in a Grade II listed building.
Close to the heart of Notting Hill with all its vibrancy and amenities is one of the most desirable addresses in West London. The beautiful, tree-lined street is synonymous with impressively sized, elegant and luxurious homes, in varying pastel shades, and has long been one of the highly prized addresses in Notting Hill.
A popular residential street with the largest communal garden of the sixteen in the famous Ladbroke Estate, Ladbroke Square is one of the largest private gardens in London. It was originally the site of a racecourse, The Hippodrome, but has long since been an attractive and highly sought-after communal garden. Distinctive stucco and brick fronted townhouses line the gently curving street.
Schools in Notting hill are well renowned, including primary and prep options of a high standard.
The co-ed Norland Place School is very popular and oversubscribed; Notting Hill Prep is great for sport; and Bassett House School is non-selective but gets great academic results. Boys have the additional option of the Wetherby schools (pre-prep and prep); girls have the Pembridge Hall schools, known for having a ‘local’ feel.
Amongst state primaries, Avondale Park Primary School, Colville Primary School, Thomas Jones Primary School and Saint Francis of Assisi Catholic Primary School all get good reviews.
The mixed, inclusive Tabernacle is an independent Christian school for 3 to 16 year olds.
For a more comprehensive list of schools in the area we recommend the Good Schools Guide.
The nearest mainline stations are Marylebone and Paddington, running services to Reading and onwards to the West Country, the Cotswolds, the West Midlands and South Wales. Notting Hill is also close to the M40, M4 and M3, making it convenient for escapes to the country.
Notting Hill has excellent bus links, connecting with all corners of London. There is a wealth of routes taking residents to Central London and beyond to the City.
More than just a setting for the classic Romcom, Notting Hill has a whole lot going for it. From shopping and culture through to street parties and green spaces, this West London wonder never stops.