Enjoy the rich cultural tapestry of this vibrant London community filled with quirky museums, a bustling market, and plenty in between with our guide to the best things to do in Notting Hill.

By: Paul Healy | Published: 16 Jan 2024 | Last update: 26 Jan 2024

Notting Hill has a vibrant and colourful past stretching back to the 1800s when it was first developed into a fashionable area for London’s upper classes.

By the early 1900’s Notting Hill fell from grace and the rich moved to the more expensive Belgravia and Mayfair.  

Following large-scale immigration to the UK in the 1950s, and a housing shortage, the grand properties in Notting Hill were converted into multi-occupancy dwellings and the area became significantly impoverished due, in no small part, to lawless landlords.

Today, as gentrification has taken hold, Notting Hill is a vibrant neighbourhood with the Beckhams up one end and a rich cultural enclave at the other.

As locals, we know the area well. Here’s our guide to our favourite things to do in Notting Hill.

notting hill walk london

1. SEE THE COLOURFUL HOUSES

Following the gentrification of Notting Hill in the late 20th century, the homes that were previously multi-occupancy slums have steadily been transformed into colourful residences.  

Lined up in charming rainbow-colored rows, the pastel-hued facades of Notting Hill are today one of the area’s star attractions.

The most popular street is Lancaster Road, probably due to its proximity to Portobello Road. However, there is beautiful architecture all over Notting Hill.

Elgin Crescent, Rosemead Road, and Lansdowne Road form an excellent circuit of colourful houses that you’ll often have completely to yourself.

2. PORTOBELLO MARKET

Portobello Road is the heart of Notting Hill and Portobello Market runs along its length. It’s one of the most popular things to do in Notting Hill and the buzz of the crowd creates a vibrant energy.

The market is split into 4 sections, each with its own best day to visit.

  • Vintage & Bric-a-brac Market: Friday, Saturday & Sunday
  • Fashion Market: Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday, Saturday
  • Fruit & Veg Market: Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday, Saturday
  • Antiques market: Friday, Saturday

In our opinion, the most interesting are the Vintage and Antiques Markets, making Friday and Saturday excellent times to visit. However, they are also the busiest days.

Portobello Market Opening Hours: In summer the stalls are usually open from 8.30 am to 6 pm and in winter from 9.30 am to 5 pm. Thursday is half day operating from 9 am to 1 pm. 

3. GRAFFIK GALLERY

The Graffik Gallery on Portobello Road is an interesting space dedicated to street and urban art.

They offer private graffiti masterclasses where you can learn the basic skills of spray paint with knowledgeable and friendly teachers. It’s a great activity for kids and they also take groups, making it a fun team-building exercise.

You can purchase art from the store or visit one of the exhibitions they have throughout the year.

All the details are on the Graffik Gallery website.

graffik gallery facade notting hill
GRAFFIK GALLERY, NOTTING HILL

4. ELECTRIC CINEMA

The Electric Cinema is a stylish way to see a recent blockbuster or old-school classic movie by the people behind Soho House.

It commenced operating in 1910 as one of the first motion picture house in Britain to be supplied with electricity. Despite a few intermittent shutdowns, it has been in almost continual use as a picture theatre since.

The Edwardian Baroque interiors are decorated with sumptuous red velvet seats. You can select an armchair with a footstool, a front-row bed seat, or a back-row sofa. Food and beverages are provided by the onsite restaurant.  

5. BRUNCH

Notting Hill is one of the best destinations in London for brunch. After strolling the market, there’s nothing better than sitting down to a quality breakfast and well-constructed coffee.

Some of our brunch highlights in the Notting Hill area include the Electric Diner for their proper Ful English, Beam for their Middle Eastern-inspired plates, and Farm Girl for their healthy Aussie-inspired treats.

Our full list is available on our guide: best brunch places in Notting Hill.

6. WESTBOURNE GROVE BOUTIQUES

Notting Hill is a diverse area. Contrast the flea market feel of Portobello Road Market with the high-end boutiques on Westbourne Grove.

The section of Westbourne Grove between Colville Road and Chepstow Road is packed with great reasons to visit.

At the lower end towards Colville Road you’ll find designer shops including Soho Home Studio, Max Mara, Olebar Brown, Kooples, Toast, and Aesop.

There are also some great dining options including Taquería, Wild Notting Hill, and Sumi.

7. BOOKSHOPS

BOOKS FOR COOKS

Books for Cooks is one of the most interesting things to do in Notting Hill. Shelves are crammed with every tasty title you could imagine, and well-worn sofas are wedged into corners for the benefit of cookbook junkies.

The highlight though is the test kitchen sandwiched into the back of the store. Cooks try out unusual experiments from the books with a menu that changes daily based on what they can get their hands on from Portobello Market.  

NOTTING HILL BOOKSHOP

We’re sorry to say but the bookstore located at 13 Blenheim Crescent is not the one used in the Notting Hill film, but it has been designed as a recreation of William Thackery’s bookshop. If you can push past the crowds lining up for a photo, it’s still a lovely bookshop to visit.

LUYTENS & RUBENSTEIN

Luytens and Rubenstine is a small independent bookstore stocking selected titles across a broad range of genres. Operated by two literary agents, the focus is on excellent writing. Each book in the store has been hand-picked by someone who loves it.

8. MUSEUM OF BRANDS

The Museum of Brands is a nostalgic journey through 200 years of consumer culture.

Packed with memorabilia from Victorian times through to the modern day, the museum is stuffed with cultural markers. Find vintage prints, household products, old magazines, toys, and everything in between.

The building was once the world’s largest centre for people living with HIV. Princess Dianna regularly visited patients in the memorial garden which is now part of the cafe.

9. NOTTING HILL FILM LOCATIONS

It’s hard to know whether the area has driven the recurring interest in the movie or vice versa. Either way, it’s left its mark on Notting Hill, not to mention it’s house prices. Here are some spots from the movie to collect on your visit.

  • The Blue Door – The blue door to William’s flat is at 280 Westbourne Park Road. It’s easy to spot for the throng of people out front.
  • Notting Hill Bookshop – As mentioned above, the bookstore located at 13 Blenheim Crescent is not the one that was used in the film. It is a faithful recreation so there’s no harm in grabbing a selfie out front.
  • 142 Portobello Road – This is the location of the actual shop used for filming the bookstore scenes. During filming it was an antique shop, it’s now a souvenir store with the wrong sign. (In the film, it was called “The Travel Book Co” not “The Travel Book Store” which is what you see today.
  • Coronet Theatre – This arts venue used to be a cinema and it was used when William and Spike were watching a film.
  • Rosemead Gardens – This is the location of the private gardens where William and Anna climbed over the fence.

10. ACKLAM VILLAGE MARKET

Opposite the Vintage Market, which you can visit on our Notting Hill walk, you’ll find Acklam Village Market, an excellent destination for live music and street food.

The International Street Food Market on Acklam Road sells eclectic mix of street food from around the world. You’ll find everything from noodles to falafel, plus Thai, Chinese, and of course, a decent curry. The street food market is open Friday to Sunday.

The Acklam Village Market Bar (Saturdays only) hidden inside an old sports hall, has some of the best live music in west London. They champion locally sourced spirits and craft beer with a seasonal cocktail menu. Enjoy a beer in a cool venue while catching a live act.

Check what’s on via the Acklam Village website.

acklam villagel notting hill
ACKLAM VILLAGE

11. NOTTING HILL’S SECRET BANKSY

Hidden beside the stalls of the Acklam Village food market is the Banksy mural “The Painter.”

Thought to be Spanish painter Velazquez, a bow-tied artist holding an easel and brush hand paints the words BANKSY in red lettering.

It’s one of the oldest Banksys in London, having first appeared in 2008. It was covered by building works for several years but reappeared in 2020.

You’ll find it on the wall of the Grand Hotel on the corner of Portobello Road and Acklam Road, however, you can only see it when the Acklam Village Market is not operating.

banksy the painter notting hill
BANKSY NOTTING HILL

12. ROUGH TRADE

Rough Trade West is the oldest and smallest of the Rough Trade stores. They sell a collector’s array of vinyl, but you can also pick up books, merchandise, and stereo equipment.

It’s well worth popping in for a poke around but they also feature regular in-store performances from a talented bunch of artists. They have a focus on unplugged and acoustic sets, as well as talks with musicians.

See what’s on at roughtrade.com.

rough trade notting hill
ROUGH TRADE

13. ST LUKE MEWS

A mews is a small traffic-free street found behind extravagant 18th and 19th-century mansion houses. They were used to stable horses of the wealthy and to provide accommodation for servants.

They are a common feature of Notting Hill and today they have been converted into charming houses.

St Luke Mews is one of the prettiest mews streets to visit in Notting Hill and it was the one featured in Love Actually.

Colville Mews is often mentioned as a good mews to visit. However, this is probably because of the famous Union Jack covering one of the buildings which has now been removed. It’s very much a residential street and probably a good idea for visitors to give them their privacy back.

st lukes mews notting hill
ST LUKE’S MEWS

14. FARMERS’ MARKET

As locals, the Notting Hill Farmers’ Market is one of our favourite things to do. Even if you’re visiting the area, it’s worth popping in for a look.

They stock organic produce from local farmers including the freshest fruit and veg, amazing wild mushrooms, the best goat’s cheese you’ll find anywhere as well as fresh pasta, meat, fish and much more.  

Apart from the quality produce the area is a great part of Notting Hill to visit. Nearby you’ll find Kuro, one of our favourite cafes in Notting Hill, as well as Greek restaurants Suzi Tros and Mazi.

The Farmer’s Market is in the Fox Primary School on Edge Street W8 7PP.

15. NOTTING HILL CARNIVAL

The Notting Hill Carnival is a celebration of the Caribbean Community, taking place on the August bank holiday weekend every year.

The carnival was forged out of the Notting Hill race riots in the 1950’s and by 1976 it had a distinctly Caribbean flavour. Today, you can expect to be celebrating with around 2 million people making it the largest street festival in Europe.

Stay up to date on the official Notting Hill Carnival website.

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