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The DJD Guide to: Notting Hill

As one of London’s leading property marketing companies, we’ve got to know the capital pretty well over the years. One of our most popular areas (and one of our favourites, too) is certainly Notting Hill – it’s cool, colourful, and it’s got lots of character. In our first DJD area guide we’re sharing all our top picks that our photographers love to visit when they’re not taking snaps of houses – plus some of our insider knowledge on the best roads, schools and transport links that we’ve picked up from talking to vendors. So here you have it, the DJD Guide to Notting Hill!

In This Post

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Where is Notting Hill?

Notting Hill is in the west of London, sandwiched between Shepherds Bush and Bayswater, with Kensington to the south and Hammersmith to the north, separated from Notting Hill by the Westway trunk road (otherwise known as the A40). The area was known as the Piggeries and Potteries in the early 19th century for its local brick kilns and pig farmers, but today it’s much more upmarket. The Ladbroke family began developing the area in the 1820s and since then the area has survived WWII bombings and race riots to become a sought-after place to live.

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Living in Notting Hill

Despite being close to the heart of London, Notting Hill is always noted by residents as having more of a village feel – there’s a real community spirit here. It goes without saying that this is not a cheap area and prices are even higher if you’re looking to live in one of Notting Hill’s paintbox townhouses. While these are the most desirable, there are some downsides: notably, a line of tourists waiting to take photos outside your front door. The Grade II*-listed Royal Crescent is one of Notting Hill’s most sought-after addresses, with elegant stucco-fronted buildings fronting onto a private, leafy garden. Many families that have grown up here and now in the process of downsizing don’t want to leave the area (which speaks volumes of its popularity) so modern apartments like Portobello Square, Leinster Square and Linden Gardens are filling the needed for smaller, but no less attractive, homes in Notting Hill. The best roads in Notting Hill are naturally the ones that have access to communal gardens: Ladbroke Square, Kensington Park Road, Stanley Crescent, Blenheim Crescent, Clarendon Road and Elgin Crescent. The Notting Hill postcode (W11) is the most popular, but W10 and W2 are also within the boundaries.

Shopping in Notting Hill

Notting Hill is home to London’s most famous market: Portobello Market. Saturdays are undoubtably the best day for picking up antiques and vintage clothing, and of course all manner of diverse foods from around the world, however it’s also the busiest day. Locals know that shopping Monday-Friday means a smaller market, but more room for browsing. We’d also recommend checking out Golborne Road, a connecting street which is lined with independent shops, antiques vendors and the somewhat controversial Trellick Tower. Colville Terrace is also worth a visit for its fruit and veg stalls, which have the feel of a traditional London produce market. And in Elgin Crescent, The Grocer on Elgin is one of the area’s top delicatessens. Notting Hill is also famous for its bookshops, with the instantly recognisable The Notting Hill Bookshop (sadly not owned by the fictional heartthrob William Thacker) and Books For Cooks in Blenheim Crescent two notable highlights.

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Going out in Notting Hill

Notting Hill’s village-like feel extends to its vast array of pubs – popular choices include The Elgin, The Westbourne and The Pelican, as well as The Cow and The Ladbroke Arms. For cafes, you can’t go wrong with the healthier options offered at Daylesford, Farmacy or Farm Girl, or you could opt for something a little swankier at Beach Blanket Babylon or Core by Clare Smyth. The Ledbury is ranked as one of London’s top restaurants, year after year, and you’ll find that on Ledbury Road.

For entertainment, Notting Hill Arts Club has spent two decades showing off a diverse collection of artists, while there are two fabulous old-school cinemas – Electric Cinema and The Gate – which show everything from blockbusters to the classics. The pinnacle of Notting Hill’s entertainment culminates in the Notting Hill Carnival, held annually on the August Bank Holiday in a vibrant and joyful celebration of Caribbean culture. It’s divisive though: some residents love front-row seats to the action, while others lock up and leave for a holiday until the festivities are over.

Green spaces in Notting Hill

If you manage to nab a house or apartment with access to one of Notting Hill’s garden squares, you’ve hit the jackpot. Ladbroke Square is one of the largest garden squares in London, with nearby Hanover Gardens also popular for its wooded feel and proximity to Notting Hill Gate underground station. In the heart of the Norland Conservation Area is St James’s Gardens, though the proximity to Holland Park and its tube station make it a very pricey place to live. It’s probably worth mentioning Rosmead Gardens too – the private square made famous by the film, Notting Hill, in which Hugh Grant and Julia Roberts sneak in by scaling the iron railings. Houses here rank about sixth on the list of ‘London’s most expensive homes’, but many houses here have private access onto the square via a back door – which might make it worth it. Notting Hill’s garden squares are mostly private, though they are opened to the public for a handful of weekends each year through the Open Garden Squares initiative (tickets about £15pp). If a house or apartment with access to a garden square is out of your price range, it’s not a big deal: the city’s own ‘back garden’ of Hyde Park and the smaller, but no less beautiful, Holland Park, are easily walkable.

Notting Hill schools and nurseries

State primary schools in the Notting Hill catchment are generally well respected, with all but one ranked as either ‘good’ or ‘outstanding’ by Ofsted. These include Thomas Jones in St Mark’s Road, Fox Primary School in Kensington Road and Bevington Primary in Bevington Road. For secondary education, there are four top-rated comprehensives: Holland Park, Westminster Academy, Cardinal Vaughan Memorial (for boys) and Paddington Academy. Independent schools are also very popular in this part of London, with Wetherby Prep (boys) and Pembridge Hall (girls) always well regarded, as well as Notting Hill Prep, Chepstow House, Norland Place, Bassett House and Lloyd Williamson (all co-ed).

Notting Hill has a diverse array of nationalities and as such there are a variety of international and bilingual schools to choose from, such as Southbank International School, La Petite École Bilingue (French), La Scuola Italiana a Londra (Italian) and Instituto Español Vicente Cañada Blanch (Spanish).

Transport in Notting Hill

There’s easy access around central London from Notting Hill: there are a number of tube stations locally including Notting Hill Gate and Holland Park on the Central line, and Latimer Road, Ladbroke Grove and Westbourne Park on the Circle and Hammersmith & City Lines (all in Zones 1 and 2). For access to airports, the A40 is very close which proceeds due west out of London to the M4 and Heathrow Airport, with a convenient link to the M25 for Gatwick. Commuter buses include the 7 to Oxford Circus, the 23 to Liverpool St and the 52 to Victoria. Street parking is possible, but you’ll need a permit which can be pricey.

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If you would like to explore the area to visit some of the places mentioned above, we have prepared an area guide flyer to guide you through Notting Hill. Click on the button below to download the map.

To book an appointment with your local property marketing agency in Notting Hill, contact us today.

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