Quick London Guides: Things to Do in Notting Hill

Quick London Guides: Things to Do in Notting Hill

by George Mouratidis
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When it comes to “Instagram glam,” few London districts can compete with Notting Hill. Although nobody knows how Notting Hill got its name, everyone knows about this area’s pretty pastel houses. From antique shopping and eclectic dining to fascinating museums and impressive bookshops, Notting Hill has plenty to offer the curious traveler.

Seven Spectacular Things To Do In Notting Hill

Even if you only have a few hours to spare, it’s well worth the effort to visit Notting Hill. Here are a few of the most impressive attractions you’ll find in this West London area.

1. Find Delightful Deals At The Portobello Road Market

Are you searching for a striking new suit? A handmade souvenir? Fresh local produce? Well, whatever you’re looking for, you’ll probably find it in the bustling Portobello Road Market (aka “the world’s largest antique market”).

In many ways, the Portobello Road Market defines the quirky character of Notting Hill. Even if you’re not interested in buying anything, we guarantee you’ll enjoy perusing and people-watching on Portobello.

Although the Portobello Road Market is open every weekday, the most popular day to visit is on Saturday. Be sure to arrive early in the morning to enjoy fewer crowds and a more extensive selection of goodies. Also, keep in mind that the Portobello Road Market is usually closed on Sundays.

2. Let Your Inner Bibliophile Burst Out

In case you haven’t already heard, Notting Hill has a “bookish” reputation—especially when it comes to travel books. If you don’t know what we’re talking about, then stop reading, grab a bowl of popcorn, and watch the 1999 hit Notting Hill.

Look familiar?

OK, now that you understand what we’re referencing, you’re probably wondering where the Travel Bookshop is. Well, there are two “Travel Bookshops” in Notting Hill. The building used in the Julia Roberts film is a touristy souvenir shop on 142 Portobello Road. The “authentic” Travel Bookshop (i.e., the one the film was based on) is now called Notting Hill Bookshop and can be found nearby on 13 Blenheim Crescent.

Although the Travel Bookshop steals the spotlight, it’s far from the only bookshop in Notting Hill. Indeed, there are dozens of big-name and independent bookshops well worth a visit. A few excellent independent bookshops that bibliophiles should visit include Lutyens & Rubinstein, Daunt Books, and South Kensington Books.

3. Feed Your Mind (And Tummy) At Books For Cooks

Picking up on the “book theme,” one of Notting Hill’s most unique bookshops is called Books For Cooks. As you might’ve already guessed, this Blenheim Crescent bookshop specializes in international cookbooks. But that’s not all. Books For Cooks doubles as a fun test kitchen where shop owners cook using their hundreds of books.

Keep a lookout for the dozens of cooking workshops and demonstrations that take place in this lovely bookshop. And don’t worry if your cooking skills aren’t up to Gordon Ramsay’s standards; the chefs here are way more forgiving.

Just be forewarned: this bookshop is rather tiny, and available spots could fill up months in advance. We strongly recommend visiting Books For Cooks’ website to make reservations.

4. Enjoy A Pint At The Colorful Churchill Arms

Churchill Arms is one pub you can’t miss on your tour of Notting Hill. No, seriously, cannot pass by Churchill Arms without stopping in your tracks.

Outside this Kensington Chruch Street pub, you’ll be treated to an awe-inspiring feat of flower arrangement. Once you walk inside, you’ll be greeted with hundreds of artifacts related to (you guessed it) Sir Winston Churchill. Although the former prime minister never visited Churchill Arms, bartenders are usually more than happy to tell you lovely lies about his wartime visits.

If you don’t fancy a pint, perhaps you’d prefer a plate of pad Thai. Yes, Churchill Arms boasts one of England’s oldest and most respected Thai restaurants. As a plus, this eatery has remarkable tropical plants to help transport you to the jungles of Southeast Asia.

The Churchill Arms in full bloom

By the way, if you happen to be in London during December, you must visit Churchill Arms after dusk. This historic pub has one of the most festive Christmas light displays in the British capital.

5. Celebrate Classical Music At The Clementi House

Across the street from Churchill Arms is a tiny house that played a significant role in music history. Classical music fans will definitely want to stop by the Muzio Clementi House while strolling along Kensington Church Street.

If you’ve taken piano lessons in your younger years, you should know a bit about the famed 18th-century Italian composer. Even if you do not know much about classical music, chances are you’ve heard a few tunes by other composers who visited the Clementi House (e.g., Chopin, Mendelssohn, and Rossini).

Be sure to book an appointment for a guided group tour to learn more about the fascinating stories in this famous residence.

6. See How People Shopped At The Museum Of Brands

Given Notting Hill’s reputation with antiquing, it’s no surprise that this London district houses one of the UK’s most significant collections of antique brands. The Museum of Brands has a remarkable collection chronicling the UK’s consumer culture from the Victorian Era to the present day.

From old toys and TVs to cereal boxes and royal tea tins, there are thousands of artifacts in this museum that are sure to grab your attention. Whether you’re taking a trip down memory lane or learning about an era before your time, a trip to the Museum of Brands is an unforgettable experience.

You’ll find the Museum of Brands at 111 – 117 Lancaster Road near the Ladbroke Grove Station. Typical museum hours are between 10 AM – 6 PM, and tickets usually cost £9 per adult and £5 per child.

7. Dance, Laugh, And Sing At The Notting Hill Carnival

If you’re fortunate enough to be in London at the end of August, then you might have the opportunity to take part in Notting Hill’s internationally-renowned Carnival. Inaugurated in 1966, the Notting Hill Carnival is a colorful celebration of the district’s African-Caribbean community. Every year, millions of people visit Notting Hill to see the magnificent Carnival costumes, taste remarkable cuisine, and enjoy upbeat live music.

Carnival parades

The Notting Hill Carnival always takes place over two days and begins on the Sunday before the Late Summer Bank Holiday. Typically, the more family-friendly events take place on Sunday, and the main parade kicks-off on Monday.

How To Get To Notting Hill

Notting Hill is in West London about two miles northwest of Kensington Garden. If you’re traveling by the London Tube, the Notting Hill Gate Station is connected to the Central, Circle, and District lines. You could also get off at the Ladbroke Grove Station, which is on the Circle and Hammersmith & City lines.

Leave Your Luggage With Stasher Before Visiting Notting Hill

Don’t let your luggage hold you back from exploring all that Notting Hill has to offer. Stasher offers a plethora of safe and convenient luggage storage destinations all over the British capital. Please feel free to search our website for your optimal London storage location.

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