A walking tour in Notting Hill
It was a Saturday rainy morning, and the first time I ever visited Notting Hill, even though it was my 3rd time in London. I know, right? How have I missed it all my life? Watching the movie more times than I can count wasn’t enough for me, so now I wanted to make sure I was going to explore the so famous neighborhood, and arranged a tour well in advance.
We met Ashley, our guide from Discover Walks, around 10am in front of the Notting Hill Gate station, and he nicely apologized for the rain and invited us for tea/coffee before we started our tour. The rain and the wind were not enough threats for me, I was happy to finally explore this lovely area of London.
Ashley is a very funny guy and passionate about what he does, he knows a lot about Notting Hill and London in general. He told us the story of the neighborhood, gave us insider tips, and was very patient while I took pictures or wanted to take a closer look to the antiques at the Portobello Market. Visiting the district without him wouldn’t have been the same.
Notting Hill wasn’t always famous, the movie was the reason why it became so popular and expensive to live here. But this London district is also known for its annual carnival, which happens in August for 2 days since 1966, and for being home to the Portobello Road Market, dated back to the 19th century. So yes, there is much more to Notting Hill than the 1999 movie with Julia Roberts and Hugh Grant.
We started the walking tour at Notting Hill Gate and walked towards Kensington Park Rd. then turned right onto Chepstow Villas, then left onto Portobello Road, which we walked from the beginning to the end of the Market.
On the way I found antiques, a Paddington bear, mulled wine, clothes, an old Rolls-Royce for sale – anyone? – and the famous number 280 blue door of the Notting Hill movie (well, it’s not the original one anymore as it was sold and replaced, but still, the movie was actually filmed there).
I don’t know if my favourite part of the tour were the colourful houses, the antiques and the smell of food at the Portobello Market, the story behind it, our tour guide, or being able to still appreciate the tour under the rain. Actually I think it was all of it together. So, let me take you around Notting Hill in photos and show you what I have found at the market.
At the Market you can find basically everything, it is divided into different sections: mainly antiques, food and clothes. Saturday is a very busy day and I would love to come back someday when it’s less packed. Maybe on a weekday?
After walking the Portobello Market and returning, we finished the road then continued to Pembridge Road and back to where we started. On our way I couldn’t resist photographing the pretty houses and buildings; how not to fall in love with this place? This whole area is amazing, there are book shops, boutiques, colourful houses worth millions, narrow streets and restaurants.
We were very happy with our walking tour and guide, it was very relaxed at our own pace, and with lots of laugh involved. The rain ended up not being a threat, we managed just fine with umbrellas, but of course it meant more work when taking pictures. I do hope to come back and next time I will have more space on my luggage to take some antiques back with me.