Notting Hill | A Londoners Guide
I have been a Londoner for nearly four years now, and I can safely say I feel like I know this city pretty well.
It definitely took the best part of two years for me to feel like London was home – it could at times be quite frustrating when I realised I knew nothing about a whole borough of London, and even now there are many areas I have never visited, but it simply takes time in any city to get your bearings.
There are a few different neighbourhoods and areas of London that I hold very close to my heart, and I thought it would be lovely to share those areas with you and share my insider tips of where to go, what to eat, where to find the best coffee and even where to go for a little stroll. Things you wouldn’t find in a London tourist guidebook.
So first up in this London series is Notting Hill.
I lived in Notting Hill for 2 years and loved every second, but I feel like the area can quite often be misunderstood. You’ll probably have heard of Portobello Road and all the landmarks from the film Notting Hill. Don’t get me wrong, the film is one of my favourites (especially since living there and recognising the area!) but I wouldn’t actually recommend exploring these places, especially at the weekend.
So without further ado, here are my recommendations, from a Londoner (Notting Hiller?!) to you. I have laid it out in an itinerary format so you can follow it yourself, and spend the exact same day I would.
You’ll find my vlog of the day at the bottom of this post.
9:30 Heartcore, 36 Uxbridge Street
Just behind Notting Hill Gate, you will find Heartcore Fitness. I used to come here for the best reformer pilates classes. The room is small, but bright and uplifting. Make sure you book in advance!
11:00 Farm Girl, 59A Portobello Road
After pilates, I would recommend walking to Farm Girl on Portobello Road. This is tucked away, and often missed, but it’s one of my favourite brunch spots in Notting Hill. Once you find the door, expect to see a queue in the courtyard especially at the weekends, but it’s totally worth it, I promise! My recommendations are the Butterfly Matcha with Coconut Milk, the Açai Bowl is delicious and the Avocado Toast is one of the best, or if you’re not plant-based I’ve heard the Apple Pancakes and Omelette are both amazing.
12:30 Walk to Westbourne Grove
From brunch, continue down Portobello Road, past Alice’s, towards The Earl of Lonsdale pub. Turn right on Westbourne Grove and head towards Bodyism. This is a beautiful street to have a stroll and admire the pink magnolias and colourful houses above.
13:00 Bodyism, 222 Westbourne Grove
Bodyism was my favourite spot for a smoothie or protein shake. Grab a seat by the window or if it’s sunny sit outside and take in the peaceful environment. The staff here are so friendly and always open to chat, and James Duigan himself who opened Bodyism and created the Clean and Lean books with his wife Chrissy may be pottering around, so say Hi from me if you see him!
13:15 Westbourne Grove, 208 Westbourne Grove
Once you’ve slurped up that smoothie, get back outside and continue along Westbourne Grove. You won’t have to go far before you find Daylesford, which is has a great deli/organic grocery store/homeware/cafe/bakery! Check out the candles downstairs too – my favourite is Fig Tree. Also pop into Brissi, a gorgeous homeware store.
14:00 Melt, 59 Ledbury Road
You must come to this place! Just off of Westbourne Grove on Ledbury Road you will find this little chocolate shop. It’s a perfect place to buy gifts for friends and family, or to pick a couple of truffles for yourself later on. There are plenty of vegan options too, just ask the staff.
14:30 Wild at Heart, 222 Westbourne Grove
You’re going to go back on yourself now along Westbourne Grove, but walk along the other side of the road past Aesop, and you will get to Wild at Heart in the middle. You will probably recognise this florist from Instagram, because almost every London based blogger has taken a photo in front of it or the turquoise wall! The flowers are of very high quality, so be prepared to pay premium prices.
15:00 Kensington Park Road, 122 Kensington Park Road
Continue walking down Westbourne Grove, the way you came, and cross over Portobello Road. Portobello Road will be heaving with tourists and if I’m perfectly honest, I would skip this. Come back on a Friday if you want to discover the markets. Instead, continue past Allsaints and turn right at Kensington Park Road to find some authentic Notting Hill gems.
15:15 Lutyens & Rubinstein, 21 Kensington Park Road
If you’re a bookworm, you must visit this shop. It’s quaint, quiet and traditional but there’s something quite magical about this place. I would often spend a few minutes to escape from the busy streets and bury my head in books, and I even found my own book Eat Smart in there. Don’t miss the downstairs area too.
15:30 Biscuiteers, 194 Kensington Park Road
Almost directly opposite you will spot Biscuiteers, the most picturesque shop in Notting Hill! The biscuits are like artwork, so pop in and have a browse. I love to buy family members a box for their birthdays or Christmas.
15:45 Doughnut Time, 15 Blenheim Crescent
Just around the corner on Blenheim Crescent is a new doughnut shop. I have already tried most of their vegan options and they are a-ma-zing! Definitely a treat, but definitely worth it if you’re feeling hangry at this point.
16:00 Books for Cooks, 4 Blenheim Crescent
Right opposite is this little hidden gem called Books for Cooks. This is one of the first recommendations anyone gave me when I moved to Notting Hill and I am so grateful! It’s a cookbook store but at the back is a tiny cafe where they pick a different book everyday to cook from. The ladies in their told me they see it more as a recipe testing kitchen rather than a cafe, which I love. As we’ve already had brunch, smoothies and doughnuts at this point, maybe just remember this cafe for next time, but go ahead and have a little look at the books.
16:15 Portobello Road Food Market
Although I said I wouldn’t advise marching through the Portobello Road market because it’s a bit of a tourist trap, I would however recommend the food market instead. I used to buy most of my fresh fruit and vegetables from the market – it’s so cheap but the quality is brilliant. You’ll find the best grocery tables between Tesco and Kurt Geiger. My favourite one is the large long table opposite Café Nero! The lady there always makes my day.
16:30 Graham and Green, 5 Elgin Crescent
Yes, another homeware store, I know! But this one is quite special. I’m a huge fan of this place and have bought so many bits and bobs for my new house.
17:00 Farmacy, 74 Westbourne Grove
Feeling peckish now? No problem. Take a nice 15 minute walk back along Westbourne Grove to Farmacy. This is one of my favourite restaurants in the whole of London, so I was so lucky to have this so close to home. It’s a fully plant-based restaurant but don’t be put off – the food is exceptional! I take non-veggie friends here all the time and they love it. I’d recommend the sharing seasonal pizzetta to start and the Macro Bowl for main. Other favourites are the Chickpea Quesadilla’s, Mexican Bowl and the Green Curry.
19:30 The Distillery, 186 Portobello Road
Now you’re going to head back towards Portobello Road. It might seem like you’re going a bit back and forth here, but one of my favourite ways of discovering a new place is to walk. The Distillery have the best G&T’s in town, and although there’s a pretty impressive menu of cocktails and gin and tonics to choose from, my favourite is the house G&T. I’ll let you decide where the night takes you from here!
Tonkotsu for dinner
Samantha Cuswick for the best hairdressers in town
The Laslett for a place to sleep
Yorica for dairy free ice cream
The Dayrooms Cafe for a healthy lunch
Here’s my video of the day: