Notting Hill-North Kensington is a district in west London.
This destination covers the northern part of the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea, from Kensington High Street in the south to the Grand Union Canal and Wormwood Scrubs in the north.
Notting Hill is a popular destination for its lively market, gorgeous streetscapes, interesting history and diverse population. It has achieved a level of fame from the eponymously named Hugh Grant film (he actually does live here!), the world-famous Portobello Road market, and of course from the annual carnival.
The area was rural until the 19th century when it was developed as an upper-middle class suburb with quite large homes. During the early 20th century, these large homes were divided into low cost housing which often degenerated into slums. In the 1950s, many Caribbean immigrants settled in the area. In the 1960s it attracted musicians and artists and Portobello Road became the centre of English hippie culture. Portobello Road still hosts a very eclectic weekly market and is also home to a similarly off-beat set of permanent shops.
The Notting Hill carnival was first staged in 1964 as a way for the local Afro-Caribbean communities to celebrate their own cultures and traditions. After some rough times in the 1970s and 1980s when it became associated with social protest, violence and huge controversy over policing tactics, this is now Europe's largest carnival/festival event and a major event in the London calendar. It is staged every August over the Bank holiday weekend.
During the 1980s, the Notting Hill proper area of the district was largely gentrified although areas in the north west of the district at Ladbroke Grove and Westbourne Park remain deprived and run down. In local mythology, these more recent residents of Notting Hill are assumed to live from trust accounts, giving rise to the practice of classifying locals as either Rastafarians or Trustafarians.
Further west from Notting Hill providing a natural buffer between the north and south of the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea, is Holland Park. This is the least well known of London's Royal Parks and locals would like to keep it that way. A real gem of a park which is off the tourist trail but very much worth a visit.
The district is serviced by the following stations, in Zones 1 and 2:
- Notting Hill Gate (Zones 1 & 2) – (Central, District and Circle lines)
- Queensway (Zone 1) – (Central line)
- Ladbroke Grove (Zone 2) – (Hammersmith & City and Circle line)
- Westbourne Park (Zone 2) – (Hammersmith & City line)
- Bayswater (Zone 1) – (District and Circle lines)
The area is best explored on foot and lends itself well to walking.
- 1 Holland Park, Main entrances at Holland Park Avenue, W11 3SW (north side) and Kensington High Street, W8 6AG (south side) (Tube: (north side) or (south side)), ☏ (to book sports facilities). Daily 7:30AM-dusk. Originally the private garden of Holland House, much of which was destroyed in the London Blitz, Holland Park is a mixture of woodland, European and Japanese-style formal gardens and leisure facilities. It includes a large field dedicated to football and cricket, as well as tennis courts. As you walk around the park, you can see bits of the house dotted around the place which give you some idea of how grand it used to be. In the summer this is a great place to catch outdoor opera. An ecology centre near the police station provides information about the ecology of the park and arranges various activities for children. There is a café in the park that sells ice creams and hot food. The park is a popular way to walk from Notting Hill to Kensington High Street. Free.
- 2 Design Museum, 224-238 Kensington High Street, W8 6AG (Tube: or ), ☏ , ✉ firstname.lastname@example.org. M-Th, 10AM-6:30PM, Fr Sa 10AM-9PM, Su 10AM-6:30PM. A must for anyone with an interest in modern and contemporary design. The permanent exhibition follows the change in British homes from the early 20th century until present day, which is constantly updated to include new design classics. There are temporary exhibits which run for 3-4 months. The museum also runs Designer of the Year which awards a prize to a person or organisation that has produced an impressive piece of design. There is a small shop that has plenty of art and design books as well as designer goods to take home with you. Free, except for temporary exhibitions.
- 3 Leighton House, 12 Holland Park Rd, W14 8LZ (Rail & Overground: , irregular service. Combines well with a visit to Holland Park.), ☏ , ✉ email@example.com. Sa Su 10AM-5PM. The former Victorian home of an artist Frederic (Lord) Leighton. While regarded as one of the finest examples of Victorian residential architecture, it's not the usual Neo-Gothic venue. The entrance rooms, especially the so-called Arabic Hall, look like an eclectic cross-breed between the Alhambra and Topkapı Palace. This may sound quite terrible, but surprisingly it works. While the rest of the building is less vividly decorated it's still designed rather well and displays some works by Lord Leighton himself and his fellow Pre-Raphaelites, but also a handful of works by Delacroix and Corot as well as a collection of some colourful pottery. Regular small exhibitions are held in the house's extension. Adult £9, concession £7, child (under 18) free.
- 4 18 Stafford Terrace, 18 Stafford Terrace, W8 7BH (Entrance through the basement. Tube: ), ☏ (M-F), (Sa Su), ✉ firstname.lastname@example.org. W Sa Su 2PM-5:30PM; guided tours: W Su 11AM-12:15PM, costumed tours Sa 11AM-12:15PM. The Victorian residence of satirical cartoonist Edward Linley Sambourne and his household, which is now open as a museum. The "aesthetic" interior design, preserved close to how the Sambournes would have kept it in 1899, features much Chinese and Middle Eastern-style furniture, art, and decorative schemes, along with a selection of Edward's cartoons, which typically ribbed the British establishment and its colonial-driven international relations. Adult £9, concession £7, child (under 18) free. Guided tours: £12 adult, £10 concession. Costumed guided tours led by an actor: £20 adult, £15 concession.
- 5 The Tower House, 29 Melbury Road, W14 8AB. A private residence which can only be seen from the street. Designed and built in a French neo-Gothic style by William Burges, it features a handsome cone-roofed tower. Legendary guitarist Jimmy Page has been the house's proud owner since he bought it from actor Richard Harris in 1972.
- 6 Maharajah Duleep Singh's House, 53 Holland Park, W11 3RS (tube: Holland Park). A blue plaque marks the house in which the last Maharajah of the Sikh Empire lived in the 1880s.
- 7 Museum of Brands, 111-117 Lancaster Road, Notting Hill, W11 1QT (tube: ), ☏ . M–Sa 10AM–6PM, Sundays and bank holidays 11AM–5PM. A history of British consumer culture told through over 12,000 food packages, toys, advertisements, and consumer products. The centrepiece of the museum is the "time tunnel" that takes you through the decades from the Victorian era to the present day. Other exhibits cover innovations in packaging, personalised labels, the future of eco-friendly packaging, and how individual brands have changed over time, among other topics. The time tunnel takes about an hour or two, depending on how much time you spend looking at the details of all the items on display, and the other exhibits are much smaller. The gift shop has a mix of nostalgia-themed products and reusable items to reduce your use of plastic (which may be very welcome after seeing so much packaging!). £9 adults, £5 children, £7 concessions.
- 8 St Mary Abbots, Kensington Church Street, W8 4LA (Corner of Church Street and High Street. Tube: ), ☏ . M-Sa 10AM-2PM, Su 10AM-6PM. Although there has been a parish church on the site since the 13th century, the present building dates only from 1872. It was designed by Sir George Gilbert Scott (perhaps most famous for St Pancras station and hotel), who was a parishioner, and it has the tallest church spire in London. Imposing and formidable, without necessarily being beautiful, it is nonetheless Grade II* listed. Free.
- 1 Electric Cinema, 191 Portobello Rd (tube: or ). A restored cinema boasting all leather armchairs (most with footstools) and a bar in the theatre - this is definitely a Notting Hill experience. The Electric shows a wide range of films from cinema classics, cult and independent films, to regular Hollywood blockbusters. They also have the Electric Scream session, specifically for parents with screaming babies! Ticket prices vary depending on how fancy your seat is. More expensive than a normal cinema but a fun experience.
- Film Walk. Notting Hill's diversity and streetscapes have earned it a place in many films. Time Out magazines has put together a walk encompassing some of them.
- Gate Picturehouse, Notting Hill Gate, W11 3JZ (tube: Notting Hill Gate), ☏ . Repertory/art house cinema with a very varied programme.
- Musical history tour. Tom Vague, a local music journalist and historian, has put together an excellent do-it-yourself tour of Notting Hill focusing on its rich musical history. You can download it to you mp3 player from the Council web-site.
- 2 Notting Hill Carnival. Two-day carnival which takes place every year on the August Bank Holiday weekend. It is said to be the largest carnival of its type in the world, attracts over a million people and is a great celebration of London's modern multi-cultural identity. What really gives it flavour is the large local Caribbean and Trinidadian population. This occurs in an almost circular route north of the Notting Hill, Westbourne Park and Ladbroke Grove areas. See Transport For London's website before you go as many tube stations are closed for the duration and bus routes diverted. Driving into the area is strongly discouraged - many streets are closed.
- Portobello Road Market. During the week this is the place to go to buy your fruit and veg but on Fridays and Saturdays there are hundreds of stalls selling clothes, antiques, jewellery and lots more.
- 1 Westbourne Grove. Smart boutiques, food shops and outdoor cafes.
- Travel Bookstore, 13-15 Blenheim Cres. Great place to browse. Its other point of interest is that it was the inspiration for Hugh Grant's shop in the movie Notting Hill.
There is so much food to choose from, and something to suit all budgets. If you are budgeting then there is great Malay food, bangers & mash, falafel and German sausages. For those with a bit more money to burn there is some seriously swanky bars and restaurants including E&O and 192. Some of the most popular dishes sold along the route of the carnival are jerk chicken and goat curry.
A row of stalls at the north end of Portobello Road Market (near Portobello Green) have a variety of international cuisines. Try the Iraqi green rice.
- 1 e&o Notting Hill, 14 Blenheim Cres, W11 1NN, ☏ , ✉ email@example.com. Pan Asian food. Japanese-influenced restaurant with a stylish bar attached. Great cocktails. £30-40 per head.
- 2 Geales, 2 Farmer St, W8 7SN, ☏ , ✉ firstname.lastname@example.org. M-Sa noon-3PM 6PM-11PM, Su 6PM-10:30PM. Fantastic, premium fish and chip restaurant, much favoured by local and out-of-town celebs. Main courses £10-15, cover 50p.
- 3 Kahn's, 13-15 Westbourne Gr W2 4UA (tube: Bayswater or Royal Oak), ☏ , ✉ email@example.com. Very popular and large Indian restaurant, probably not as good as the Standard though.
- 4 New Culture Revolution, 157-159 Notting Hill Gate, W11 2LF (tube: Notting Hill Gate), ☏ . Part of a chain specialising in northern Chinese food and noodles and dumplings especially. Good value and popular with students and budget travellers. Mains £5-7.
- 5 Notting Hill Brasserie, 92 Kensington Park Rd, W11 2PN (tube: Notting Hill Gate), ☏ , ✉ firstname.lastname@example.org. Decidedly swanky restaurant (one of the few in Notting Hill serving mixed international food. About £60 per head.
- 6 The Ledbury, 127 Ledbury Rd, Notting Hill, W11 2AQ (tube: ). A 2* Michelin restaurant, with exquisite dishes rustled up by talented Aussie chef Brett Graham. Features highly-by food critics, so don't expect cheap bites! Easy to drop £100 in here!.
Populated by the young, hip and rich it is unsurprising that Notting Hill has so many trendy bars. Expect to pay prices that match the location though.
- The Lonsdale, 48 Lonsdale Rd, ☏ . Like a cocktail bar from the future, the decor in this place is too good to miss. Relatively strict door policy; turn up earlier rather than later if you are not a famous celebrity.
- 1 Beach Blanket Babylon, 45 Ledbury Rd, W11 2AA, ☏ . Beautiful bar with fantastical decor. Quality and service at the restaurant seem to vary wildly, but the bar is usually a safe bet.
- Elbow Room, 103 Westbourne Gr, ☏ . A bar with pool tables too, rather than the other way around. Relaxed and friendly.
- 2 The Cow, 89 Westbourne Park Rd, W2 5UN, ☏ . A small and trendy pub/bar with a focus on Guinness.
- 3 The Electric Brasserie, 191 Portobello Rd, Notting Hill, W11 2ED (next to the Electric Cinema), ☏ . Attached to the Electric Cinema this trendy brasserie is a good place for a drink before or after your movie. Very busy F Sa evenings especially.
- 4 Pig & Whistle, 92 Bramley Rd, Notting Hill, W10 6UG, ☏ .
- 5 Trailer Happiness, 177 Portobello Rd, Notting Hill, W11 2DY, ☏ . Intimate and kitsch lounge bar, den and kitchen with the feel of a low rent, mid-1960s Los Angeles valley bachelor pad.
- 1 Bluebells Hotel, 14 Pembridge Sq, W2 4EH (tube: Notting Hill Gate), ☏ , ✉ email@example.com. In a converted early Victorian building. 30 rooms on four storeys but no lift. Five minutes' walk to Notting Hill Gate and Portobello Rd. From £60.
- 2 Notting Hill Hotel, 2 Pembridge Sq, W2 4EW (tube: Notting Hill Gate), ☏ . Old converted Victorian building in a quiet square only 5 minutes from Notting Hill Gate. Single, double and family rooms. From £60.
- 3 Umi Hotel, 16 Leinster Square (tube: Bayswater), ☏ . On a quiet garden square 5 minutes walk from Bayswater station. Single, double and family rooms with en suite bath. A few dormitory rooms. From £80.
- 4 The Abbey Court, 20 Pembridge Gdns, W2 4FE. Boutique hotel in a converted Victorian house and decorated in that period style. 22 rooms, no lift. From £90.
- 5 The Gate Hotel, 6 Portobello Rd (Near Notting Hill Gate tube at Pembridge Road end of Portobello Rd, only a few steps away from Portobello Market), ☏ .
- 6 Fraser Suites Queensgate, 39B Queens Gate Gardens, SW7 5RR (tube: Gloucester Road), ☏ , fax: , ✉ firstname.lastname@example.org. One of the closest serviced accomodations to Notting Hill, this hotel is known for a range of amenities and services for business guests.
- 7 54 Queens's Gate, 54 Queen's Gate SW7 5JW (west side of Nat History Museum, tube: Gloucester Road), ☏ . Comfy, stylish small hotel by major sights. No children under 16 or dogs. B&B double £170.
- 8 Portobello Hotel, 22 Stanley Gardens, Notting Hill W11 2NG, ☏ . Stylish offbeat hotel in knock-through of two mansions. Some rooms are very small. B&B double £250.
- 9 Laslett, 8 Pembridge Gardens W2 4DU (50 m north of tube: Notting Hill), ☏ . Buzzing hotel in Victorian knock-through, great comfort, style and service. B&B double £250.
|Routes through Notting Hill-North Kensington|
|West London ← Hammersmith and Fulham ←||W E||→ Paddington-Maida Vale → Bloomsbury-Soho|
|Westminster ← South Kensington-Chelsea ← main loop ←||S E||→ main loop → Paddington-Maida Vale → Mayfair-Marylebone|
|END ← Hammersmith and Fulham ← Hammersmith branch ←||W E||→ Hammersmith branch → Paddington-Maida Vale → Bloomsbury-Camden|
|Wimbledon ← South Kensington-Chelsea ←||S E||→ Paddington-Maida Vale → Mayfair-Marylebone|
|END ← Hammersmith and Fulham ←||W E||→ Paddington-Maida Vale → Bloomsbury-Camden|
|Routes through Notting Hill-North Kensington|
|West London ← Hammersmith and Fulham ←||W E||→ Paddington → West End|