London is home to some of the most fashionable neighbourhoods in the world that comprises of some of the costliest real estate in the world. A visit to London would be incomplete without a tour of these famous neighbourhoods.
If you do plan a trip to the city, then travelling in the off-season will garner some of the best London hotel packages and discounts.
One of the best spots to stay in the city when on holiday is the Paddington area in central London. It is home to many fine luxury hotels like the Park Grand London Paddington Hotel, a family friendly hotel affordably priced. When in the city one of the best neighbourhoods to check out is the fashionable area of Notting Hill. Its popularity skyrocketed when the eponymously titled movie featuring Hugh Grant and Julia Roberts was filmed here.
History of Notting Hill
While the city is happening and trendy today, this was not always the case with the location half a century ago. In fact it was one of the shabbier sections of the city, which was more renowned for its swine farms and was a rural area. It earned the title of “The Piggeries and Potteries” because of its clay and pig farms located in the area. Things deteriorated further in the post Second World War years to such an extent that it became a slum area of London. Later is was inhabited by West Indian immigrants and the artsy type who flocked to the area. It was only during the eighties that gentrification of the area began and today it is out of the trendier spots in the city.
The flipside of gentrification was that many of its creative type residents had to shift from the area, because of the hike in rental and property rates. With established businesses shutting shop in the area, a plethora of new ventures came up that included boutiques and trendy restaurants. All of this revolutionised Notting Hill. Today Notting Hill is famous for its colourful homes and of course the popular Notting Hill Carnival, which attracts visitors from all across Europe and is a melting pot of diverse cultures and creeds.
Some of the top attractions worth visiting in the area include:
The Electric Cinema: The cinema underwent extensive renovation that helped to restore it to its past glory. With comfy leather seats its warm and cosy ambience offers a mix of the classics and contemporary cinema. To have a one-of-a-kind experience shell out a bit more for the two-seater sofas, where you can lie back and relax watching a movie with a bottle of wine. A very relaxing way to enjoy the entertainment!
The Bankrobber Gallery: You can enjoy some of the best street art in areas around East London, with masterful creations by artists like Banksy, Herakut etc. Alternately, if you want to see some of their amazing creations in an indoor environment, the Bankrobber Gallery is the place to visit. It offers an impressive collection of street art including the edgy stuff like the blood artwork of Pete Doherty. Apart from exhibiting art creations they also sell original creations and art pieces.
Kensington Park: A visit to the area would be incomplete without a tour of stunning Kensington Park. It is one of the most beautiful parks in London and a great place to chill out in the summer months. With incredibly beautiful gardens, plenty of seating arrangements, a large playground and tennis courts it is a lovely place to spend an afternoon.
Portobello Music: A one-of-a-kind store that repairs a host of musical instruments and also sells them. They have been around for three decades and also deal in used and new instruments. From having a musical instrument customised, to finding replacements and any other related requirements, this is the place to visit. They have a team of 4 members who repair any kind of musical instruments, and they are incredibly good at it, with a turn-around of a day!
Notting Hill Arts Club: Hep and happening is the term to describe the Notting Hill Arts Club. Entry is free if you make it before 8pm and then they charge a nominal fee. With live music performances all through the week and some of the coolest DJs spinning tracks, it is party time every night. As the opening hours tend to vary and a variety of events lined up all through the week, it is best to visit their website to know the about the latest schedules.
Portobello Road Market: While there are plenty of exciting attractions in the area, Portobello Market is probably the biggest draw. It is recognised as one of the best street markets in Europe and is popular with visitors and Londoners alike. It passes through the heart of Notting Hill and the area earned greater recognition after it was featured in the movie Notting Hill. It stretches across half a mile ad is home to an eclectic variety of stalls, arcades and shopping outlets. It is where you will find the most cutting edge fashion, music and books among other things. It is also a great place to strike terrific bargains!
What day is Portobello Market Open? 09:00 – 18:00 Monday To Wednesday. 09:00 – 13:00 Thursday. 09:00 – 19:00 Friday Antique stalls. 09:00 – 19:00 Saturday Main day.
Museum of Brands: All of us city-slickers have purchased and used various brands of items and goods in our daily lives, since our childhood. That would include a diverse variety of brands and products most of which are represented at the museum. Its full form is,” The Museum of Brands, Packaging, and Advertising”. It began in 1984, with the personal collection of Robert Opie. Visitors can take guided tours of the place and there are numerous special events and exhibits held at different parts of the year. After you have finished exploring the interesting exhibits on display, drop in at their gift shop to pick up some unique souvenirs.