Notting Hill is one of the most photogenic and storied neighbourhoods in London. If you’re looking for things to do in Notting Hill, I’ve rounded up the best shopping, colourful houses and eateries in the area.
Getting to Notting Hill: Transport Tips
Before you embark on a visit to Notting Hill, there are numerous ways to visit. You can take the underground to Notting Hill Gate Station, which is convenient and serviced by the Central, District and Circle lines, but a decent 5-10 minute walk to the heart of the action. My preferred choice (especially if you’re staying in Kensington or coming from Harrods) is to take a double decker bus. We specifically took the 328 from our hotel in Kensington, and it was a lovely way to see the City! Buses are also cheaper than the tube, so if you’re close by and it’s convenient, it would be preferable. Specifically, we got off at Chepstow Crescent, and were only a few minutes from Westbourne Grove and the main high-end shopping strip.
Another option is to take a cab or ride share, which allows you to see the neighbourhoods and spot any potential photo opps!
Where to stay in Notting Hill
On my first ever visit to London, I stayed with Nicole at her flat located in the heart of Notting Hill. I had a chance to get to know the area and explore, as well as catch the Portobello Road Market early on a Saturday. If Notting Hill is a priority for you, I would highly recommend living like a local and renting an AirBnB (get $62 off your first stay by clicking here).
Alternatively, you can stay at a hotel in Kensington, which is a short 15-minute bus ride away. I highly recommend Hotel Xenia, an Autograph Collection hotel, which was so charming, while the Marriott Kensington is larger and well-appointed. This area is in great proximity to both Notting Hill, Kensington Palace, Harrods and the V&A and Natural History Museums.
Places to eat in Notting Hill
Notting Hill is home to some incredible culinary destinations. If you’re wondering where to eat in Notting Hill, you can find something for anyone, be it a Michelin star meal or a cozy pub. The best restaurants in Notting Hill include Michelin star restaurants like the Ledbury, where you can enjoy white glove service and 2 Michelin Star cuisine. The four-course dinner tasting menu costs £135, but they also offer a vegetarian tasting menu, which may be a unique experience for our veg friends.
Another high-end option for places to eat in Notting Hill is Core by Clare Smyth, which features sustainable, local French cuisine and holds the #4 position on TripAdvisor for the top restaurant and 2 Michelin stars as well. Chef Smyth has received numerous awards as a female chef, including the first and only female chef to run a restaurant with three Michelin-stars in the UK, which is pretty neat for a male-dominated industry. The Core Classics tasting menu will set you back £125 with an extra £105 for the wine pairings. There’s also an à la carte option with a £95 dinner and £75 lunch.
If you have a pizza craving, Farina Pizzeria offers Neopolitan-style pies and gluten-free dough.
Another infamous eatery frequently featured in the reality TV show, Made in Chelsea, is Beach Blanket Babylon. With a charming patio and killer cocktails, it’s more of a touristy “be seen” place on this list.
On my last night in London, I ate at the Mall Tavern, a cozy bar with a delicious, affordable menu. I had a grilled sea bream which was delicious, gluten-free and only £16. Another great option in the area is the Cock & Bottle for a typical English Sunday roast.
Top 10 Things to do in Notting Hill
10. Upscale Shopping in Notting Hill: Westbourne Grove
Notting Hill is a wonderful destination for shopping both vintage and high-end. Westbourne Grove is home to some beautiful shops, including the Parisian brand, Sézane, Goop, Reformation and AllSaints. We visited on a Sunday morning, so fortunately for my wallet, we only enjoyed window shopping.
Across from Sézane, at the triangle on Colville Road is the most charming flower shop, Nikki Tibles Wild at Heart, complete with an Instagrammable neon sign. This is a more unique Notting Hill instagram spot and is definitely worth stopping for a few photos.
For our visit to Notting Hill, I wore a Ted Baker dress (similar style available here), a Kate Spade Nikola bag in Tawny, and La Canadienne Jojo boots.
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9. Best Colourful Houses in Notting Hill
Notting Hill is instafamous for its pastel colourful houses. Last summer, it was as if every blogger booked an EasyJet flight to London, just to take photos in front of these photogenic pastel townhouses. One tip if you’re trying to take photos of the houses – stay off the stairs and stoops. These are people’s homes, and you’ll get a better shot if you shoot from a low angle or uphill with the houses in the back.
Some of the best colourful houses are located all over Notting Hill, on Lancaster Road, Chepstow Villas, and Lonsdale Road. There’s also a hidden gem behind the Notting Hill Tube station – Hillgate Place, which is less busy and very colourful! My ultimate favourites are the Colville Houses across from Colville Square where yellow, blue and pink houses with fresh paint make for the most perfect pastel backdrop.
8. St. Luke’s Mews – Love Actually Pink House
While these are technically colourful houses in Notting Hill, the mews houses in the Notting Hill area are so charming. Make sure to visit St. Luke’s Mews to get a photo with the pink house, which appeared in the movie, Love Actually. There’s a cute bike out front of the Love Actually house in Notting Hill, but make sure to donate 50 pence or a pound to their charity box!
When we visited St. Luke’s Mews that Sunday, there were dozens of fellow Instagrammers and even a baby carriage professional photo shoot going on! While the neighbourhood is photogenic, please try to donate to their charity box, so you get a bit of good karma in exchange for the gram.
There’s also an adorable mint-hued garage across from the Love Actually house, which is equally photogenic.
7. Portobello Road Market
Portobello Road in Notting Hill is one of the most famous streets and markets in the City. We visited on a Sunday this year, so sadly, we missed out on the vintage clothing, antiques and bric-à-brac. There are still shops lining the main road selling these items on an off day, albeit a bit more tourist oriented. The Notting Hill Market hours are typically from 10-3 pm ideally on a Saturday. I recommend visiting earlier before the noon hour crowds and to have your first pick!
On my last trip to London in September 2016, I visited Portobello Road Market on a Saturday and it is easily one of the top things to do in Notting Hill. I found so many treasures, including a vintage teacup, a vintage brass telescope, an old poster, Made in Scotland plaid wool scarves and even some serious vintage fashion finds! My friend Natasha almost bought a first edition Harry Potter book too, so there’s something for everyone.
6. Best Bakeries in Notting Hill – Fabrique & Biscuiteers
Beyond the shopping in Notting Hill, there are so many beautiful baked goods to be had in this area. Sadly, I didn’t go hunting for any of the gluten-free variety, but my friends indulged in beautiful Scandinavian-style cinnamon buns and saffron buns at Fabrique Bakery, located on 212 Portobello Road. In case you fall in love with them, they also have a Covent Garden location to satisfy your sweet tooth.
While I didn’t make it to Biscuiteers Boutique & Icing Cafe Notting Hill, they were voted as one of Vogue’s Most Instagrammable Places in London. To be honest, I’m kind of kicking myself for missing this spot because they even stock gluten-free biscuits! With colourful cookies and an adorable shop facade, this biscuit shop is not to be missed. Trust me, I have major FOMO.
5. Visit the Churchill Arms Pub for a pint and photos
Even if the name doesn’t ring a bell, The Churchill Arms pub is famous for its beautiful flower displays all over Instagram. During the Holiday season, the Churchill Arms Pub in Notting Hill had whimsical Christmas Trees and Lights, covering every inch of this award-winning watering hole. Stop in for a pint or get there early to get a seat in their Thai restaurant. It’s shoulder to shoulder most nights, but apparently their food is worth it! I loved all the decor inside and would love to come back in Spring when the Churchill Arms is covered in whimsical flowers.
4. Catch a film at the Electric Cinema
If you’re not into shopping and wondering what to do in Notting Hill, the Electric Cinema is definitely an option. With a revolving programme of both new releases and classics, this historical theatre will bring you back to the golden age of cinema! I haven’t had a chance yet to see a movie here, but on my last visit, they let me peek inside. The theatre is gorgeous with plush seating and dining, and it would be the perfect date night!
3. Explore Notting Hill’s Music History
I stumbled upon Notting Hill’s reggae roots by accident. We walked by the former Island Records studio, located on Basing Street W11, where Bob Marley recorded Catch a Fire and Exodus, while also living at the apartment upstairs. I started to notice more reggae records shops, and later learned that the recording studio is now home to SARM Studios. Many famous musician’s have recorded at this studio, which was converted from a church, including Madonna, the Eagles and the Rolling Stones. Even Led Zeppelin’s Aqualung and Queen’s hit song “We Are the Champions” were recorded in this studio! It’s incredible that this music institution is still in use today, and a true piece of legendary music history.
2. The Notting Hill Bookshop
Notting Hill has some incredible book stores and vintage sellers at the Portobello Road Market, however one must see is the Notting Hill Bookstore. This charming shop was the inspiration behind a scene in the 1990s romantic comedy, Notting Hill. Expect to find a wide range of titles from travel books (which the store used to sell exclusively), children’s books and special gifting editions of your favourites.
1. Experience Notting Hill Carnival in August
If you’re lucky enough to be in London in August during the Bank Holiday weekend, you can enjoy a marvellous street carnival filled with dancers, floats music and food.
Photos of me by Nicole Clark. Thank you to Ted Baker and La Canadienne for gifting me with these items.
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