Most people associate the words ‘Notting Hill’ with the very popular film, which starred Hugh Grant and Julia Roberts. Few seem to realise that there is a neighbourhood in London, which gave the film its name and location. Notting Hill, located in West London, is one of the most popular and fashionable localities in Britain. Easily accessible from the centre of the town, this very trendy neighbourhood came into worldwide prominence when the film was shot here, and many of the street landmarks became a part of folklore. However, there is much more to this lovely part of London than just the movie location, and it offers the visitors and residents a surfeit of activities and attractions.
Notting Hill Carnival
Usually held during the last weekend of August, The Notting Hill Carnival derives its inspiration from the Caribbean and South American carnivals, and is a riotous blend of music, colour, and exuberance. The carnival today, which began in 1964, attracts revellers from all over the country, and celebrates the lives and culture of Afro-Caribbean community. Parades, floats, reggae music, calypso dancers and fabulous food are almost synonymous with the carnival.
Portobello Road Market
London’s most interesting street market springs to life on the Portobello Road on Saturdays. The largest antiques market in Europe is located here, and the shopper can buy almost any shopping item, ranging from memorabilia to furniture. There are many boutiques on this long road; however, the real attraction lies in the food and the vegetable stalls in the market. From exotic fruits to freshest home-grown products, there is an abundance of food of different kinds, representing several communities and cultures. The market bustles with visitors and shoppers every Saturday, who are usually looking for bargains and unusual items of all different kinds. As they move towards the Westway flyover, they shop predominantly look for trendy clothing designed by young designers.
Restaurants and Pubs
From a simple fish and chips place to a fancy restaurant serving the finest gourmet cuisine in the locality, Notting Hill has an immense variety of eating places and pubs for food lovers. Ranging from Jamie Oliver’s newly opened Recipease, where excellent ‘food-to-go’ items are sold to Chef Brett Graham’s superb restaurant ‘The Ledbury’, to the funky bar ‘The Lonsdale and Hummingbird Bakery’ for the finest cupcakes in London, there is something to enthral every visitor in Notting Hill.
Museums and Cinemas
The Museum of Brands, Packaging and Advertising celebrates British Consumerism spanning a time period of over 120 years. A time tunnel of clutter and collections, it shows a microcosm of British goods and advertising posters. This unique and quirky museum is a popular destination for visitors.
Within this small area of Notting Hill, there are several cinema halls for the movie aficionados and also the Notting Hills Art Club, which boasts of many celebrity visitors. Located within a basement, it has become renowned as a place for great music and graphic arts.
The article was written by Samantha Jordan. Samantha, 31, originally from Stockport, fell in love with London years ago and just bought a flat in Kensington next door to beautiful Notting Hill. Even though living in Kensington is fairly expensive, she adores the shops and restaurants, the people and the general vibe in central and north London.