Posted by: hiddenlondon | August 26, 2011

Notting Hill – Carnival Time!

Photo: Romazur

Notting Hill is one of London’s most vibrant neighbourhoods.  Portobello Market and the annual Notting Hill Carnival, as well as a certain film starring Hugh Grant and Julia Roberts (see news below), have all given this attractive slice of West London a world-wide reputation, and tourists flock here, mingling with the glitterati and trustafarians!

Portobello Road and Westbourne Grove shape the heart of the area, and this is where the best shops and especially at weekends, the market are to be found.

The market itself is a microcosm of the area as a whole.  At the start near Notting Hill Gate there’s a glorious stretch of antiques, jewellery and vintage clothes stalls and shops.  Then, as it wends its way under the Westway towards Golborne Road it passes through fruit, vegetable and bakery stalls, with a tantalising range of ethnic specialities on offer.  Then it finishes with a flea market and a bargain hunter’s dream selection of second hand clothes and records.

There has been a market held here since 1837, when the area was still relatively undeveloped.  The neoclassical townhouses you now see were built shortly after this time by the Ladbroke family, who gave their name to a couple of roads and a train station here!

West Indian immigrants began moving into the area in large numbers in the 1950s, and it is this group who have been responsible for bringing the riot of colour and noise which is Carnival to the streets of Notting Hill.

The carnival had relatively small beginnings in 1964, but as more and more people – locals, Londoners and tourists, have joined in, the annual August bank holiday event has turned into a massive celebration of London’s unique multi-cultural mix.  This year is no exception, so pop along and let your hair down!

Notting Hill in the News

The travel bookshop owned by Hugh Grant in the movie, or at least the real shop that inspired it, is up for sale.  There is much consternation amongst locals and a collection of poets and writers are offering to work there for free if that will help to keep this hidden london gem open.  For those of us who love books, news of yet another local shop closing is always sad, so hopefully a solution can be found.

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