Hello, you lovely people! How are you doing? We are trying to fight off colds, so I can say that we are grumpy, with sore throats and running noses… This weather is crazy and I’m not feeling that summer is here! And next week is going to be crazy with engagements and… two (ahem) concerts that I won’t have time to properly breathe. However, I am still keeping our date here, so I can tell you about all the things I love in London and share all my experiences on the life here. If there is only one thing though that my fingers have been itching to write about, is my beloved Notting Hill and Portobello Market.
The first time I went there was when I was an intern at the Press Office in Holland Park. From there, after we left the office, we’d go to Notting Hill for a coffee or something to eat. We’d even go there for a cocktail/drink! It was our go-to place and I can tell you that I even tired of it! “Come on guys, again Notting Hill?” But for the purpose of this blog, let’s head (once more) to W11 and take a walk around the world-famous (I blame Hugh Grant for that!) market at Portobello Road. One can also find the bookshop (I will not tell you the street) that Hugh Grant was the owner of in the film. It will be one of the surprises of your walk there!
To start with, getting to Notting Hill is quite easy. You can get by the tube, as Central, District, Circle and Hammersmith lines all stop in the area, so you can easily reach the market within 5-10 minutes on foot. There are also buses, so I’d say it’s fairly easy to get there. As soon as you get off the station, there is really no need for a map, as you’ll see lots of people going there as well, especially on Saturdays. But as you walk towards the market, you’ll definitely notice the beautiful houses on each side of the road, and the little clothes shops. Small and big, independent or not, for every budget, these shops are full of clothes (and tourists when you come to think of it!) and are ideal for a little browse just before the market.
As you turn on to Portobello Road, you just want to see and feel everything at once! Smells and antiques and clothes (seriously the market is full of clothes and accessories!) dominate the street and the vendors are there to help you with everything you need. You will find spices and aromas from Spain, Italy and East Asia, wool hats and accessories, shoes, meat and fish, and these antiques that would probably make the people behind Antiques Roadshow very happy (or suspicious, who knows?) The Portobello Road Market is truly a heaven on earth and I am quite sure that you will end up buying something (hello, impulsive buyers!).
I remember during my first visit at the market I ended up with a nice, big portion of Spanish paella. I was with a former roommate at the time, who was indeed Spanish, and she was swearing up and down that this was one of the best paellas she had tried in London. For me, it was warm and tasty, so I didn’t have any complaints whatsoever! At that time, we also visited Garcia’s, a Spanish supermarket on Portobello Road, as she wanted some deli items from her country. If you are feeling it, you can also try ice-cream or waffles on the go, just so you can say that you have gorged with food!
Apart from food, and shopping, Notting Hill has some great places for dinner and drinks, such as E & O, or BBB (Beach Blanket Babylon), close to Westbourne Grove, or even the Electric Cinema, which is the perfect place for a date (hint, hint!). Day and night, Notting Hill is a must-see destination in London! I don’t know anyone who hasn’t come to London as a tourist and didn’t want to spend a weekend day there and with good cause! It is a lively spot in West London and I call myself lucky that at a point in my life, I was able to enjoy it to the fullest!
Try to visit it during any weekend and you will see what I am talking about. Colours and smells and people and languages all come together to give you really an idea of what London is really about! Love it or hate it, this is London at its best!
Till next time,