Putting together a travel guide to London is a daunting task. How can you sum up a city is so big and diverse?
When Homestay invited me to stay in London last month I wracked my brain, trying to figure out how to share my trip with you. I spent several days painstakingly putting together a list of the most photogenic spots in the city, but there was nothing to tie all those magical bouquets and candy-coloured doorways together.
And then it dawned on me – I should just write the post I’d been wanting to read for so long. The one I asked Google about dozens of times. A series of Instagram guides to London, showing you the prettiest corners of the British capital.
I’m kicking things off with Notting Hill, one of London’s most iconic neighbourhoods. If you’re looking for accommodation in the area check out Homestay and their friendly local guides!
Start your day off with a leisurely stroll around Little Venice. The canals and moored boats will transport your mind far from London, to a tranquil Italian backwater – albeit one with unpredictable English weather.
Little Venice is technically not in Notting Hill, but it’s just a 30-minute walk from Portobello Road and well worth seeing.
Portobello Road is the heart and soul of Notting Hill. If you can handle crowds, visit on a Saturday to witness the famous antiques market which started back in the 1860s. If not visit while people are at work and wander around, snapping photos of all those dreamy doorways.
Food and veg stalls are open most days in the area between Elgin Crescent and the Westway, from 9am-6pm with early closing times (around 1pm) on Thursday.
I’ll let you discover the area for yourself, but here are a two things you should know… a) Portobello Print & Map Shop sells original antique maps, some dating back to the 1600s – a travel enthusiast’s wet dream. b) The fabulous Notting Hill Carnival takes place here every August Bank Holiday.
Notting Hill Bookshop
If you’re a fan of the 1999 film “Notting Hill”, here’s a location you must visit – Notting Hill Bookshop. The Travel Bookshop from the movie was based on a real store on Blenheim Crescent, just off Portobello road.
The original shop ironically closed down in 2011 because of rising costs in the area, largely thanks to the film that made it famous. But The Notting Hill Bookshop has taken its place and is the perfect spot for bookworms and romcom fans alike.
280 Westbourne Park Road
Speaking of “Notting Hill”… who could forget Hugh Grant’s shabby blue-doored house? The door was painted black for a long time, but in 2013 the owners kindly restored it back to its cobalt glory. For more famous filming locations in this neighbourhood, read this guide.
Electric Cinema in Notting Hill was founded in 1911 and is one of the oldest working cinemas in the country. It also has incredibly comfortable seating which consists of upholstered armchairs, sofas and even beds!
Farm Girl Cafe
Farm Girl is a shabby-chic Australian cafe which will give you instant Instagram credit. I happily paid £3.10 for their rose latte and I don’t even drink coffee! The food is also delicious with lots of vegetarian options, like this kimchi and seaweed salad with avocado.
Other fantastic – and highly Instagrammable – restaurants in Notting Hill include Eggbreak, Nama and Granger & Co. They’re all quite pricy, but well worth a visit.
Wild at Heart is one of the prettiest floral shops you’ll ever encounter. Whether you’re looking to buy some fresh bouquets or just update your Instagram gallery, this is a spot you shouldn’t miss.
If you’d like to follow this Instagram guide to Notting Hill as a self-guided tour, here’s a map. If you don’t have much time leave out Little Venice – this will halve the walking time.
What would you add to this Notting Hill Instagram guide? Which London neighbourhood would you like me to cover next?