Behind the blue door: a guide to Notting Hill’s delights

Just like in that box-office blockbuster romcom that shares this area’s name, on a visit to London you might fancy looking for your own magic moment in the heart of Notting Hill. But instead of aimlessly wandering around Portobello Market with an open cup of orange juice and romanticised intentions of meeting a celebrity incognito, why not find out what you should be on the hunt for in this cultural haven of West London…?

Portobello Road Market (Portobello Road W11)

Its 150-year-old reputation has helped make Portobello & Golborne Market the world’s largest, with antiques, knick-knacks and collectibles from over 1,000 dealers to choose from. Shops and stalls are open daily; however, there’s a mile-long plethora of possibilities on Fridays and Saturdays.

Notting Hill Carnival (Notting Hill, Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea)

Established 50 years ago this summer, this celebration of culture and diversity is still going strong as Europe’s biggest street party, awash with parade floats, music and food. Usually spread across a festive two-day period, this year it takes place on 28th and 29th August.

The Ginstitute (171 Portobello Road W11 2DY)

Renowned as London’s second smallest museum, this little gem also boasts a specialised gin bar. Taste concoctions and check out exhibits from the Prohibition-era, including a vintage copper still, antique bottles and cocktail books. And learn all about the wondrous gin berries you may take for granted.

Electric Cinema (191 Portobello Road W11 2ED)

A unique but much loved landmark of the capital, the Electric Cinema’s one of London’s oldest picture houses. Now restored, it harks back to the Golden Age of cinema with classic screenings of favourite films, as well as arthouse releases and mainstream movies.

The Blue Door (131 Portobello Road W11 2DY)

Perfect for a photo opportunity that simply can’t be missed is this famous meeting point of star-crossed lovers Hugh Grant and Julia Roberts in Richard Curtis’s aforementioned 1999 film. One of the highlights on any Notting Hill guide list, surely! To feel even more at home with this familiar locale, why not open your own door to a suite you’ve booked at the London Premier Notting Hill?

The Tabernacle (34-35 Powis Square W11 2AY)

This Grade II-listed building’s actually a community centre with historic roots, but where you can catch breakfast, brunch, dinner, drinks, Pilates, Yoga or even take a dance class. In addition to hosting gigs and musical performances, there are also exhibitions and pop-up events that adorn its schedule.

Diana Princess of Wales Memorial Playground (The Broad Walk, Kensington Gardens W8)

Opened on the 30th June 2000, in memory of the late Princess Diana, this playground’s located near her former home at Kensington Palace. Children flock to it, not least because it boasts a giant wooden pirate ship as its alluring centrepiece, as well as a beach, sensory trail and tepees galore. Further afield in the 265 acres of Kensington Gardens, you’ll find the Albert Memorial, the Italian Gardens, the Peter Pan Statue and the sublime Serpentine Galleries.

Graffik gallery (284 Portobello Road W10 5TE)

This pioneering West London gallery is unique in that it’s the first venue to showcase street art. Graffik captivates and assaults the senses with a fresh and contemporary display of urban talent, with exhibits featuring everyone from Banksy, Mr Brainwash and D*Face to Damien Hirst, as well as the works of Andy Warhol.

Museum of Brands, Packaging and Advertising (11-117 Lancaster Road W11 1QT)

Why not sweep down the aisles of shops from yesteryear with a look back at the consumer trends dating back to the Victorian era? Exhibitions and design workshops are regularly held here to encourage visitors to engage and interact with the brands that have shaped our everyday lives.

Beach Blanket Babylon (45 Ledbury Road W11 2AA)

Regarded as ‘Notting Hill’s best kept secret’, this stylish restaurant’s the perfect place to feast on a range of European cuisines from the opulence of the Crypt, the Gallery, the Chapel or the Scullery – rooms with ornate style and substance. The decadence of its Ballroom makes it the ideal backdrop for masked balls, cocktail parties, film premieres and celebrations on a grand scale.

Westfield London (Ariel Way W12 7GF)

Given this enormous mall’s open until 10pm, you can truly shop till you drop here, especially with its amazing amount of stores all to be found under one roof. Browse top high-street and luxury brands, from All Saints and Apple to Zara and Zizzi. And, once you’ve had your fill of retail therapy, why not catch on a film at the in-house VUE cinema?

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