If you’ve found yourself in London, whether for a month or for a day, cheers! You’ve made an excellent choice. London is one of the most diverse and vibrant cities in the entire world, and you will never grow tired of its distinctive charms. While first-time visitors might prioritize the city’s more iconic attractions (the Tower of London is a favorite of mine), I’d suggest making time for the iconic neighborhood of Notting Hill.
I’ve been lucky enough to live in this delightful neighborhood for the past month, and I have yet to scratch the surface of what it has to offer. So, if you’ve only allotted an afternoon to exploring the area, it’s easy to experience decision-overload! To help in alleviating some of that stress, here’s a list of some of the must-see Notting Hill attractions as well as my own personal suggestions for maximizing your time in Julia Roberts’ famous neighborhood.
You wouldn’t truly be in Notting Hill without visiting Portobello Market on the weekend. Considered one of the best markets in all of London, Portobello Market is a wonderful place to shop for delicious food, handmade souvenirs, and fashionable accessories. Shopping in London can get expensive, but markets make shopping more affordable and enjoyable. It’s a fun and unique way to feel engaged with the culture, and you can’t leave without experiencing it. Make sure to hop over to Gail’s Bakery if you’re looking for a cup of coffee or tea––their baked goods are to die for as well.
After a few days in a bustling city like London, you may be craving a calming stroll or a leisurely picnic. Smaller and more low-key than Hyde Park, Holland Park is a lovely way to spend your morning or afternoon. Whether you’d like to take a seat near the waterfalls of the Japanese Kyoto garden or mingle with the friendly neighborhood pets, venturing over to Holland Park is sure to diversify your London trip!
Historians and movie buffs alike will appreciate a retro film experience at the Electric Cinema. First erected on Portobello Road in 1910, Electric one of the oldest working cinemas in Britain and it remains one of the most popular spots in London for catching a movie. Guests will enjoy plush armchairs and cashmere blankets, along with personal side tables for food and drinks (no more fighting over cup holders!). Offering both vintage classics and current blockbuster hits, the Electric Cinema is an unparalleled experience for the whole family.
After grabbing a bite to eat (I recommend The Elgin or Tonkotsu), put your knowledge to the test with a classic British pub quiz. These quizzes are a fun way to immerse yourself in a beloved English pastime with friends, and you might learn something along the way!
However you decide to spend your time in London, it will be an experience you will never forget. You can’t go wrong with a trip to Madame Tussaud’s wax museum, or a ride around the London Eye at sunset. Hopefully, however, you find room in your itinerary to explore these iconic Notting Hill streets. This neighborhood has something special to offer to everyone, and you’ll have to come experience it for yourself!
Alyssa Coley is a student at The University of Alabama. She is an ISA Featured Blogger and is currently studying abroad with ISA in London, England.