Notting Hill (Portobello Market), London

North-west of Kensington Gardens lies Notting Hill, known globally for the Hugh Grant-Julia Roberts chick-flick of the same name. The area is also famous for the Notting Hill Carnival. Initiated in the 1960s, the carnival is an annual Caribbean festival held every August with a reputation for good food and even better entertainment.

I had never been to Notting Hill but heard that the district was an attractive, cosmopolitan neighborhood with great shopping and quaint Victorian row houses. Although I wasn’t there in August, I was in the area for the weekly Portobello Road Market so I decided to take the opportunity to visit this as consolation.

Portobello Road is a primary north-south artery which runs almost the entire length of Notting Hill. Every Saturday, the street is closed to traffic and turned into a kilometer-long market complete with antiques, clothing, food and all other treasures (and junk) for sale.

I must admit that I was shocked by how large and congested the market was. The scale should have been immediately obvious when it took almost 10 minutes just to get out of the Notting Hill Gate tube (subway) station. Any uncertainty I had about finding my way to the market was immediately erased by thousands of people flocking in the same direction. The market has become so big that many vendors put up stands on streets leading TO Portobello Road in an attempt to cater to the masses.

I could describe the market but pictures can do more justice than I can. Suffice it to say there were hundreds of thousands of people and it was a spectacularly beautiful spring day. What more could you ask for?

Beautiful Victorian townhouses, Notting Hill

Beautiful Victorian townhouses, Notting Hill

How do you know which way to the Portobello Road Market? Follow the crowds...

How to know which way to the market? Follow the crowds…

Tourist kitsch set up on the street leading to the market

Tourist kitsch set up on the street leading to the market

You know you've arrived when...

You know you’ve arrived when…

You know the market must be big when...

You know it must be big when they have a diagram to outline the market…

The beginning of the market. Did I mention there were a few other people?

Did I mention there were a few people around? I love the whimsical color scheme of the row houses…

Many things on sale, from classic leather briefcases to...

Many things for sale, from classic leather briefcases to…

Portraits and other pictures...

Portraits and other pictures…

Chairs and other furniture...

Chairs and other furniture…

Purses and scarves...

Purses and scarves…

Children's games and puzzles...

Children’s games and puzzles…

To just plain junk...

Just plain junk…

As a Canadian, it warmed my heart to find a pair of skates for sale...

It warmed my heart as a Canadian to find a pair of skates for sale…

And a few more...

More crowds…

Sun-filled alleyway. An oasis of calm in an otherwise crowded market

A sun-filled alleyway. An oasis of calm in an otherwise crowded market…

One of the stores along the street decided to begining collecting vintage Singer sewing machines...

One of the stores along the street decided to begining collecting vintage Singer sewing machines…

Then there was the food...

Then there was the food…

Fresh "Fruit & Veg" as the Brits call it...

Fresh “Fruit & Veg” as the Brits call it, although the plastic on the eggplant is a bit out of place…

My friend and I decided to sample the cusine, including this Paella and churros (I'm not sure why the Spanish theme)

My friend and I decided to sample the paella, followed by churros. I’m not sure why the Spanish theme but did it ever taste good!

'Dis is the life, man! Enjoying the early spring sunshine with tunes playing in the background...

‘Dis is the life, man! Enjoying the early spring sunshine with tunes playing in the background…

I walked the entire length of the market then returned. I was so impressed with the atmosphere and buzz that I suggested my friend come up from his tour of the British Parliament and walked the entire length a third time. All in all, I highly recommend a trip to the market particularly if it is nice fine spring day…

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About Canadianindenmark

A Canadian expat working in the biotechnology industry in Copenhagen, Denmark
This entry was posted in England, European Travels. Bookmark the permalink.

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