In The Neighbourhood: Notting Hill ------------------------------------

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Notting Hill, known for its artistic and boho vibes, is probably the neighbourhood that most epitomises London’s diversity and eccentricity. It’s also one of the most well-known areas in the city, famous for its Portobello Road market, its yearly street carnival and the stage of novels and romantic comedy Notting Hill starring Hugh Grant and Julia Roberts in 1999.

Very run-down till the 1980s, Notting Hill, like many other areas, has seen a wave of gentrification which makes it rank today amongst the most affluent and sought-after districts. It also still attracts people from the arts and has a very cosmopolitan community, with a recently strong Brazilian and Portuguese presence.

Sitting within the Royal Borough of Kensington & Chelsea, it is directly connected to the Central, District and Circle lines through Notting Hill station, as well as to local bus services. Count about 20 – 25 min to the City, 10 -15 min to Mayfair by public transport. The Hammersmith & City Tube line is also accessible through Westbourne Park and Ladbroke Grove stations.

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 Notting Hill is well known for its vibrant façades, concentric circles of streets (as originally planned by architect Thomas Allason for the Ladbroke estate) and large number of private communal gardens, the largest of which is Ladbroke Square Garden. Its streets are lined with terraced homes, as well as semi detached and detached homes (those along Pembridge Villas are amongst the largest in the area). Westbourne Gardens and St Luke’s Road also offer a selection of modern built flats.

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Average listed rental prices (per month) for a good 2 bedroom flat ranges from £2,500 to £2,800, and from £3,800 to £4,550 for a 3 bedroom flat. Rates will depend on the type of property, and tend to be higher if it includes access to a communal garden.

Notting Hill has a range of highly regarded schools, both in primary and secondary education. These include Colville Primary School, Avondale Park Primary School, Holland Park School, Notting Hill Preparatory School, Notting Hill and Ealing High School, as well as the Spanish School (Instituto Español Canada Blanch).

The Parks

Notting Hill has scores of private communal gardens, some of which can be visited by the general public during Open Garden Squares Weekend (in June).

Holland Park is the largest park in the Royal Borough of Kensington & Chelsea, with 22.5 hectares of gardens, children’s play area, sports area and woodland. It comprises Kyoto Garden, a Japanese garden donated in 1991 by the Chamber of Commerce of Kyoto, as well as the Ecology Centre that runs educational programmes and events all year long.

Kensington Gardens & Hyde Park are also a short walk away.

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Notting Hill Carnival

An annual event occurring on the Summer Bank Holiday (last weekend of August), Notting Hill Carnival is one of the world’s largest street festivals (gathering about 1 million people) and a major event in British Culture. Led by members of the British West Indian community, it showcases an eclectic ensemble of music, dancing, as well as various cultural activities, food stalls etc.

Portobello Road Market

"Portobello road, Portobello road
Street where the riches of ages are stowed.
Anything and everything a chap can unload
Is sold off the barrow in Portobello road.
You’ll find what you want in the Portobello road."
Bedknobs & Broomsticks, Walt Disney Studios, Sherman Brothers

With over 1,000 dealers, Portobello Road is the world’s largest antiques market. It becomes fully operational on Friday and Saturday, with hundreds of stalls open and offering bric-à-brac, apparel and vintage clothing, food and of course antiques. A smaller selection of shops and boutiques remain open throughout the week.

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An eclectic range of shopping options

From Westborne Grove, Ledbury Road, Pembridge Road to Elgin Crescent (to name but a few), you will find Notting Hill offers many shopping options, as well as a host of buzzing coffee shops, pubs and restaurants.

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  • Groceries: Golborne Fisheries, Jeroboams, Little Waitrose, Notting Hill Farmer’s Market, Planet Organic, Tesco, Valentina Fine Foods
  • Antiquities: Alice’s Antiques, Les Couilles du Chien, Phoenix, The Portobello Antique Store, The Portobello Print & Map Shop

  • Fashion & Apparel: Ba&Sh, Bonpoint, Brora, Cath Kidson, Heidi Klein, Hobbs, Jigsaw, Joseph, LK. Bennett, Maje, Sandro, Zadig & Voltaire

  • Health & Beauty: Aesop, Boots, Diptyque, D R Evans Pharmacy, Neal’s Yard Remedies, NK Space

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The Pubs & Restaurants

A few popular options:

  • Books for Cooks – a cookbook shop, a test kitchen, and a 3-course meal lunch from one of their books (if you’re lucky to grab a table on time) – Blenheim Crescent

  • Cottons Restaurant & Rhum Shack – one of London’s oldest Carribean restaurants, offering both classic (‘jerk chicken’) and more unique dishes and proud owner of the Guiness World Record for the most amount of rums commercially available (372) (Notting Hill Gate)

  • Daylesford Organic – combination of café and food store offering a range of organic products – meat, cheese, bread, fruit & vegetable – along with a coffee shop / restaurant; it makes a great place to hang out with family and friends (Westbourne Grove)

  • Galicia – serving amazing Spanish delicacies from the north-western region of the same name the since 1989, this is a Notting Hill institution (Portobello Road)

  • Granger & Co – Relaxed, friendly setting for this all-day restaurant set up by Autralian restaurateur and food writer Bill Granger (Westbourne Grove)

  • Ottolenghi – a local favourite, to eat in or take-away, serving largely organic, healthy salads, pastries and other Italian food (Ledbury Road)

  • The Ledbury – for those looking for a friendly fine-dining experience, this two-Michelin starred restaurant comes highly recommended (Ledbury Road)

  • The Shed – started by the West Sussex bred Gladwin brothers, serves saeasonal, modern British food with an emphasis on “from farm to table” concept (Palace Gardens Terrace)

  • The Sun in Splendour – Victorian pub with a whitewashed beer garden (Portobello Road)

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Celebrities

Notting Hill is one of those known celebrity hubspots in London. Jamie Oliver, Stella McCartney, Claudia Schiffer, Robbie Williams, Simon Cowell are but a few that are known for staying in the area.

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Schools & Medical Facilities

Notting Hill is home to a large range of high quality schools, which is one of the primary reasons for families to move to the area. Primary schools such as

Colville Primary School and Avondale Park Primary School or secondary schools like Holland Park School (turned academy in 2013) have good Ofsted ratings. Independent school choices include Notting Hill Preparatory School, Wetherby Pre Preparatory School and Notting Hill and Ealing High School. Notting Hill also boasts an international school options with Southbank International School.

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Source: www.schoolsnet.com

More details can be found by searching by postcode, school name or type of school on Schoolsnet.

From Notting Hill, there is easy access to hospitals in neighbouring area such as St Mary’s Hospital (Paddington), Royal Brompton Hospital (Chelsea), Hammersmith Hospital, The Wellington Hospital (St John’s Wood).

Do you live in the neighbourhood? Do you have more tips & advice? Share your experience and add your comments below!

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