Notting Hill may have become a household name thanks to that classic 1999 film, but this fashionable area of London was famous long before Julia Roberts and Hugh Grant came along.

With bright, multi-coloured townhouses, antique shops, vintage markets, and classic English pubs, Notting Hill is the quintessential London neighbourhood that shouldn't be missed by any visitor in London.

Today Notting Hill may be one of the trendiest neighbourhoods to live in London, but no less than 50 years ago the area was a massive slum, and was considered to be a “no-go-zone” among London locals. It wasn't until the first Notting Hill Carnival in 1965 when Notting Hill's popularity exploded, and soon rich and famous celebrities as well as artists started moving to the area.

Every August Bank holiday weekend, hundreds of thousands of people flock to the area for The Notting Hill Carnival, which is the largest street party in Europe and the second biggest carnival in the world (after Rio's Mardi Gras).

Notting Hill is also home to the most famous street market in London (Portobello Market), which boasts over 1,500 dealers selling everything from antique items, vintage clothes, jewellery, artwork and furniture.

Notting Hill, Electric Cinema. By Wright Archive Notting Hill, architecture. By Raphael Checkroun
Notting Hill, farmers market. By Annie and Andrew Notting Hill, rainbow. By Jonathan Brown Notting Hill, tourists. By Fred Bigio

Notting Hill Highlights

Just strolling around Notting Hill is a tourist activity in itself. From snapping photos of the gorgeous colourful townhouses, sitting outside a café and watching locals shop at Portobello Market, or even just admiring the expensive cars parked outside celebrity homes, ever nook and cranny of Notting Hill offers a little something for everyone.

But if you're looking for things to do in Notting Hill, here are some of the best tourist activities you can try while you're in the area:

  • Shop for vintage clothing at the Portobello Market
  • Snap a photo of the iconic door from the Hugh Grants and Julia Roberts film Notting Hill at 280 Westbourne Park Road (although the blue door as it is seen in the film is now painted black).
  • Dress up in your wackiest outfit and party it up with hundreds of thousands of other people at the Notting Hill Carnival.
  • Climb up Primrose Hill during sunrise or sunset to get some stunning views of the London skyline.
  • Watch a theatre performance at The Gate Theatre.
  • Sip on a cocktail and listen to some live music at The Tabernacle.
  • Learn more about some of the best-known brands and advertisements in the world at the Museum of Brands, Packaging and Advertising.
  • Watch a classic film at the Electric Cinema (which is one of the oldest working cinemas in the UK).
  • Watch some live music or get your boogie on at the Notting Hill Arts Club.
  • Have a picnic on a sunny afternoon in Ladbroke Square.
  • Check out some urban art at Salon Contemporary or Graffik, or marvel over fascinating sacred art at the Temple Gallery.
  • Shop for organic produce and baked goods at the Notting Hill Farmer's Market.
  • Go ghost hunting at the Coronet cinema.
  • Go to a reggae or punk concert at one of the many music venues in Ladbroke Grove.

Special Tips

  • Because the area is popular among celebrities, always keep an eye out as you never know who you'll be walking past during a visit to Notting Hill. Kate Moss and Sienna Miller have been spotted shopping around Portobello Road, and Jude Law and Kate Moss are known to visit Primrose Hill as well
  • If you want to avoid the busy crowds, try to visit Notting Hill on a Sunday.
  • If you're visiting the Notting Hill Carnival, you may want to book your hotel well in advance as rooms get booked up quickly (especially if you want to stay in the area).