This iconic neighborhood has become worldwide popular from the memorable romcom attracted hundreds of people to find the William Thacker’s blue door. However, this neighborhood has so many things to offer including lovely colorful houses and beautiful Mews, crowded street full of antiques, historic pubs, fruits and veggies stands, fashionable restaurants and cafeteria, making this area one of the most visited among tourist and Londoners alike.
In this walk guide I will describe some great places you can see during your visit, and of course I will highlight Instagram worthy spots along the way.
How do I get to Notting Hill?
Notting Hill is really accessible. It can be reach by tube using Central line, Circle line and the District line, being the nearest stations: Notting Hill Gate (Main), Westbourne Park Station and Ladbroke Grove Station. For the other hand, if you prefer using the bus routes services, the following lines can be use: 148, 27, 238 and 452.
A little history about this neighborhood
Notting Hill has its origins long time ago in the 13th centuries, when there are some records of the existence of this area receiving the name similar to Knottynghull. In the 18th century, it was center of brick making due to its great accumulation of clays, and other totally different industry related to the pig farming that finally was pushed aside by brick industry.
The beginning of Notting Hill as a planned development it wasn’t until 19th centuries when a rich landowner started building large terrace houses and gardens areas that attracted middle class families. However, the area suffered a transformation after the Second World War II, as the rest of London because of the wartime blitz, with houses damaged or destroyed were transformed in shared houses becoming the area in slums and one of the poorest neighborhoods in London.
During this time, it received many Afro-American Caribbean immigrants that came to Britain looking for better life conditions. This immigration explains the Caribbean influence in the area that holds the second biggest Carnival Festivity around the world. The Carnival begun as a celebration of the Afro-Caribbean culture after overcame race riots and fighting that were taking place in the area in 1950’s.
It wasn’t until the late 20th Century, when Notting Hill started becoming the neighborhood that we know today with the construction of middle-class houses, large amount of shops, restaurants and coffee shops. Being so popular among cultural privileged and wealthy politicians. As you can see, the history of Notting Hill is so varied and interesting that have created the beloved area that we know today.
What Can I do there?
Notting Hill is famous for its colorful residential areas, thriving street market and world-famous events captivating thousands of visitors every year. The neighborhood offers so many options to spend a great time with a variety of activities. You’ll find well-known theaters being the cultural and entertainment center in the area such as: The Gate Theatre, the Tabernacle and the Print Room. Additionally, you’ll find a part of the history with the London’s oldest cinema, The Electric Cinema, where you can see the latest movies releases in a luxurious accommodation. Another place with historic importance is the Bottle Kiln at Walmer Road, remembering the 1800’s days of Notting Hill when it was a center of brick making.
The Portobello Market must be one of the most known attractions in the area, it consists in nearly one-kilometer path full of antiques, clothing stalls, even fruits and veggies found their place in there. During your visit you can enjoy the colors of the houses mixed with lovely greenery of the gardens like: Tavistock Gardens, Colville Square Gardens, Norland Open Space, Royal Crescent Gardens, Ladbroke Square.
Where to Eat in Notting Hill?
Notting Hill has plenty of restaurants where to get delicious food and enjoy the lovely architectures of their buildings, being the majority of them in the popular Portobello Road. You’ll have the chance to choose from a great selection of cuisines including Italian, local, Indian, American, Asian, among others. The most popular restaurant in the area are:
Some of them are popular not just for their food but for their lovely decoration, nice architecture and exterior arrangements appearing as background in many Instagram photos. So, prepare your camera if you’ll take a bite in one of the next places:
-SNAPS + RYE (Golborne Rd)
-The Churchill Arm (Kensington Church St)
-Chucs (Westbourne Grove
-Electric Diner (Portobello Road)
-Portobello Garden Arcade (Portobello Road)
-UKAI (Portobello Road)
If you fancy something quick to eat, you’ll find plenty of supermarkets and convenient stores located throughout the area. The mains chains have two or even more branches in different part of Notting Hill, such as Tesco at Portobello Road and at Holland Park Avenue, Sainsbury’s also at Portobello Road and Westbourne Grove. There are also some markets if you are looking for more organic and authentic items, it’s the case of Portobello & Golborne Market and Notting Hill Farmer’s Market.
Fancy a Coffee?
As a trendy neighborhood, of course you’ll find plenty of coffee shops, patisseries where to have a delicious hot drinks and mouth-watering desserts. While you’re walking around the area
taking advantage of the incredible photo spots, you can stop in any of them to relax and enjoy the view of the people passing by having the colorful streets as background.
The cafeterias can go from the very popular chains like Starbucks (Holland Park Ave), Nero Coffee (Ladbroke Grove) and Pret A Manger (Ladbroke Grove) to more independent ones such as Coffeebello (Portobello Road) and Amoret Notting Hill (Pembridge Road). However, if you’re a looking for more than a cuppa, you also find coffee shops with lovely decoration full of flowers and colors, or on the contrary with an edgy and modern atmosphere that have become very popular spots to take lifestyle shots worthy of those Instagram hearts. The most popular ones are:
-Books For Cooks (Blenheim Crescent)
-Biscuiteers (Kensington Road)
-Fabrique Bakery (Portobello Road)
-Farm Girl (Portobello Road)
-Jusu Brothers (Westbourne Grove)
Best Walk Tours in Notting Hill
Notting Hill is a lovely neighborhood with an unique vibe that attracts tourists and locals alike willing to feel the special energy due to the cultural mixture, impressive history of ups and downs and transcendental transformation, and of course see the real setting of a very famous film. This neighborhood gathers colorful charming houses, very nice restaurant and shops, booming street market and popular entertainment centers. So, I decided to create a guide to show you three different options of how to wander around this beloved neighborhood taking the best of it.
1) Walk No .1 Houses
This area is famous for many things, but lately due to the boom of the social networks and constant search of worthy spots, their colorful residential areas have gained incredible popularity and are visited for hundreds every day. In this walk I’ll focus in the housing zones to show you those popular spots walking around 1.3 miles and taking about one and half hours to make the entire tour.
The walk starts at Notting Hill Gate Underground, exit the tube station walk east and then turn left when you see a narrow lane, then turn left again to reach Uxbridge St to start soaking up in the pastel colors houses, with lovely little gates and steps in front of the doors. In this area you’ll find three thin streets one next to the others with similar architecture and a rainbow atmosphere, having plenty of spots to explore and take amazing photos. Walk to the easternmost street, Farm Pl, and find the delightful houses with the little covers in their front doors.
However, if you’re visiting the neighborhood around the middle-spring, I recommend you walk east until you get Campden Hill Road, here you’ll see colorful two-story houses, but one stands out with its lovely wisteria blooms covering almost all its façade. Then return to Farm Place to continue your route.
At the end of the street you’ll see the Hillgate Place that it’s connected with the other two lanes, the houses there maintain the same aesthetics with a varied colors pallet including purple, aquamarine, yellow, pink, cream, among others. At the next corner veer left to Callcott St and pose in front of the garish green lighting pole having the colorful buildings behind. Continue walking until get again Uxbridge St and go right to Hillgate St that not only has the common houses designing of the area, but some small restaurants.
Turning to left you can duck into another popular Instagram street named Farmer Street, populated with gorgeous houses with the cherished flower pots hanging in the windows. At this point go back to see the last part of the Hillgate St where you can encounter the yellow door house with the loveliest rounded cover. Then continue walking until the street becomes Jameson St, where in one side you’ll see houses at ground level with color painted doors and square white windows and in the other side slightly elevated houses. At the end you’ll find a gorgeous pink house with lovely stairs at the side.
Retrace your steps to reach the last stretch of Kensington Place, turn right to go to Kensington Church St. It’s a wider avenue with some antiques shops to take a look, in the corner walking three street to the south you can have a nice meal in the famous restaurant The Churchill Arm, or just take some great shots in front its well-decorated façade. It’s a popular spot among Instagrammers because its exuberant floral displays.
Take Campden St where you’ll see a different style houses with a combination of white stucco and brown bricks with colorful doors. The sidewalks are wider in this area making easier to have your photo sessions. Walk until you get to the end, at the right you’ll find another popular bar/restaurant in the area, The Windsor Castle and at the left you can continue along Campden Hill Road veer left in the first street you see to enter at Bedford Gardens where you’ll see an opaque pallet of painted houses, the majority are white or bricked, however in this street you’ll get one of the best places to spot wisteria blooms in London. So, if you are visiting the area around spring don’t miss out this street.
2) Walk No .2 Colorful
Besides the colorful houses, this neighborhood is famous for the thriving Portobello Market where thousands of people gather to buy antiques, walk along the streets, and of course taking spectacular photos. In this walk I included other residentials areas very popular for its designs and trendy spots of the Portobello Road. The walking tour lasts approximately 2 hours covering a distance of 1.8 miles.
Start your walk at Notting Hill Gate Underground and when you exit the tube station turn right to get Pembridge Road and continue walking passing along the multiple stores and shops, then when you reach the roundabout take the left side to find the Ladbroke Road where you’ll see white houses with little front yards, some of them highlighted with colorful doors and tall trees. Cross the street and go right into a small cul de sac, Horbury Mews, visiting the first popular place of this walk where to take amazing shots, having as the background the cobbled street with constricted two story houses painted with paled tones and decorated with potted trees and wooden benches.
Go back to take Horbury Crescent and enjoy the stylish terraced houses made of white stucco and brown brick in the second floors with white columns and balconies at their entrances. Walk the curved street and at the end veer right to Kensington Park Road in order to get Pembridge Road. This stretch of the streets with plenty coffee shops and gelaterias, making a great place to take a delicious hot drinks or desserts while taking great shot. One place with a lovely façade is Bubbleology Notting Hill.
On the corner take right when the Portobello Road begins, and after the curve you’ll see on the right side of the streets a group of terraced houses painted with variety of colors and little front fences. Find the red door’s house or the navy blue’s one to take trendy pictures. Keep walking up and in your right side will appear a narrow-cobbled street, named Simon Close, if you continue to the end of the Mews you’ll find prettiest house with a delicate floral decoration in the front with a unique color contrast.
Go back to Portobello Road and walk north towards the Market, with plenty of shops and stalls offering different items including: clothes, jewelry, fruits, veggies, bric-a-brac, toys, antiques and many other things. The market gets busy on Saturday with its characterized energy, haggle and hustle, but even the weekdays you’ll find stalls to look at. There is a popular red corner selling plenty of antiques with a special vibe that has create a nice spot to take photos in a bustling scenery. Next to this shop there are white and yellow brick Mews another fashion place to take some snapshots.
To continue in your hunting for colorful houses turn right at Denbigh Terrace where you can find a set of charming terraced houses. At the end of the street return turning right at Denbigh Road in order to reach Chepstow Villas, in the right stretch of this street you’ll see tall terraced houses painted with pastel colors and charming little front yards. After taking a great selection of photos make your back way to Denbigh Terrace continue to the north to stop in your next destination, Pencombe Mews, a delightful little curved cobbled road with tight houses, you’ll notice the arch entrance in the right side.
Retrace your steps to return Denbigh Road and walk north to reach Westbourne Grove, on the corner you’ll see a famous florist with a peculiar triangle shape and aquamarine titles decoration. While you’re walking along the street you’ll see terraced houses painted with darker colors. Here it’s when your find a totally black house. This street has plenty of shops and restaurants where to have a nice meal and take a rest of the exploration.
Walk straight until you’ll get the roundabout and veer left to enter on Ledbury Road, the architecture of the houses in the area is quite elegant with white tall columns and brick decoration in the higher floors and charming balconies adorned with potted flowers. Then continue walking turn right at Talbot Road, with plenty opaque colors houses with little balconies and delightful decoration. This walk guide finishes here, so you can walk north to get Westbourne Park Station, taking the Great Western Road.
3) Walk No. 3 Long Walk Houses and Gardens
If the last two walking tours weren’t enough to satisfy your appetite for colorful houses and outstanding photo spots. You should take this long walk I guarantee you that you’ll enjoy more of this iconic neighborhood, it takes about three hours and cover the distance of 2.2 miles of beautifully decorated houses, green gardens, fashion restaurants and coffee shops.
Start your walk at Holland Park Station turn right to reach Holland Park Avenue which has lovely natural ceiling created by tall trees in both sides of the avenue. On the corner take right to go into Holland Park populated with terraced houses made of stucco painted with different pallid colors being the first sample of the lovely residentials areas. Walk the curved street and duck into a tiny street that received the name of Holland Park Mews, where you’ll enjoy the view of varied colors houses with stairs attached in the front, giving them a special touch and make them very popular among the spot Instagram seekers.
Crossing the entire Mews you reach the last stretch of Holland Park Street and turn right to go into Holland Park Avenue. At the second street turn left at Portland Road, as you pass by the street take a look at the brown brick and white stucco entrance houses, here you can take a shot in front the popular vivid pink door. Continue your journey along the road deviate to left to get Pottery Lane, a thin street with lovely facades in both sides.
In the middle of the street at the intersection with Penzance Pl, is located a lovely corner pink house. To hit the next popular destination in Notting Hill, take Portland Road turn right at Clarendon Cross and find your way west to Lansdowne Rise, a quiet street with plenty of greenery. At the end you’ll be on Lansdowne Crescent, where you’ll enjoy a different architecture of the houses, being mainly white with high columns and little black gates entrances. This street housed one of the loveliest wisteria blooms in London.
Walk along the curved street until you get Staley Crescent, another residential zone with similar appearance, but getting more brick and cream color. Turn around and make your way back to Ladbroke Grove, walk down while you’re enjoying the large houses surrounded by lovely green vegetation. When you get Elgin Crescent turn right to the terraced houses mostly decorated with white painting, but there are a few that stands out with their vibrant blue decoration.
When reach the roundabout, you have two options take north at Kensington Park Road where you’ll find great restaurants and a very trendy coffee shop, The Biscuiteers Boutique and Icing Café, which fashion entrance have been the favorite background of thousands of photos. Or continue your walk until the famous Portobello Road and turn left where you’ll see a part of the history of London, the Electric Cinema. Take the photo with red neon light at the back.
Continue your walk until you get Blenheim Crescent and go west to find Colville Houses full of colorful houses ranges from soft pink tones to the bright yellow. Turn around and get the Blenheim Crescent street and turn left at Powis Gardens with a similar architecture and some steps covered in white and black tiles. There is a gorgeous tree at the end of the street that worth a couple of shots.
The next stop is one of the most popular Mews in London, and when you see this beautiful arrangement of houses you will not have doubts why. To get in there, cross Westbourne Park Road and turn right at All Saint Road and walk north until get the Mews. To the right side are the prettiest houses. When you finish your tour in the narrow lane take again All Saints Road and veer left to see the colorful vibrant flats on Lancaster Road. To head the last spot in this walk, take All Saints Road and turn right at Tavistock Road, you can walk all the way the street to the west where you’ll find the Westbourne Park Station.
As you can see, Notting Hill is a lovely and iconic neighborhood with an incredible vibes and uncountable spots to take perfect lifestyle photos. To help you to follow this guide, find the links of the different walks, bring your camera and enjoy one of the most beloved areas in London.
First Walk: https://goo.gl/maps/cJqJL8kwnnGR9Gvp6
Second Walk: https://goo.gl/maps/rtVy6La9Q4mzhZL69
Third Walk: https://goo.gl/maps/yWMKCvgYQsa9eVGb9