My Love Letter to Notting Hill And Its Colourful Houses (+ Walking Itinerary)

notting hill londonTemperley London store in Colville Mews

Call it Instagram paradise, Instagram porn, Instagrammable, call it whatever you like. If you’ve never heard of Notting Hill or haven’t seen the movie (gasp!!!!), it’s this technicolour neighbourhood you’ve surely been seeing on your Instagram, where pastel townhouses mingle with vintage cars and artsy coffees.

I only have a handful of happy places in the world, and Notting Hill is one of them. Mind you, I know all too well that I could never afford to live in this affluent area but I make a point to venture out there every time I’m in London, with my phone in one hand (anything for the ‘gram) and absolutely no itinerary whatsoever, opting for the spur of the moment, letting these idyllic streets guide me, secretly hoping I never find a way out.

(But I am a little bit OCD and I decided to create a self-guided walking tour of Notting Hill anyway. See below.)

A Walking Itinerary For Notting Hill & Holland Park Colourful Houses

 

I’ve walked these streets a thousand times, so when I say they’re all photogenic and interesting in their own unique ways, they are. This itinerary encompasses the most colourful streets, the quaintest alleys, the prettiest façades in the neighbourhood and is, essentially, a round-up of the best Notting Hill has to offer.

Completing this 5-kilometres circuit could take you anywhere between one and six hours; it really depends on your pace, and on how many times you stop and say “Oh wait I gotta Instagram this” and ask your Instagram husband to move the rubbish bin ;-)

Notting Hill Photos

notting hilWestbourne Park Road

notting hill londonChepstow Villas

notting hill londonPortobello Road

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notting hill londonArundel Gardens

notting hill londonLadbroke Mews

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notting hill londonL

notting hill londonHillgate Place

notting hill londonPortland Road

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notting hill londonLandsowne Road

notting hill londonLandsowne Road

notting hill londonPenzance Place

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notting hill london
notting hill london
 

Notting Hill – A Bit of History

Although it has become one of London’s most affluent neighbourhoods (townhouses retail on average for the modest sum of £4-6 million), Notting Hill wasn’t always so prosperous; in fact, up until the late 1800s, it was a downright slum, with plentiful piggeries and nasty pottery warehouses. Locals were largely white, working class, of low social standing; violence and unemployment were both as normal as it got in these parts. Needless to say, when a massive influx of Carribean immigrants moved to Notting Hill right after World War II, things didn’t exactly go smoothly. Disparities in skin colour and customs created vivid tensions in the neighbourhood; discrimination became common, as racist landlords either refused to rent to black tenants or ridiculously overcharged them and pubs simply did not let them in. Violence skyrocketed in May 1958 as a massive 3-day riot erupted, in which black immigrants were savagely assaulted.

That’s when the now-famous Notting Hill Carnival comes in. The event was put together in order to celebrate Afro-Caribbean culture, gathering out-of-towners to the area and soothe tensions, even for a little bit. Mind you, black locals were still barred from local establishments; however, that did not keep them from rightfully enjoying a party, and they opened up a vast network of illegal underground venues, which catered not only to their own community but also to other Londoners – members of the Rolling Stones and Eric Clapton, for example, relocated to what had become a trendy and artsy, yet still struggling Notting Hill.

As violence settled down in the mid-1980s, more and more people started relocating to the streets surrounding Portobello Road, undoubtedly attracted by the then low rents and spacious flats. Affordability didn’t last long; Notting Hill is now home to multi-million-pound properties and upscale shops.

And, of course, rows and rows and rows of those emblematic pastel-coloured façades that we adore ;-) Now, enough with history. Off Instagramming, you go!

notting hill londonHillgate Place

Things To Do In London: Get The Book

Like what you just read? Some of it are excerpts from my London city guide eBook, which I just published. You’ll find 200 more suggestions of things to see, do, eat, and drink in London in there, as well as photography pointers and loads of helpful tips.

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Get your copy now for just $9!

12 Comments on My Love Letter to Notting Hill And Its Colourful Houses (+ Walking Itinerary)

  1. Lauren Meshkin @BonVoyageLauren
    June 3, 2016 at 4:42 am (8 months ago)

    When I was a student in London, I lived in South Kensington, close to the charming Notting Hill neighborhood. Your pictures are lovely and bring back so many memories. Thanks for sharing!

    Reply
    • Marie-Eve
      June 10, 2016 at 9:54 am (8 months ago)

      What a beautiful place to be based in!

      Reply
  2. Rachel
    June 5, 2016 at 10:53 am (8 months ago)

    Beautiful! I’m kicking myself for not squeezing in some time to stop here when we visited London a couple years ago. It’ll be at the top of the list next time!

    Reply
    • Marie-Eve
      June 10, 2016 at 9:53 am (8 months ago)

      Yes it better be! Notting Hill is so beautiful.

      Reply
    • Marie-Eve
      July 5, 2016 at 12:20 am (7 months ago)

      Thanks Tanja!

      Reply
  3. Valerie
    September 3, 2016 at 11:32 am (5 months ago)

    My son is fortunate enough to have a flat in Nottinghill, and when he is away we love to go and stay.
    I have really enjoyed reading your reviews and seeing your beautiful photos, and I totally agree with what you say, it really is a place to go and see.

    Reply
    • Marie-Eve
      September 6, 2016 at 11:57 am (5 months ago)

      What a lucky man! It’s such a lovely area.

      Reply
  4. argone
    December 30, 2016 at 3:22 am (4 weeks ago)

    Thanks a lot for this useful map ! I know it takes time, so a million thanks !

    Reply
    • Marie-Eve
      December 30, 2016 at 9:12 pm (3 weeks ago)

      Happy to help!

      Reply

2Pingbacks & Trackbacks on My Love Letter to Notting Hill And Its Colourful Houses (+ Walking Itinerary)

  1. […] with records shops, vintage boutiques, and rainbow-coloured townhouses. I even put together a bespoke photography walking tour of Notting Hill, which will take you to the best-looking streets in the area. You’re […]

  2. […] June 2016: I just created a bespoke 5-kilometres-long walking route for Notting Hill, which encompasses the most colourful and photogenic streets and shops in the […]

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