Your Guide to London Notting Hill
Where is Notting Hill?
Catapulted into fame by the film Notting Hill and renowned for being the location of Notting Hill Carnival and the Portobello Road Market, Notting Hill is an exciting, chic and truly mesmerising place for you to visit. Part of the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea, Notting Hill is based inside the congestion charging zone and surrounded by well known places like Kensington, North Kensington, Shepherds Bush and Bayswater. You can use Notting Hill’s tube stations (Notting Hill Gate in tube zone 1 and Westbourne Park plus Ladbroke Road in tube zone 2) to get around the rest of London with ease.
History of Notting Hill
Notting Hill was rural until London’s expansion reached nearby Bayswater. The Ladbroke family, who owned most of the land in the area, started constructing streets and houses to create a fashionable 1820’s suburb. When the Hippodrome Racecourse which circled Notting Hill became waterlogged and closed in 1841, houses were built on this land following the original tracks of the racecourse. Today this is the most prosperous and elegant part of Notting Hill, but at the time it didn’t attract the richest people - Notting Hill was slightly too far from Central London for their liking!
The large houses of Notting Hill even lost their middle class market at the start of the 20th century and were crudely split up into flats and bed sits. Post war Notting Hill was actually one of the poorest neighbourhoods in the 1950’s, full of slums lorded over by racketeering landlords like Peter Rachman that attracted an influx of Caribbean immigrants and trouble (most notably the Notting Hill Race Riots). Redevelopment in the 60’s and 70’s wiped out the slums and the 1980’s brought with it the desire for single occupancy once again. Writers, actors, politicians and pop stars have flooded into the area and thanks to the film Notting Hill property prices have soared! Notting Hill is now one of the trendiest, richest and multicultural neighbourhoods in London. You can’t afford to miss it!
The Positives of Notting Hill
Obviously the most fantastic thing about Notting Hill is when the streets come alive with the Notting Hill Carnival which celebrates the neighbourhood’s Afro-Caribbean heritage over the August bank holiday. As this is the largest street carnival in Europe you can join the two million revellers who come to see the flamboyant costume parades, steel bands and live music stages. There’s much more to Notting Hill than the carnival though, including vibrant Portobello Road Market, stunning houses, fabulous shopping and delightful restaurants, which are all waiting for you! Even Notting Hill’s location is huge plus point as it’s really close to attractions like Kensington Gardens and transport links like Paddington Station. As Notting Hill has three tube stations it’s easy to explore the rest of the capital, making this a must stay place!
Need to Know Notting Hill
Notting Hill is a really lively place, which you would expect as its home to the massive Notting Hill Carnival and the bustling Portobello Road Market. You should prepare yourself for a 24 hour party atmosphere at any time of year, although the streets are much quieter when the carnival isn’t on! When you arrive you might feel slightly disappointed as Notting Hill Gate isn’t the most attractive high street in London, but don’t be despondent as you only have to go slightly off the beaten track to see beautiful houses and garden squares. Just don’t expect all of Notting Hill to be like this as there are still areas of deprivation north of the Westway, but you won’t need to venture that far anyway. You may also feel that Notting Hill is traffic clogged, but isn’t any district of a capital city?