Once the neglected neighbour of prestigious Kensington and Chelsea, Notting Hill has risen from these humble beginnings to become one of the most coveted and exclusive areas in London, while still retaining a lively, bohemian atmosphere.
After a slightly inauspicious start as the ‘potteries and piggies’ during the nineteenth century due to the typical occupations of Notting Hill residents at the time, the area became popular with artists and writers and by the 1960s was a byword for fashion, creativity and cultural diversity in the capital. A large Afro-Caribbean community evolved here from the 1950s onwards, leading to the arrival of Notting Hill Carnival, a colourful Caribbean celebration which takes place every year during the August Bank Holiday weekend; a key event in the calendar for many locals and Londoners.
The prestige of Notting Hill has continued to rise since then, with the influx of many affluent buyers in the 1990s, leading to the development of numerous renowned restaurants and shops, as well as a number of sympathetically restored period properties. Today people are drawn to Notting Hill from all over the world seeking to experience this vibrant and artistic neighbourhood. As a result property here has become extremely valuable.
Architecture in Notting Hill
While property in Notting Hill largely consists of beautiful, double fronted Georgian properties, unlike other West London enclaves it also has a surprising number of colourful houses. On Elgin Crescent all the houses are painted in varying shades of spring pastels, adding to the lively, individual nature of the area.
Most of these Georgian stucco-fronted buildings are terraced, although semi-detached and detached villa-style properties can occasionally be found.
What makes Notting Hill so special?
With iconic streets, pretty pastel houses and even a Hollywood film dedicated to the area, it comes as no surprise that Notting Hill possesses a somewhat magical, fairytale quality. Despite being in the busy West London borough of Kensington and Chelsea and moments from Shepherd’s Bush, Notting Hill feels like a private community especially protected for those who are fortunate enough to live here. It’s easy to understand why residents tend to move in and stay here for decades.
Notting Hill property types
The wide Georgian streets of Notting Hill are filled with beautiful period properties, but the most prestigious streets are those with access to private gardens, situated on the curving roads connecting Clarendon Road with Portobello Road across Ladbroke Grove. The best of these are Arundel Gardens, Ladbroke Square, Kensington Park Gardens and the colourful Elgin Crescent, where large Georgian terraced and semi-detached houses can be found.
Schools in Notting Hill
Notting Hill is well provided for in outstanding private and independent schooling, with a range of education establishments from pre-preparatory to sixth form, along with schools offering a continuous education from primary to secondary. Both mixed and single-sex schools are available, as are those with a slightly different curriculum such as the Lycée Charles De Gaulle and the Southbank International School, depending on the preferences of the parents.
Things to do
The mélange of affluent residents and former bohemian community in Notting Hill has left the area with an eclectic mix of cultural attractions, including the Museum of Brands, Packaging and Advertising, Portobello Market and the world-famous Notting Hill Carnival held every August. Film fans will love the plush Electric Cinema and accompanying members club Electric House (part of the Soho House group), while respected restaurants and cocktail bars – The Shed, The Ledbury, Julie’s Restaurant and Champagne Bar, Ottolenghi, Granger & Co and Beach Blanket Babylon can all be found within walking distance.
Notting Hill also has a variety of high-end exercise facilities popular with health-conscious locals, – The Life Centre, Ten Pilates, Heart Core, BodyWorks West and Bootcamp Pilates, all of which are guaranteed to help you achieve peak physical fitness.
Shopping in Notting Hill
Notting Hill offers residents a wide variety of high-end shops, particularly along Portobello Road and Notting Hill Gate. Fashionable locals can find designer clothing at Matches Fashion, Odabash, Aimé and Heidi Klein, while Brissi, Erno Deco and Le Creuset are the stores of choice for interiors and premium kitchenware. American expats love the American Food Store which stocks all the popular brands from across the pond, and home cooks will find themselves well provided for at London’s only dedicated cookbook shop, Books for Cooks.
Slightly further afield at Westfield’s Shepherd’s Bush, The Village section of this enormous mall is home to luxury fashion brands such as Aquascutum, Gucci, Jimmy Choo, Miu Miu and many more, and also offers personal shopping services.