The Top Things to Do in Notting Hill

Notting Hill is a fashionable and quintessentially London destination | © Paolo Paradiso / Alamy Stock Photo
Photo of Judy Cogan
24 August 2021

Thanks to the charm of a certain 90s movie, Notting Hill has been etched onto every tourist’s mental map as a quintessentially London destination. Whether you want to rummage through Portobello Market, browse Lutyens & Rubinstein, or visit the famous blue door. There’s plenty to do in this West London neighbourhood.

Shop for Vintage Finds on Portobello Road

Market
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Portobello Road Market. Portobello Road forms the backbone of Notting Hill
© Gregory Wrona / Alamy Stock Photo
This vibrant street forms the backbone of Notting Hill. Portobello is home to the largest antique market in the world, with more than 1,000 dealers tending to hordes of shoppers every Saturday. In the 1940s, vintage sellers joined the traditional food stalls and rag-and-bone traders. The market hit a dip thereafter, but began to thrive again in the 1980s and has been a popular destination ever since. To this day, it’s still a fantastic place to pick up one-of-a-kind items, as are the permanent shops and eateries that now line the street.

Make your Own Cookies at Biscuiteers Boutique and Icing Cafe

Cafe, Dessert, $$$
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A view at Portobello Road Market
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This shrine to confectionery creates every conceivable type of sweet treat: from elaborately iced cakes and personalised chocolates to an incredible selection of lavishly decorated biscuits. Not only is Biscuiteers the perfect place to pick up a special gift, there’s also afternoon tea on offer – as well as the Biscuiteers School of Icing, where you can learn to create your own deliciously intricate masterpieces.

Discover Street Art at Graffik Gallery

Art Gallery
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This specialist gallery represents work from some of the greatest urban artists in the world, including Banksy, Stik and the Dotmaster. They also host exhibitions and special workshops that give groups the opportunity to try out graffiti and stencil processes for themselves. Graffik Gallery is instantly recognisable by the specially commissioned three-storey mural that adorns the shopfront, which was painted by none other than the Dotmaster.

Get Lost in Literature at Lutyens & Rubinstein

Shop
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Founded in 2009 by literary agents, Lutyens and Rubinstein is a wonderful bookshop that features hundreds of fiction and non-fiction titles – including children’s stories, art and poetry. With a commitment to considered and expert service, they offer personal shoppers for anyone with a gift voucher of more than £100. Bibliophiles can look into their mail-order services, including a Year In Books and a Year With One Author. There is also plenty on offer beyond the printed page, including a unique crockery range and artistic tote bags.

Tuck into Great British Produce at the Shed

Restaurant, Contemporary, British, $$$
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The Shed
© Gladwin Brothers
The Sussex-born Gladwin Brothers have employed the farm-to-fork principle at their seasonal modern restaurant – the first of four London establishments. All of the dishes are created using fresh British produce, much of which comes from the farm belonging to one of the brothers. Expect the likes of Oxford sandy and black pork, as well as AAA Maldon Rock oysters, served with unique garnishes like English wasabi and ginger. The menu changes daily and is divided into slow and fast cooking. Enjoy.

Buy Old Records at Rough Trade

Bookstore, Shop
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Rough Trade West Record Shop Notting Hill London
© Neil Setchfield / Alamy Stock Photo
The original Rough Trade record shop opened in 1976 in the midst of the punk revolution. It remains here today, just off Portobello Road, though there are now additional sites across the UK and one in New York City. The store continues to champion independent record labels and emerging artists – as well as a host of rare and limited-edition vinyl offerings.

Catch a Show at the Tabernacle

Theater
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The wow factor hits the moment you lay eyes on this Grade II-listed building in Powis Square. Built in 1887 as a church, the curved red brick romanesque façade of the Tabernacle now hosts live music, boxing matches, theatre shows and art exhibitions. In the summer, the bar and kitchen move outside to a gorgeous garden courtyard. The menu is Caribbean with light bites – think wings, squid and fritters – and mains: curries, dhal puri and jerk chicken to name a few.

Sip an Extraordinarily Good G&T at the Ginstitute

Bar, British
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NOTTING HILL, LONDON:  The Ginstitute Distillery in Portobello Road
© Chris Lawrence / Alamy Stock Photo

Gin is by far the most quintessential London drink. The Ginstitute is a special distillery that will take you on a deep dive into gin’s colourful and checkered past. Your Ginstructor will show you various botanical distillates, so you can create a bespoke gin blend to take home – with a fair bit of tasting along the way. The Resting Room is the sophisticated restaurant here with a menu of classic British dishes and a heady range of gin-based cocktails.

Discover Old Classics at the Museum of Brands

Museum
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The Museum of Brands does exactly what it says on the tin. Here you will go on a nostalgic journey through 200 years of social change, culture and lifestyle looking at history through the things that generations of families have thrown away. Everything from sugary cereals to limited edition sauces from your childhood is brought back to life in the museum’s Time Tunnel, which goes all the way back to how people lived in the Victorian times.

Watch a Film at the Electric Cinema

Building, Cinema, Movie Theater
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Hats for sale at a market on Portabello road, Notting Hill, London.Behind is the blue facade of Electric Cinema.
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This wonderful independent cinema on Portobello Road is woven into the very fabric of Notting Hill. It is London’s oldest operating purpose-built picture house, having opened in 1910 – complete with inside fire buckets still hanging on the walls as a nod to its storied past. The cinema itself is ornate with high ceilings and original features intact – with wide and luxurious red velvet seats each with a table and light and a pioneering programme of films from the Oscar magnets to the classics.

Learn to Skateboard at BAYSIXTY6

Skate Park
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For years, it was known as Playstation Skatepark, but once Xbox took on the sponsorship, it became BAYSIXTY6. In late 2011, Nike SB finished refurbishing the park into the skate haven you see today. It is huge, undercover and illuminated at night with all the ramps, rails and ledges to challenge everyone from pro skaters to beginners. Get involved, sign up for tuition at the Skate Academy or watch skaters do their thing from the seating area.

Snap a Selfie at the Famous Notting Hill Blue Door

Cinema
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Tourists taking photographs outside the blue door of 280 Westbourne Park Road, the exterior of which featured in the 1999 film 'Notting Hill' as the place where Hugh Grant's character lived, in west London.
© PA Images / Alamy Stock Photo

A visit to Notting Hill is not complete without paying homage to the eponymous 90s movie starring Hugh Grant and Julia Roberts. The famous blue door – the entrance to the flat that Grant’s character, William Thacker, shares with Spike (Rhys Ifans) – can be found at 280 Westbourne Park Road. Head around the corner to find other film landmarks, such as the travel bookshop.

Holly Black contributed additional reporting to this article.

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