We don’t want our service to stop with left luggage. That’s why CityStasher has conjured up some handy guides for time-poor tourists who want to make the most out of their trip. Where to stash, what to see, do, eat and drink — we’ve got you covered in our 12 hours series.
12 hours in…Notting Hill
Few areas of London conjure up so many eclectic associations as Notting Hill. Think Hugh Grant simpering against a backdrop of pretty gardens and charming coloured houses. Think the chaotic hustle and bustle of Carnival. Think quirky alleyways, classy boutiques and upmarket wine bars. There’s worse places to spend 12 hours — let’s have a look at what’s in store.
Drop your luggage at the Portobello Store, open seven days a week until 11pm and just one minute’s walk away from Notting Hill Gate. Easy.
What to do
Some of the best things in life are free, and walking the streets of Notting Hill is a pleasure in itself. You’ll encounter many of London’s famous blue plaques, and see some great architecture, including elegant townhouses and the brutalist splendour of buildings like Trellick Tower. For lovers of the eponymous film, it’s likely you’ll recognise the famous blue door of the Notting Hill Book Shop at 13 Blenheim Crescent…
Portobello Road Market is the funky shopping epicentre of Notting Hill. Here you can find pretty much anything — from artisanal gin to fresh ginger, macaroons to merino wool, and everything in between. Catch the main clothing market on Saturday for some vintage bargains, and the charming, more locally-focused second-hand goods stalls set up shop on a Sunday.
And what good guide to Notting Hill would miss out the Carnival. The August bank holiday weekend sees millions of visitors descend on West London to enjoy Europe’s biggest street party. Established in 1964, Carnival is a lively celebration of London’s multicultural history, with dancing, eating and drinking carrying on until the early hours each night. Sunday tends to be the family-focused day, with a dedicated children’s’ parade, and the final parade on the Monday really is a vivid spectacle, guaranteed to create a memorable experience.
Where to eat
Food choices in Notting Hill are as diverse as the locals that inhabit the area. There’s something for every taste — bistros, Caribbean cuisine and fine-dining establishments can all be found here. We’ve picked out a selection of the best.
Books for Cooks offers something truly unique. This little bookshop-come-cafe doesn’t offer a menu — instead, every day the owner picks a new starter and main from one of the many books adorning the shelves, and serves it up. The good value, high quality and locally-sourced food has endeared this place to locals. If you’re lucky enough to get a table, we promise you won’t be disappointed.
We know we shouldn’t really mention the same place twice…but as well as being an outstanding pub, the adjacent Thai restaurant at the Churchill Arms offers some very cheap and scrumptious Thai fare in some delightfully jungle-esque surroundings. The duck red curry is particularly delicious (and under a tenner).
Where to drink
Part cosy London pub, part Thai restaurant (where have we heard about that before?), the Churchill Arms is a local favourite and it’s easy to see why. Winston memorabilia jostles for space with butterflies, while the outside, bedecked with flowers all year round, has seen the Churchill regularly sweeping up London in Bloom awards. Tourists and local alike here for the atmosphere and the good range of beer on tap. If you happen to be in the area in December, we’d recommend stopping by — the entire exterior of the pub is decked out with Christmas trees and is a sight to behold (especially with a mulled wine in hand).
For something more unusual, The Little Yellow Door is an intimate venue with an interior based on the concept of a flat. Lounge on the comfy sofas and enjoy the variety of themed nights — dinner and cocktails on Wednesdays, games and drinks on Fridays and a house party on Saturday. One for the younger crowd perhaps, but a real hidden treat nonetheless.
For an exotic twist on your average burger, Anthony recommends to head on down to Boom Burger, where the owner brings a flavour of the West Indies to West London. Jerk chicken, plantain and saltfish all make an appearance, washed down by some homemade rum punch.