Notting Hill – an insider guide

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Back in the 1960s and 1970s, Notting Hill was cool – a small west London neighbourhood where those who hadn’t the resources to live in Chelsea or Kensington came to lay their hats. It was cheap, it was raw and it was edgy. This was the home of the famous Carnival, now the largest in Europe, a chilli-infused hotpot of multiculturalism. It was shabby and chic. It was a place to party, to hang out at late-night speakeasy bars, to buy music and fruit, Afghan coats and dodgy antiques from the Portobello Road and the odd illicit substance from the All Saints Road, when it was lined with bobbies, not posh bathroom shops. These days, the neighbourhood is known as London’s fashionable Notting Hill. But despite all the boutiques and high-brand shops, the new resident bankers (and the tourists searching for Hugh Grant’s blue door) you can still find the spirit of the real Notting Hill. You just have to know where to look.

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The best restaurants in Notting Hill

  • Notting Hill - an insider guide

    Mazi

    Greek food in London often translates as suspect tzatziki, chunky feta cubes weighing down a sore betrayal of the nation’s signature salad and taverna-style moussaka, sometimes good, sometimes not. Moussaka may not have made it onto the menu at Mazi, Notting Hill’s favourite Greek haunt, but lamb certainly has – as a shredded shoulder fricassee with lemony avgolemono sauce. The Greek salad comes with crisp barley rusks and delicate crumbs of creamy feta. The menu is an imaginative spin on authentic Greek food, elevating national classics for a spoilt modern palate. The seafood manti dumplings come with a puddle of saffron kakavia (a Greek fish stew) and are topped with bottarga powder, while the doughnut-like loukoumades pudding is doused in lavender honey and sprinkled with crushed walnuts. These delicious dishes are served in a casual setting that errs on the rustic. Owners Christina Mouratoglou (Greek) and Adrien Carre (French) lamented the city’s lack of proper Greek food and opened in 2012 in a building on Hillgate Street – the black-railings-and-pastel-painted-townhouse sort that makes American tourists swoon. The wine list is a patriotic ode to Greece’s finest and lesser-known but discerningly selected vineyards, all reasonably priced – we had the Roditis-Malagousia, which easily tuned into every dish. And if bread – much like a restaurant loo – is the barometer of restaurant quality, the light, doughy slices drenched in basil olive oil with a dab of rock salt are fulfilling their role effortlessly. Rosalyn Wikeley

    Address: Mazi, 12-14 Hillgate Street, Notting Hill, London W8 7SR


    Telephone: +44 20 7229 3794


    Website: mazi.co.uk

  • Notting Hill - an insider guide

    Laylow

    It’s good to see Notting Hill’s bohemian set alive and well. Having been lured for some time towards trendier stretches – the Peckhams and Hackneys – they have at last reason to regroup at Golborne Road hotspot Laylow, where patrons fuel the budding careers of resident musicians, and trainer-clad movers and shakers tuck into posh burgers and innovative drinks. Bella Freud’s glossy, animated aesthetic paints this former pub – from the staff’s jumpers to the suede booths and pink fringed lamps with black felt lining to neatly match the dark lacquered tables.

    We dined on the fried chicken starter with sriracha dip (it’s so good it merits the glowing reviews), posh hen’s egg on a tasty bed of mushrooms and lentils, and perfectly-cooked and sliced steak with butternut squash and charred broccoli sides. There’s a well-curated wine list without the pretentious entry point: £28 for a Bulgarian red is more than civilised; Chablis and Chateau de Rochemorin Rouge for those wanting to spend more. For pudding don’t miss the caramelised banana bread with dulce de leche Ru, named after Vogue editor Edward Enninful’s dog (both regulars). This flows effortlessly into cocktails upstairs (the Penicillin hits the Friday night spot) and dancing downstairs. DJs and pianists perform throughout the week, a new salad bar pulls the freelancers off their keyboards for lunch and the private apartment at the very top of this buzzing townhouse is available for an in-is-the-new-out kind of dinner. Rosalyn Wikeley

    Address: Laylow, 10 Golborne Road, London W10 5PE


    Telephone: +44 020 8969 6000


    Website: laylow.co.uk

  • Notting Hill - an insider guide

    Julie’s

    Back in its Eighties heyday, Julie’s was one of the grande dames of the west-London restaurant scene. Kate Moss held her birthday parties here; Diana, Princess of Wales, popped in for lunch; Tina Turner danced on tables with velvet curtains that could be drawn for partying in privacy. No one really came for the food. In 2015, Julie’s closed for refurbishment, but endless planning issues kept the doors shut for four years. Recently reopened – just in time for its 50th birthday – Julie’s is back, with ex-The Goring head chef Shay Cooper in the kitchen. His modern British menu is unfussy, concise but expertly executed: kale risotto with creamy white crab; buttermilk fried quail; British salt-marsh lamb and flaky Cornish cod with cuttlefish noodles. Portions err on the side of small – so don’t skip pudding; especially the fig panna cotta served with a sugar-dusted Earl Grey doughnut fresh out the oven. The handsome street-level bar is a good place for a pre-supper sharpener, but the real atmosphere is down in the subterranean dining room, which has held on to its original bohemian charm: colourful stained glass windows, ornate wood-carvings and high-backed chairs upholstered in bright Pakistani kilim textiles. It remains to be seen if new Julie’s can pull in the same A-list crowd, but with Cooper in the kitchen, it’s certainly set to send ripples through London’s best restaurant scene.

    Address: Julie’s, 135 Portland Road, Holland Park, London W11 4LW


    Telephone: +44 20 7229 8331


    Website: juliesrestaurant.com

    Six Portland Road

    Here’s a proper neighbourhood restaurant we all wish we had at the end of our road: classic British cooking, an impressive wine list, crisp white tablecloths and sensible prices. Six Portland Road is the brainchild of affable restaurateur Oli Barker, one half of the duo behind small plates and wine bar Terroirs, just off the Strand, and its smaller spin-offs Soif and Brawn (he’s since sold off his shares in each to launch a breezy beach hotel in Devon, Hope Cove House). On a leafy suburban road just along from Holland Park Tube station, it has just 36 seats – regulars and neighbours often pop in on their way home to try to snag a cancellation, but most nights tables are turned at least twice. The menu changes at each service, but the classic, unfussy cooking remains a constant. Expect lamb neck served on a bed of ratatouille and chickpeas; burrata with purple sprouting broccoli and salty anchovies; gnocchi with sausage and fennel ragu and turbot with Jersey Royals and spring greens– before sticky toffee pudding and chocolate mousse. The impressive wine list is predominantly French and Italian – the tiny bar isn’t big enough to settle in at but it’s a good spot to sit and chat to the team about their recommendations while waiting for your table. There’s a very affordable lunch menu too – at £21 for three courses, this is a great place to know about after a morning’s shopping on nearby Portobello Road.

    Address: Six Portland Road, 6 Portland Road, Holland Park, London W11 4LA


    Telephone: +44 20 7229 3130


    Website: sixportlandroad.com

  • Notting Hill - an insider guide

    Caractère

    There’s a formidable team at the helm of Caractère; Michel Roux Jr’s daughter Emily runs front of house, while her husband Diego Ferrari – the ex-head chef of Le Gavroche – leads the kitchen. The Franco-Italian menu riffs on the couple’s roots, dividing dishes into six short sections: curious (meaty starters), subtle (vegetable-led small plates), delicate (fish), robust (meat), strong (cheese) and greedy (pudding), while for the indecisive, there’s a clever a pick and mix-style tasting menu. The cooking here is adventurous but fuss-free; a deceptively simple dish of cacio e pepe is the star starter, while other hits include flaky Cornish cod, a blushing-pink saddle of lamb and ravioli stuffed with pulled pork and peas, finished with a light lemony broth. With such top-notch cooking, it’s obvious that hospitality runs in the DNA of this restaurant’s power-couple owners.


    Address: Caractère, 209 Westbourne Park Road, Notting Hill, London W11 1EA


    Telephone: +44 20 8181 3850


    Website: caractererestaurant.com

  • Core by Clare Smyth

    Clare Smyth, the first and only British female chef to win three Michelin stars, opened her first solo restaurant back in 2017. This is fine dining redone; there are no tablecloths, menus are presented on a piece of folded card, and U2 drifts out of the speakers. Order the five- or seven-course tasting menu; while the core ingredients may seem simple and familiar, the reality is anything but. Highlights include a humble potato dish, inspired by Clare’s childhood on the Northern Irish coast and elevated with herring and trout roe and topped with a rich seaweed beurre blanc; carrot, braised lamb and sheep’s milk yoghurt; and a superb pear and verbena pudding with poire William sorbet. The very best seats are around the chef’s table, right under the nose of the glass-fronted kitchen, but if you haven’t managed to snag a table several months ahead, you can eat in the bar too, where a few seats are kept back for walk-ins.

    Address: Core by Clare Smyth, 92 Kensington Park Road, Notting Hill, London W11 2PN


    Telephone: +44 203 937 5086


    Website: corebyclaresmyth.com

  • Notting Hill - an insider guide

    Casa Cruz

    When impossibly well-connected Chilean-born restauranteur Juan Santa Cruz opened his first London outpost on a residential Notting Hill street, it proved an instant hit. Casa Cruz knocked Chiltern Firehouse off its pedestal to become the latest darling of the restaurant scene – and within weeks of opening, celebrities including David Beckham, Prince Harry and Arizona Muse had all bypassed the three-month waiting list to snag a table behind its imposing doors. A few years later, it’s mercifully easier for the rest of us to get into. Blingy jewel-box interiors are a jumble of copper, brass, gold and crushed velvet, with a trippy mirrored staircase leading up to a lovely first-floor terrace shielded from prying eyes by a wall of tropical greenery. The simple small-plates menu packs a punch while still managing to feel virtuous; start with wafer-thin slices of ibérico ham before plates of octopus carpaccio with a citrus-chilli kick, freshly rolled ravioli swimming in a brown-butter and truffle sauce, and enormous pan-seared scallops served in their shell. Meat is cooked on a Josper grill – top-quality steaks are imported from Argentina and served with dainty pans of spiced corn and black sesame avocado. Come for drinks, dinner or the whole night; the margaritas are so well-mixed it’s hard not to have a good time.


    Address: Casa Cruz, 123 Clarendon Road, Notting Hill, London W11 4JG


    Telephone: +44 203 321 5400


    Website: casacruz.london

  • Notting Hill - an insider guide

    Gold

    Notting Hill’s newest neighbourhood haunt has already become a bit of a celeb magnet – Princesses Beatrice and Eugenie were spotted on a double date here just after it opened, and Jourdan Dunn and Olympia Campbell have also popped by. Owned by nightclub mogul Nick House, it’s headed up by former River Café chef Theo Hill, whose unfussy, deeply seasonal menus focus on cooking over a flame or in the wood-fired oven. Everything’s designed for sharing; top picks include wood-roasted purple potatoes with a smoky sauerkraut slaw, burrata with charred peaches and sea bream with capers and oregano. Behind the moodily-lit bar, the fern-laden dining room must be one of London’s prettiest – and on hot days the glass roof retracts to open the restaurant up to the elements.

    Address: Gold, 95-97 Portobello Road, Notting Hill, London W11 2QB


    Telephone: +44 20 3146 0747


    Website: goldnottinghill.com

  • Notting Hill - an insider guide

    Suzi Tros

    Since it opened in 2012, Notting Hillites have made regular pilgrimages to Mazi, the inventive small plates restaurant that revolutionised London’s Greek food scene. Riding on its success, husband and wife team Adrien Carre and Christina Mouratoglou have just opened a second venture, Suzi Tros, serving up modern twists on the best-known classics from Mouratoglou’s hometown of Thessaloniki. Seasonally changing dishes include whole roasted aubergine bubbling with cheese and sweet honey; juicy prawns in a garlicky tomato and feta sauce and wafer-thin sea bass with a yuzu dressing, served in a stripped-back, taverna-like setting. Downstairs, a tiny cocktail bar serves drinks packed with punchy Greek spirits like ouzo and mastika.

    Address: Suzi Tros, 18 Hillgate Street, Notting Hill, London W8 7SR


    Telephone: +44 207 221 2223


    Website: suzitros.com

  • Notting Hill - an insider guide

    Orasay

    Over on the quieter side of Notting Hill, Jackson Boxer – one of the duo, with Andrew Clarke, originally behind Vauxhall’s Brunswick House and Shoreditch’s St Leonards – has just opened his newest venture. It’s inspired by the tiny Outer Hebridean island where Boxer spent his childhood holidays, and there’s a sense of Hebridean tranquility to the space, with its simple short menu listing things like gorgeously textured Isle of Mull scallops, tiny clams from Barra, beef and tuna tartare and a huge shorthorn rib for two to share. The two chefs co-own an organic farm in West Sussex, so vegetables take pride of place too; there are colourful plates of roast cauliflower and datterini tomatoes, or burrata and grilled peaches drizzled with the boys’ very own burnt honey. Mercifully free of gimmicks and fads, this is a proper, grown-up neighbourhood restaurant. Read our full review of Orasay here.

    Address: Orasay, 31 Kensington Park Road, London W11 2EU


    Telephone: +44 20 7043 1400


    Website: orasay.london

  • Notting Hill - an insider guide

    108 Garage

    A few years back, anywhere north of the Westway was considered a bit of a foodie wasteland – until 108 Garage popped up here at the beginning of 2017. It’s owned by chef Chris Denney (who’s done stints at Nahm in Bangkok and three-Michelin-starred Piazza Duomo in Alba) and Italian former Wall Street banker Luca Longobardi, and the duo blend easily into the good-looking crowd who come here for the sublime six-course tasting menus. Meaty mains might include fallow deer with salsify and lardo or lamb-heart agnolotti – while the salt-baked celeriac ‘steak’ dripping in black-truffle cheese is melt-in-the-mouth amazing. Wash it all down with fishbowl goblets of gin or a glass of wine from the short but well thought-out list covering the top growing regions in France, Italy and Spain . Read our full review of 108 Garage here.

    Address: 108 Garage, 108 Golborne Road, Notting Hill, London W10 5PS


    Telephone: +44 20 8969 3769


    Website: 108garage.com

  • Notting Hill - an insider guide

    The Ledbury

    This isn’t just one of the best spots in Notting Hill, it’s one of the best restaurants in London too. Australian chef Brett Graham was just 26 when he opened the Ledbury back in 2005, and since then he’s won and continuously held onto two Michelin stars. The resolutely British eight-course tasting menu reads like a paean to the English countryside: clay-baked white beetroot, Herdwick lamb with purple aubergine, aged pigeon with endives, lots of game and Graham’s signature brown-sugar and stem-ginger tart. This may be a proper starchy-white-tablecloth restaurant, but there’s a genuine buzz inside and staff are welcoming, guiding diners through the lengthy wine list. Come for a special-occasion supper – reservations open two months in advance, so book far ahead.

    Address: The Ledbury, 127 Ledbury Road, Notting Hill, London, W11 2AQ


    Telephone: +44 207 792 9090


    Website: theledbury.com

  • Notting Hill - an insider guide

    Uli

    Pan-Asian champion Uli – first established over two decades ago on All Saints Road – closed a few years ago. But to the delight of locals it was later resurrected in a new location on Ladbroke Road, just minutes from Notting Hill Gate Tube station. In its new incarnation there’s a lighter touch to the cooking – soft-shell crab, aromatic duck, sea bass steamed with ginger and garlic – and a huge, Mediterranean-style pavement terrace that’s always filled with writers, artists, food critics and actors. If he’s around, be sure to rubberneck with founder Michael Lim – he’s often seen, serving free nightcaps to his regulars.

    Address: Uli, 5 Ladbroke Road, Notting Hill, London W11 3PA


    Telephone: +44 20 3141 5878


    Website: ulilondon.com

  • Notting Hill - an insider guide

    E&O

    For something a little swankier, head to Australian restaurateur Will Ricker’s E&O (he owns the King’s Road’s Eight over Eight and


    Soho Mexican street-food joint La Bodega Negra too), with its prime people-watching position just off Portobello Road. The dining room is dark and moody and on the menu there’s dim sum, sushi, sashimi and barbequed meat, while the black cod with sweet miso is a must order. The buzzy cocktail bar at the front fills up with glamorous young things who spill out onto the pavement on warm evenings – the bar staff mix a particularly mean lychee martini.

    Address: E&O,14 Blenheim Crescent, Notting Hill, London W11 1NN


    Telephone: +44 20 7229 5454


    Website: rickerrestaurants.com

  • Notting Hill - an insider guide

    Farmacy

    Millennials flock to this clean-eating oasis owned by Camilla Fayed, daughter of Mohamed Al-Fayed, who spotted a gap in the market for vegan, nutrition-aware restaurants like the ones all over LA and New York. The easy on the eye interior takes on a jungly theme and is full of naked wood, bamboo, hanging plants and moss-green booths, with a gleaming golden bar in the centre. The carefully labelled menu is full of dairy-, gluten- and nut-free options, from buckwheat pancakes with coconut yoghurt to fragrant green curries, crunchy kimchi bowls and pizzettas with macadamia cheese. It also specialises in one of the more obscure afternoon teas in London serving CBD-infused plant-based teas – including an intriguing hemp loose-leaf brew.

    Address: Farmacy, 74 Westbourne Grove, Notting Hill, London W2 5SH


    Telephone: +44 20 7 221 0705


    Website: farmacylondon.com

    The best cafes and brunches in Notting Hill

  • Eggslut

    Eggslut has grown from humble street-truck beginnings into a cult mini-chain – with outposts in California, Las Vegas, Tokyo, Kuwait and, finally, London. The much-awaited UK branch opened on Portobello Road in the summer – and the queues are pretty epic by the time the Sunday market rolls around. This is fast food, rather than somewhere to linger – but with a Cordon Bleu-trained chef behind the menu, you’re guaranteed some of the best scrambled eggs in town. Brioche buns from Bread Ahead bakery are stuffed full with various combinations of egg, gooey cheese, caramelised onions, bacon and even wagyu beef, all parceled up in a brown paper bag for a perfect quick brunch fix.

    Address: Eggslut, 185 Portobello Road, Notting Hill, London W11 2ED


    Telephone: +44 20 3745 1920


    Website: eggslut.com

  • Notting Hill - an insider guide

    Eggbreak

    No prizes for guessing which ingredient takes centre stage at this perennially popular café in the heart of Hillgate Village. From the same stable as hipster hotel chain the Hoxton, it draws the biggest crowds at weekend brunch, when tourists and locals drop in for cold-pressed juices, mugs of tea and shakshuka, eggs benedict or even a downright dirty fried-chicken burger. The vibe’s very Soho Farmhouse – creamy tongue and groove walls, kitsch china plates and chipped metal chairs.

    Address: Eggbreak, 30 Uxbridge Street, Notting Hill, London W8 7TA


    Telephone: +44 20 3535 8300


    Website: eggbreak.com

  • Notting Hill - an insider guide

    Farm Girl

    This Aussie-inspired café on Portobello Road fills up quickly on weekends with gym bunnies fresh from yoga and spinning, as brunch hits of turmeric-rinsed oats and BLT’s with vegan coconut ‘bacon’ are doled out. The coffee is excellent and there are plenty of blue, gold and rose matcha lattes too, plus a choice of kombucha – a fermented tea that’s all the rage in LA and oh-so-good for the gut.

    Address: Farm Girl, 59a Portobello Road, Notting Hill, London W11 3DB


    Telephone: +44 20 7229 4678


    Website: thefarmgirl.co.uk

    Coffee Plant

    This no-frills coffee emporium on Portobello Road, which started life as a pavement bean stall, has been here for more than 20 years. It’s an importer and roaster above all – smart Notting Hillites come by to stock up on supplies of organic and fairtrade beans – but the low-key coffee shop serves the best macchiato in the West and fresh croissants and pastries are baked on site each morning.

    Address: Coffee Plant, 180 Portobello Road, Notting Hill, London W11 2EB


    Telephone: +44 20 7221 8137


    Website: coffee.uk.com

  • Notting Hill - an insider guide

    Ottolenghi

    Star chef Yotam Ottolenghi’s deli and restaurant emporium may now stretch across London – but it was here in Notting Hill that it all began. His original outpost has been open for almost 17 years, and the tiny site’s calming all-white interiors are decorated with a long counter groaning under a visual feast of colourful salads, pastries, cakes and huge oversized meringues. The menu changes regularly but remains resolutely Middle Eastern, featuring veggie-led dishes including roasted aubergine with feta, pomegranate and mint and za’atar fritters with rose-harissa yoghurt. There’s a tiny seating area at the back, but everything’s available for home delivery or to take away.

    Address: Ottolenghi, 63 Ledbury Road, Notting Hill, London W11 2AD


    Telephone: +44 20 7727 1121


    Website: ottolenghi.co.uk

  • Notting Hill - an insider guide

    Granger and Co

    Self-taught Aussie chef Bill Granger’s original UK outpost of his eponymous restaurant chain is still the best. Be prepared to queue if you’re visiting at peak weekend brunch time – people flock here for his menu of healthy salads, rice bowls and a handful of more decadent dishes too, including scrambled eggs made with gallons of cream and his famous ricotta pancakes with melting honeycomb butter. There’s a cool Sydney beach café vibe, and the full Aussie breakfast is particularly popular, served with jasmine tea-smoked salmon, poached eggs and lots of greens.

    Address: Granger & Co, 175 Westbourne Grove, Notting Hill, London W11 2SB


    Telephone: +44 20 7229 9111


    Website: grangerandco.com

  • Notting Hill - an insider guide

    Daylesford

    Daylesford’s original outpost is in the Cotswolds, of course – but this urban version has the same fiercely strong farm to fork ethos focusing on organic, seasonal and delicious food. Upstairs, an open kitchen serves all-day menus of squash and courgette tarts, bee pollen and kale salads and a vegan bolognese, while the deli and bakery downstairs sell heaps of treats to take home including freshly baked loaves and artisan cheeses from the creamery at the Cotswolds farm. It’s usually filled with yummy mummies, catching up over a matcha latte at one of the stripped-wood communal tables.

    Address: Daylesford, 208-212 Westbourne Grove, Notting Hill, London W11 2RH


    Telephone: +44 20 7313 8050


    Website: daylesford.com

    The best bars and pubs in Notting Hill

  • Notting Hill - an insider guide

    The KPH

    The KPH has always been a bit of a Notting Hill legend. It’s where Tom Jones performed his very first London gig, and the Clash’s Mick Jones famously declared it his favourite local. But it had been crying out for a refurb, and when it closed a few years ago neighbours rallied around and launched a high-profile campaign to save it from being snapped up by developers. Harcourt Inns – the group behind The Coach in Clerkenwell and the Three Cranes in the City – swooped in and, after a two-year overhaul, it’s just reopened as a super-smart pub, decked out with red-leather banquettes, original fireplaces and stripped wooden panelling. Upstairs there’s a proper dining room, run by ex-St John chef Ruairidh Summers. The seasonally changing menu is filled with French bistro classics: toasted brioche loaded with creamy foie gras; anchovy-studded lamb rump; clams cooked in Normandy cider and a huge cut of perfectly pink côte de boeuf that could easily feed three. The food is superb – and a surefire sign of the steady gentrification of this slightly grittier end of Notting Hill.


    Address: The KPH, 139 Ladbroke Grove, Notting Hill, London W10 6HJ


    Telephone: +44 20 7199 7236


    Website: thekph.co.uk

  • Notting Hill - an insider guide

    The Ladbroke Arms

    Tucked away on a quiet residential street behind Notting Hill’s main drag, the Ladbroke Arms feels more like a quaint village pub than a London boozer. You’re likely to find locals here rather than tourists, and on sunny days the flower-filled terrace swarms with regulars drinking a craft ale with their dogs in tow. Behind the bar, there’s a dining room serving gastropub-quality food and brilliant Sunday roasts – and the extensive wine list includes a handful of organic and natural bottles too.

    Address: The Ladbroke Arms, 54 Ladbroke Road, London W11 3NW


    Telephone: +44 20 7 727 6648


    Website: ladbrokearms.com

    The Hillgate

    Sleepy Hillgate Village, with its rows of pretty pastel-coloured houses and narrow one-way streets, is hands-down one of Notting Hill’s loveliest enclaves. Once a fairly rowdy sports bar, The Hillgate is now a bright-eyed local pub set in an imposing Victorian townhouse on the corner – it can get quite noisy (in a good way) on a Friday and Saturday evening, but draws a particularly family-friendly crowd for Sunday lunch. The resolutely British menu feels more comfort food than fine-dining and it’s worth booking ahead for a table.

    Address: The Hillgate, 24 Hillgate Street, Notting Hill, London W8 7SR


    Telephone: +44 20 7727 8566


    Website: thehillgate.com

    The Windsor Castle

    The Windsor Castle is a pub with proper history – back when it first opened in the 1820s, farmers would stop by for a pint on their way to Hyde Park’s livestock market. There was a clear sightline of its royal namesake from one of the upstairs windows – but sadly a rather ugly block of flats now blocks the view. Today, the pub has dodged dramatic modernisation and kept its slightly scruffy village inn charm – the Victorian wooden screens originally used to separate the men’s and women’s bars still remain in place, as do the wood-panelled beams and open fireplaces. The huge beer garden out the back is a real boon, and there’s good solid pub fare on the menu too: fish and chips, steak and cheddar pie and bangers and mash.

    The Cow

    Tom Conran’s (of Conran family fame) pub on Westbourne Park Road is legendary – and the beef and ale pies and pints of prawns are almost as celebrated as its regulars. One-time neighbour Stella McCartney has held many a party here; David Beckham and Tom Cruise have washed down oysters with Guinness – and there’s a cheerfully scruffy feel to the place, even if the upstairs restaurant’s recent makeover managed to smarten things up a tad. The bar area is always packed, and there’s a small pavement terrace that drinkers spill out onto on warmer evenings.

    Address: The Cow, 892 Westbourne Park Road, Notting Hill, London W2 5QH


    Telephone: +44 20 7221 5400


    Website: thecowlondon.co.uk

  • Notting Hill - an insider guide

    Trailer Happiness

    What poses as a Hawaiian shop-window display at 177 Portobello Road is in fact the entrance to Trailer Happiness, a drinking den of creative cocktails with a tiki-twist, where rum is king and kitsch and off-beat interiors set the tone. Concoctions include Hell in the Pacific (rum, grenadine liqueur, fresh lime juice and pomegranate molasses) and Jezebel’s Blush (rum shaken with crème de pêche, falernum-spiced syrup, lime and Veuve Clicquot). The mixologists entertain the crowd with theatrical moves, shakes and flames, as do the DJs on designated nights when they transform the bar into a bona fide party zone of house, reggae, funk, soul and hip-hop. Guests are advised to stick to two of the Zombie cocktails each – a dangerous blend of rum and absinthe – although the beef sliders, Jamaican-style patties and jerk chicken do a great job of soaking up any over-indulgence.

    Address: Trailer Happiness, 177 Portobello Road, Notting Hill, London W11 2DY


    Telephone: +44 20 7041 9833


    Website: trailer.com

  • Notting Hill - an insider guide

    The Portobello Star

    For a local G&T there’s really only one place to go: the Portobello Star, which has been serving booze since 1740, and crafting its own rather brilliant gin for the past eight years. Order a Portobello Pour (made with 1724 tonic and a twist of pink grapefruit peel); if you want to know more there are Ginstitute classes and a small museum upstairs (and down the road at 186 is London’s first gin hotel, The Distillery, which flung open its doors in early 2017).

    Address: The Portobello Star, 171 Portobello Road, Notting Hill, London W11 2DY


    Telephone: +44 20 7229 8220


    Website: portobellostarbar.com

  • Notting Hill - an insider guide

    Notting Hill Arts Club

    A long-standing favourite with locals, this scruffy basement music and arts venue is one of the early pioneers of niche club nights and music genres, hosting everything from Afrobeats and dubstep to moombahton and hip hop. There’s a small stage that plays host to an eclectic array of live acts and DJs, and the drinks are very reasonably priced for this part of town.

    Address: Notting Hill Arts Club, 21 Notting Hill Gate, London W11 3JQ


    Telephone: +44 20 7460 4459


    Website: nottinghillartsclub.com

  • Notting Hill - an insider guide

    The Globe

    Opened in the 1960s as a hole-in-the-wall speakeasy that Hendrix, the Stones and Bob Marley all frequented, The Globe must be one of West London’s oldest late-night hangouts. Today, it’s still a community favourite; the buzzing basement dive bar churns out old-school hip hop and reggae on Thursday, Friday and Saturday nights from 10.30pm. Don’t bother dressing up – it’s small, sweaty and gritty – but unashamedly good fun.

    Address: The Globe, 103 Talbot Road, Notting Hill, London W11 2AT


    Telephone: +44 20 7221 0652


    Website: theglobeclub.com

    The best things to do in Notting Hill

  • Notting Hill - an insider guide

    Notting Hill Carnival

    Notting Hill’s annual Carnival, held over the August bank holiday, is the biggest street party in Europe – over a million revelers line the streets to enjoy the thrilling, colourful spectacle celebrating London’s vibrant multicultural communities. Read our full guide to the 2019 Carnival here.

  • Notting Hill - an insider guide

    Electric Cinema

    Retreat from the crowds and take in a matinée at the Electric Cinema, one of the country’s oldest and most romantic movie houses. Sink into the depths of its luxurious leather armchairs and sofas with a glass of wine (there’s no need for popcorn, as substantial bar snacks are prepared in the adjoining Electric Diner).

    Address: Electric Cinema, 191 Portobello Road, Notting Hill, London W11 2ED


    Telephone: +44 20 7 908 9696


    Website: electriccinema.co.uk

  • Notting Hill - an insider guide

    The Tabernacle

    More offbeat is The Tabernacle, a former evangelist church that now serves as an arts centre. Come here for theatre and cabaret nights, for early-evening alfresco drinks and, during the Carnival weekend, for the best barbecue in town. It is also the west London home of the 5×15 lectures, where writers, broadcasters, actors and artists take to the stage to give a 15-minute lecture on their chosen subject. At Christmas there’s an alternative annual pantomime season – those treading the boards in recent years have included Lily Allen, Jaime Winstone and Tom Hollander. During the week you can join ballet, Pilates, yoga and samba sessions, too: a great warm-up for Carnival dancing.

    Address: The Tabernacle, 35 Powis Square, Notting Hill, London W11 2AY


    Telephone: +44 20 7 221 9700


    Website: tabernaclew11.com

  • Notting Hill - an insider guide

    Portobello Road

    Portobello Market is one of the world’s most famous street markets, stretching along for more than two miles. Best known for its eclectic antique stalls, bric-a-brac, vintage fashion boutiques and artisan fishmongers and cheese shops, it’s open six days a week for treasure hunting. Friday and Saturday mornings are the buzziest time to visit – fill your shopping basket with chandeliers, cauliflowers and vintage Chanel before stopping off to refuel at one of the many globetrotting street-food stands dotted along the stretch of the market. The grande dame of pre-loved designer brands is Rellik– set in the shadow of the infamous Trellick Tower, this fashion emporium is a favourite of Kate Moss and the go-to place for retro style lovers.

  • Notting Hill - an insider guide

    Golborne Road

    At the slightly less chichi end of Portobello, Golborne Road has a scruffier and more independent feel, with its colourful flea market and second-hand stalls; but it is also lined with dozens of treasure-trove shops. Among them is the cheekily named Les Couilles du Chien, which sells unusual antiques, decorative mirrors and lighting, and framed butterflies and beetles. Phoenix on Golborne stocks beautiful antique furniture including Victorian dressers and marble-topped sideboards, plus a handful of vintage accessories. For a fashion fix, Kokon To Zai is an extraordinary boutique: among the stuffed peacocks and design accessories you’ll find British fashion labels hanging alongside own-label KTZ. Found and Vision stocks vintage Chanel, Dior and Issey Miyake – the boutique’s celeb fans include Florence Welch and Sienna Miller.

  • Notting Hill - an insider guide

    Westbourne Grove

    For high-end shopping, head to Westbourne Grove, which cuts across Portobello Road. If you’re into French-girl style, you’re in the right place – here you’ll find branches of Sandro, Maje, the Kooples and Sézanne (the store’s first permanent London home). Then there’s Heidi Klein’s whitewashed swimwear boutique, Matches (one of the online designer retailer’s three brick and mortar stores) and just round the corner Anya Hindmarch, with her eponymous brand’s quirky collection of handbags and accessories.

    Where to stay in Notting Hill

  • Notting Hill - an insider guide

    The Laslett

    In an area strangely short of decent hotels, the deeply stylish and affordable Laslett is a real gem. Set across five Victorian townhouses, this is a modern boutique hotel that remains true to the spirit of the ‘old’ Notting Hill, created by long-time locals using cult artists, architects, designers and chefs from the area. It’s been shaped by British brands and interiors are delightfully restrained, with head-cooling rooms done up in neutral greys and whites and a lovely bar and library where locals hang out. Rather than a full-blown restaurant, there’s a snack menu served in the bar and lobby – but use that as an excuse to get out and try the excellent restaurants right on the doorstep.

    Address: The Laslett, 8 Pembridge Gardens, Notting Hill, London W2 4DU


    Telephone: +44 207 7792 6688


    Website: the-laslett.com


    Price: Doubles from £170

  • Notting Hill - an insider guide

    The Portobello Hotel

    The Portobello Hotel has something of a cult international following – it’s here that Kate Moss and Johnny Depp allegedly filled a bath with champagne, Alice Cooper kept a pet boa constrictor and Robbie Williams tried to buy the circular bed in the hotel’s now infamous Room 16. It’s been open since the early 1970s, and visitors are drawn to the innate quirkiness of its golden bathtubs, eccentric antiques, chintzy wallpaper and four posters so vast they need steps to reach them. There’s no restaurant but room service runs 24 hours a day, and there’s an honesty bar in the sitting rooms for guests to fix themselves a drink at any hour.


    Address: The Portobello Hotel, 22 Stanley Gardens, Notting Hill, London W11 2NG


    Telephone: +44 020 7727 2777


    Website: portobellohotel.com


    Price: Doubles from £130

    Scroll down for more pictures of Notting Hill…

    Or now read:

    The ultimate guide to Notting Hill Carnival 2019

    Notting Hill Carnival 2019: the essential guide

Our Stoke Newington neighbourhood guide

The insider Stoke Newington neighbourhood guide

Things to do in London this weekend

Things to do in London this week: 30 November – 6 December 2020

  • Notting Hill - an insider guide

    E&O restaurant

  • Notting Hill - an insider guide

    Uli restaurant

  • Notting Hill - an insider guide

    Daylesford

  • Notting Hill - an insider guide

    Gold

  • Notting Hill - an insider guide

    Farmacy

  • Notting Hill - an insider guide

    Shops in Portobello Road

  • Notting Hill - an insider guide

    Electric Cinema

  • Notting Hill - an insider guide

    Shops in Portobello Road

  • Festival-goers at Notting Hill Carnival

  • Notting Hill - an insider guide

    Crowds at Notting Hill Carnival

  • Notting Hill - an insider guide

    Portobello Road

  • Notting Hill - an insider guide

    Golbourne Road

  • Notting Hill - an insider guide

    The terrace at The Laslett Hotel

  • Notting Hill - an insider guide

    The drinks trolley at The Laslett Hotel

  • Notting Hill - an insider guide

    Restaurant at The Laslett Hotel

  • Notting Hill - an insider guide

    Bathroom in the better room at The Portobello Hotel

  • Notting Hill - an insider guide

    Mazi, Notting Hill

  • Notting Hill - an insider guide

    Mazi, Notting Hill

  • Notting Hill - an insider guide

    Mazi, Notting Hill

  • Notting Hill - an insider guide

    Antique shop at Portobello Road Market in Notting Hill