Notting Hill area guide

Discover the best things to do in Notting Hill, including Portobello Road Market, great cinemas, restaurants, bars and pubs in W11

Portobello Road Market
Portobello Road Market

Notting Hill is so much more than just the setting for a famous movie: it plays host to the Notting Hill Carnival, Europe’s biggest street festival; it’s brimming with fashionable restaurants, bars and shops; and it’s home to one of London’s best markets: Portobello Road Market.

Attracting countless thousands of people to its quirky backstreets and pretty gardens ever week, Notting Hill is the perfect place to spend a weekend. Whether you’re into shopping, eating, film, or just people watching, it’s a great area to lose a few hours (or even a whole day and night) in.

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The best bits of Notting Hill

Five historical things to look out for in Notting Hill
News

Five historical things to look out for in Notting Hill

Time to play ‘I spy’... 

12 great things to do on Portobello Road
News

12 great things to do on Portobello Road

Discover the street famous for its half-mile-long antiques market (the largest in the world)

Restaurants in Notting Hill

108 Garage
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108 Garage

If I told you that this garage (duh) conversion at the crappy end of Portobello Road – founded by a tousle-haired former financier with a country-hotel chef he found on Gumtree – was the capital’s flavour of the month… well, the more cynical among you would be forgiven for eye-rolling me out of the room. But that’s just what’s happened. This publicist’s wet dream of a backstory has resulted in a rather lovely spot that, while not quite a game-changer – and despite subsisting purely on word of mouth for its first few months – is already an utter bastard to get a table at. The dining room is a handsome mix of dark mid-century furniture, bare bricks, corrugated iron and great washes of copper. Decoration is eccentric: a display of pipe fittings hangs on one wall; a dystopian, vorticist-style metal artwork on another, facing a painting that’s half Henry VIII and half Vigo the Carpathian from ‘Ghostbusters II’. Cabbages dot the bar. The place is muscular, atmospheric and ever so slightly ’90s. Staff are casual, verging on matey, but extremely charming. Pats on the back all round, then. Ah, but the food. The star turns come last. There is sweet potato ice cream on a Styrofoam-light bed of popcorn and zingy sheep’s yoghurt. More memorable still is a dense chocolate crémeux, which comes with an ace artichoke ice cream perched on a mound of toasted wild rice (maggots in appearance, Proustian Rice Krispies in practice). Everything in between is meticulous. Decent sourdough comes wi

Time Out says
4 out of 5 stars
Users say
3 out of 5 stars
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Farmacy
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Farmacy

If Jay Gatsby had fled West Egg for the beaches of Bali, his new home would probably look a lot like west London’s latest health food spot. Farmacy (as in health from the farm, geddit?) is free from most things – dairy, refined sugars, meat, additives and chemical nasties – though happily, not taste. In fact, it’s packed with all kinds of taste, from the food coming out of the kitchen to the ultra-sleek décor. Despite being a vegan-friendly restaurant there is a reassuring lack of hemp, and pretty bamboo is tempered with beautiful brushed gold. It’s smart, to be sure, but the atmosphere is relaxed and the staff are really friendly and, more importantly, not at all stuck-up. Farmacy boasts ‘clean indulgence’, which means that the menu has lots of naughty-sounding but actually super-healthy things to choose from. The mushroom tagliatelle, made with spelt flour, had a good bite to it and the truffle sauce was rich and earthy without being sickly. Their eponymous burger had a nice, nutty texture and was loaded with avocado pickle, so despite being vegan it was bicep-curlingly meaty. And chips on the side were delicious proof that you don’t need animal fat to fry a potato.  A good vegan dessert is harder to come by than the 347 bus, and the brownie sundae here doesn’t cut it either. Instead, order the brilliantly zingy lemon cheesecake; light and creamy but with the kind of biscuit base Gregg Wallace would appreciate. All-in-all, it’s a crowd-pleasingly delicious spot – go with

Time Out says
4 out of 5 stars
Users say
4 out of 5 stars
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Fez Mangal
Restaurants

Fez Mangal

A compact, no-frills Turkish BYO on Ladbroke Grove.

Users say
5 out of 5 stars
The Ledbury
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The Ledbury

Few haute establishments have the hospitable hum of the Ledbury. Whether it’s due to the off-centre location, the Aussie input, or diners’ sheer delight in securing a table, this former pub remains top-tier for gustatory good times. British ingredients – Hampshire buffalo milk curd, smoked eel, Cumbrian lamb – line up alongside delicacies such as Tokyo turnips, Bresse chicken and black truffle, but it’s chef Brett Graham’s clever contemporary treatment of them that sets the place apart. Best go for the set lunch or commit to the mesmerising £105 tasting menu; at £80 for three courses, the carte does not have the other menus’ winning sense of value, particularly if you choose the simpler ingredient-led dishes. A spring plate of creamed Jersey Royals with morels cooked in tea would have been a delightful inclusion in a dégustation, but served as a starter was not sufficiently above mashed potato to justify the outlay, even though the mushrooms were sublime. Ledbury signatures, however, are consistently thrilling – particularly the flame-grilled mackerel with pickled cucumber, celtic mustard and shiso; and, well, all the desserts. The wine list is personable with a particularly good choice of sweet wines by the glass, plus great beers from Australia, the US and even Notting Hill. 

Time Out says
5 out of 5 stars
Users say
5 out of 5 stars
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Things to do in Notting Hill

Notting Hill Arts Club
Nightlife

Notting Hill Arts Club

Dedicated to polymorphic pleasures of very much an arts-based kind, this scruffily chic basement centre is home to – among other regular events like RoTa and Radio Gagarin – YoYo, which is still rammed every Thursday after almost a decade of programming hip hop, garage/grime, dubstep and bassline-heavy acts.

Users say
4 out of 5 stars
Notting Hill Carnival
Things to do

Notting Hill Carnival

Dancing, music and masquerade – join the fun this August with our guide to all things Carnival 2014 Essential Notting Hill Carnival information Popular events this week Real Food Market Now weekly, the Real Food Market features around 40 food and drink producers selling seasonal produce directly to the public.

Bars in Notting Hill

GinTonica
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GinTonica

If gin is your lifeblood, save this Notting Hill bar in your Citymapper favourites. On the first floor of The Distillery – home of Portobello Road Gin – GinTonica sits alongside The Ginstitute’s museum and blending room, cocktail bar The Resting Room and London’s first gin hotel. So much gin. No surprise, then, that the gin menu is excitingly extensive, with spirits from Alicante, Brooklyn, Hamburg, Perth, Camden and more, all served in a traditional copa de balon. Some come nearly neat but with fancy garnishes. The classic Portobello Road Gin 171, nicely pimped up with juniper berries and pink grapefruit, was a fresh and fruity nod to a G&T, while the Gin Mare, this time topped with black pepper, basil and a twist of mango, was subtly sensational. Those made with mixers are even more adventurous. The bar’s Gin & Tonic Plus drinks tread a line between your typical tipple and more flamboyant cocktails. Here, the house gin was served with Pamplemousse liqueur, hop bitters, grapefruit marmalade and Nordic Mist blue tonic water: a cerulean-coloured potion you’ll have to exercise serious willpower not to share on social media. Stepping into Gintonica is like stepping inside 2017’s Pinterest account. It’s bright and bold, all botanical prints, copper accents, Scandi simplicity and terrariums. The space is intimate and the curved bar, home to a mountain of gin bottles, is the centrepiece. Spirits are the star here but the food was solid. Boquerones – fresh, plump anchovies on cr

Time Out says
4 out of 5 stars
Users say
4 out of 5 stars
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Trailer Happiness
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Trailer Happiness

This popular Portobello Road basement bar calls itself a tiki bar, but the hilariously dodgy decor resists simple categorisation. It looks like a suburban-American rumpus room circa 1964; even Alan Partridge might find it a bit much. But underneath the thick layer of kitsch is a very good cocktail bar. Staff go to great lengths to make sure you order the right drink for you, and the bartenders know their business. They also spin a great ’60s playlist. On weekdays, even though there can be sizeable crowds, you’ll be okay without booking. The semi-private room at the back is great for larger groups; the booths near the entrance are cosy, but have cramped leg-room.

Time Out says
5 out of 5 stars
Users say
4 out of 5 stars
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Rum Kitchen Notting Hill
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Rum Kitchen Notting Hill

There surely can't be a more jolly place to drink in Notting Hill: colourful wooden wall-slats and furniture fill the upstairs bar, and down in the party-time basement there’s good reggae, very friendly staff and rum, rum and more rum. The selection is enormous, and you could spend weeks here without getting through it all. On the cocktail front, there are plenty of big fruity numbers, but the classicism of a perfect daiquiri makes us think this is the way to go. There’s a happy hour from 6pm to 8pm too. If you stay later, you’ll probably find yourself unable to resist the lure of jerk chicken, saltfish fritters or just an enormous bowl of sweet potato fries.

Time Out says
4 out of 5 stars
Users say
4 out of 5 stars
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Negozio Classica
Restaurants

Negozio Classica

Part owned by Tuscany’s Avignonesi winery, Negozio Classica is set up to showcase the full range of Avignonesi wines in the best way possible – serving them by the glassful. There’s also a careful selection of other Italian wines, many of them organic or biodynamic. In addition to the 25 or so by-the-glass offerings (starting at a considerate £4), there’s a monthly ‘flight’: introductory tasters of three wines from a particular region, served in elegant glassware by an enthusiastic sommelier. Visit the Portobello store at cocktail hour, however, and you might think you’d arrived at the Aperol centre of London, as the entire premises – back room, bar, window seats and half the pavement – are packed with slick-suited Italian business men, artfully torn-jean and Prada toters, colourful local shopkeepers and gossip-sharing ladies, all clutching huge glasses brimming with bright orange Aperol spritz. Nibbles come free at this time of day, and very good they are too – enough to persuade punters to indulge in platters of antipasti (specially imported Tuscan cured meats, cheeses and olives of excellent quality), generous mounds of soft cheeses and grilled vegetables or even a tagliata salad of grilled Aberdeen Angus. We couldn’t resist pouring a little Occhio di Pernice, a fantastically concentrated dessert wine akin to fig balsamic, over a wobbly vanilla panna cotta – sheer heaven. No one batted an eyelid.  

Time Out says
4 out of 5 stars
Users say
3 out of 5 stars
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Hotels in Notting Hill

The Distillery
Hotels

The Distillery

London’s very first ‘gin hotel’ brings to mind mother’s ruin pouring from the taps (which would bring new meaning to the term ‘bathtub gin’). In reality, this three-bedroom boutique hotel in Notting Hill doesn’t quite have you swimming in the stuff, but as it’s opening during the height of a new-wave gin craze that’s swept across London, it’s certainly tapped into something good. The concept comes from the team behind Portobello Road Gin and although they’ve operated successful bars, restaurants and even a gin museum across London and Leeds, this is their first foray into the overnight stay. The hotel comprises ‘lodgings’ – those three en-suite bedrooms on the building’s peaceful top floor – two bars and The Ginstitute in the basement, a place for gin master classes. Brightly coloured Spanish bar-restaurant GinTonica is well worth a visit once you’ve checked in, serving goblet-sized G&Ts and decent tapas dishes. And if you find yourself all ginned out, the relaxed Resting Room on ground level is a smart bar serving barrel-aged spirits – ideal for a nightcap before you head upstairs. For more of that nightcap fodder, the bedroom’s mini bar is as well stocked as you’d hope, with pre-mixed cocktails (using Portobello Road Gin, of course) stocked and included in the price of the room. Beds are ample-pillowed, so you can recline with a first-rate negroni. Or shake up cocktails with fresh fruit garnishes – you’ll find all the equipment you need stocked on a gorgeous vintage drink

Time Out says
4 out of 5 stars
Users say
5 out of 5 stars
The Laslett

The Laslett

Right by Notting Hill Gate tube, stuffed with British furniture and artworks, the Laslett was a terrific addition to the area. There's a laudable commitment to local products across the hotel's five interconnecting townhouses (you'll find London-based Sipsmith gin, Workshop Coffee and Joe's Tea), as well as a fine lobby bar and a library of arty books. The rooms have Big - not mini - bars, classic Penguins for bedtime reading and smellies from Neal's Yard Remedies.

Users say
4 out of 5 stars
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Pubs in Notting Hill

Churchill Arms
Bars and pubs

Churchill Arms

Not that most tourists would know, but there seems to be a contradiction here. The Churchill, a celebration of the wartime leader (they even estimate the number of champagne bottles the man consumed), is in fact an Irish pub – didn’t Ireland remain neutral during World War II? Regardless, this is a fine establishment, part homely tavern (it’s a Fuller’s, and the beer is excellent) and part Thai restaurant. Character is provided by the lived-in feel and mass of junk – portraits of prime ministers and American presidents, the documented triumphs of the Clare GAA hurling team, shiny copper things. The verdant frontage, embellished by an image of Churchill giving the V, is a regular winner in its category of the London in Bloom competition. Tourists love it, yes, but the regulars here include locals, and not just the posh ones.

Time Out says
3 out of 5 stars
Users say
4 out of 5 stars
Cow
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Cow

Owner Tom Conran was a gastropub pioneer, and the Cow continues to serve fine, pricey, fish-oriented food in its upstairs restaurant. Eating in the smallish downstairs bar is a different proposition: seating is pub-style (small round tables, banquettes and stools); the short menu is chalked on a blackboard, and no reservations are taken. It’s unpretentious, down to the anti-decor red lino and the yellowing ceiling, with drinkers at the front putting away well-poured Guinness and a good selection of Belgian and other beers, while diners at the back enjoy some fine food and a boho west London vibe. Again, seafood takes centre stage, with oysters, whelks and winkles, and prawns by the pint. Tiger prawns, for a starter, were big and juicy, served in an unashamedly rich sauce. But the star attraction was fish stew with rouille and croûtons: mussels, salmon, little bits of fish in batter, all packed into a heavily flavoured, dark, dense and soupy sauce, dotted with little flakes of chilli (the rouille also packed some chilli heat) – a sumptuous version of a classic. Tagliolini with crab, tomato and chilli was also a winner: a generous amount of crabmeat, subtly warm with chilli, served with pasta cooked precisely al dente. The likes of steak and sausages round out the bar menu. Staff were charming.  

Time Out says
4 out of 5 stars
Users say
4 out of 5 stars
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The Eagle
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The Eagle

Venue says: “Spread over two floors, downstairs you’ll find a classic, relaxed pub complete with wood fire and spectacularly fresh Truman’s Raw beer.”

Time Out says
4 out of 5 stars
Users say
5 out of 5 stars
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The Elgin
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The Elgin

The few patrons in place on a Thursday mid-afternoon were dawdling luxuriously in this big, airy neighbourhood hangout, and it was a treat to join them. This is not just a coffee place. It’s an ex-boozer, and alcohol still features prominently. As does a short menu bringing in international touches alongside more traditional pub grub, such as a sausage sandwich, in this case using bangers from the renowned Ginger Pig butcher. Nearly everything is made on the premises, including bread, and when something has to be bought in, the barista said, it’s a form of ‘cheating’. Beans come from Coleman Coffee, and alongside the house espresso blend there are single-estate coffees – rare in espresso. The barista wasn’t satisfied with his first two attempts for geeky technical reasons, so he persevered – and the third one was glorious, with bright berry notes. His perfectionism sums up a lot about this gem. Maida Valeites should cherish it.

Time Out says
4 out of 5 stars
Users say
4 out of 5 stars
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The perfect weekend in Notting Hill

Buy: Portobello Road Market
Shopping

Buy: Portobello Road Market

Sift through antiques, vintage clothes and fascinating bric-a-brac

Users say
4 out of 5 stars
Watch: Electric Cinema

Watch: Electric Cinema

One of London’s oldest cinemas and definitely the most romantic

Users say
5 out of 5 stars
Buy tickets
See: Trellick Tower
Attractions

See: Trellick Tower

Gawp in wonder at one of London’s most famous brutalist buildings

Drink: Trailer Happiness
Bars and pubs Book online

Drink: Trailer Happiness

Underneath the thick layer of kitsch is a very good cocktail bar

Time Out says
5 out of 5 stars
Users say
4 out of 5 stars
Book online

Heading to Notting Hill Carnival?

Notting Hill Carnival guide
Music

Notting Hill Carnival guide

Dancing, music and masquerade – join the Carnival fun in Notting Hill this August bank holiday weekend

Notting Hill Carnival soundsystems
Music

Notting Hill Carnival soundsystems

Plan your party route with the Time Out Notting Hill Carnival soundsystem A-Z

A spotter's guide to Notting Hill Carnival
Music

A spotter's guide to Notting Hill Carnival

There are those who dance and those who get danced on. Win seven points if you spot a copper who’s perfected the bogle

Our top 10 Carnival anthems
Music

Our top 10 Carnival anthems

We pick ten tunes that have defined Carnival over the years…

More from Notting Hill area guide

Restaurants

Brimming with great cafés and restaurants, Notting Hill will always have the perfect meal to suit both your tastebuds and budget. From simple fish and chips at Geales to modern cuisine at the Notting Hill Brasserie, find a restaurant with our essential...

Comments

3 comments
Richard C

I thought you might be interested to watch the film, which shows how a group of passionate social reformers set about tackling the appalling housing conditions found in Notting Hill in the mid-1960s. Their vision led to the formation of Notting Hill Housing, an organisation which for the past 50 years has worked to provide decent and affordable homes for people in the area and beyond. Here’s the link:


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=j1vcLoJnmsQ


Alex B

The Portobello Print and Map Shop is easily the best store in London's most famous antique market. With original antique prints and maps dating back to the seventeenth century, you can spend hours browsing their shelves and are guaranteed to find something unique and stunning to decorate your house with.