Detective Shaw’s London: Notting Hill
Located in north-western London and almost completely crossed by Portobello Road, Notting Hill is undoubtedly one of the most fascinating and famous districts of the British capital. It’s no coincidence that it is the location of numerous novels and films. Among the latter, the best known is undoubtedly the 1999 romantic comedy that bears the same name of the district (“Notting Hill”) starring Hugh Grant and Julia Roberts.
It is obviously a tourist destination, but very popular with Londoners too, thanks to the abundance of designer shops, particularly in Westbourne Grove, and the numerous pubs and restaurants.
Its most characteristic street is Portobello Road, which with its colourful facades hosts the famous antiques and fresh food market. Here are also some locations used during the Portobello Film Festival, an international independent film festival founded in 1996 where every year more than 700 films are screened for the first time. And moreover, George Orwell lived in this street.
Since 1966, every year in August the district has also been the scene of the Notting Hill Carnival, a real Caribbean costumed party that pours into the streets, attracting millions of people, and which represents one of the biggest street festivals in the world. The event passes through the central part of Westbourne Grove.
As you might guess from the name, Notting Hill stands on a little hill, which reaches its summit in the middle of Ladbroke Grove. However, it has no official boundaries. It is located within the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea, but is close to the boundary with the City of Westminster, so at a stone’s throw from Paddington train station and not far from many other central London attractions.
But if you don’t want to walk, you can reach one of the five Tube stations inside it: Kensal Green, Westbourne Park, Ladbroke Grove, Latimer Road, and Notting Hill Gate.