Tuesday, January 15, 2019

London: Notting Hill and Portobello Road -- Whew!

Long before I saw the film "Notting Hill" I knew about Portobello Road and its market. I'd read about it in any number of books (because my favorite books are set in England!) and I knew about antiques and secondhand things. I knew I had to go.


But I wasn't sure how Rick would take to it! After all, shopping isn't always his thing and I wasn't sure that this was his shopping. But what the heck? We're in London!


So, on a very warm, 70-degree-plus, mid-October day, we took the bus outside to Notting Hill Gate and were on our way. It was one of my favorite days!


Why? Well, first of all, it was gorgeous. And second, there was all that wonderful shopping!


Plus, it was a mass of people. Now, I'm not great in crowds and yet this didn't bother me. Not a bit.


Everyone was having a good time, moving along at whatever pace they chose.


When we first got off the bus, most of what we saw was trash and trinkets and I was a little worried! But as we went deeper into what seemed like a mile-long market area, it really developed! There were shops with sidewalk bins. Linens, antiques, china, silver.


You name it, it was there. I bought a small spoon at this vendor who had some lovely miniatures.


Rick spent some time looking at vintage maps.


Personally, I think Rick was a little bummed about the haggling at this booth. He loves to haggle.


I didn't get this. But wish I had.


I could have spent a bit here too -- I'm not sure how much was sterling, plate or just shiny but it all looked pretty!


I loved the modern day version of the costermonger carts.


This one had every olive, garlic and pepper known to humankind, I think!


People were buying all sorts of things -- fruits, veggies and herbs...


...fresh fish...


...hats...


...and antique toys.


I think we heard every language under the sun, the least of which was English!


And the food! Well, the market had the food court to end all food courts. Food from Afghanistan? Sure! Poland? Of course! Crepes? Oui! Tacos? Si!


There was Indian, Italian, Middle Eastern. We enjoyed a delicious paella.


Then on to more looking.


Even the streets and buildings were lovely and their bright colors added to the ambience.


But always present was the ghost of Grenfell Towers, the apartment building not far that had suffered terrible loss in a fire on June 14, 2017.


It was clear that this was a neighborhood that supported its community.


Of course, if you're a "Notting Hill" movie fan, you can't be in this neighborhood and not recall the famous "Blue Door" of William's house. It was quite the photo op. (Rick actually spotted it because of people taking photos by it!)


For me, too!


And this building was his pal's restaurant in the film. It's now a gift shop.


There's loads of street entertainment too. Musicians, of course, but I liked these marionettes.


We even saw the Queen! OK, not quite. But close!


All in all, I'd recommend Portobello Road if this is your thing and crowds don't totally freak you out. It was one of my favorite times in England and I'd go back in a heartbeat!

 

Travel Tips


  • It's easy to access Portobello Road market from the bus or tube. Be prepared to walk.
  • Wear comfy shoes. If you do the whole thing, it's a long haul.
  • Bring cash. This is not a credit card venue, although the shops along the road do accept cards.
  • Make a plan to know where your travel partner is -- either a meeting spot or at least clothing recognition so if you are separated you can find each other in the crowd.
  • Be adventurous! The food court was great. Try something new. (I sort of wish I'd tried this fruit drink!)



Next time? I'll take you somewhere a tad more cerebral!

Sharing this week with:  Let's Add Sprinkles    /       Pink Saturday  /     Take Me Away Blog Party   

50 comments:

Pamela said...

What fun! I love searching for treasures in places like this!

La Table De Nana said...

Reminds me of my fave Euro markets:) Oh my gosh you left the cat?? Jeanie! You showed restraint beyond measure..
It's funny it would have been my fave day too..Perfect pic you and the blue door:)
Forgive my ignorance..is the Chelsey Market Flower show in that proximity?I'd love that.

Carol @Comfort Spring Station said...

Oh my this is my kind of day - love vintage. I first heard of Portobello Road in the movie "Bedknobs and Broomsticks". The name makes me think of Angela Lansbury singing and dancing. Of course I love "Notting Hill" too. I so enjoyed our adventure today!

Sami said...

Wow, what a day, I would love to visit this market too Jeanie.
And that cat jug, what a pity you didn't get it, it's beautiful.
Nice photo by the Notting Hill door.

~Lavender Dreamer~ said...

Oh I would love it! Antique toys...I would be in heaven! And what would I buy? I see some of the prettiest little perfume bottles on one of those tables! Looks like FUN! Looks like I need another suitcase! Love the blue door and your happiness!

Penny from Enjoying The Simple Things said...

I would love to shop there! It reminded me of the flea markets in Paris.

Jean R. said...

Just amazing how much there was to see on your trip. Wonderful photos of interesting things and sites.

Mae Travels said...

The literary connection to Portobello Rd. for me is Paddington Bear. We visited there when Evelyn was young and a fan of Paddington (in fact, we visited several Paddington spots that trip!)

So sad that you didn't get the jug with Lizzie's image on it. Or any of those little picture frames.

best... mae at maefood.blogspot.com

Olka said...

Portobello Market is awesome! It's possible to buy a lot of unique things out there! I've bought amazing silver ring when I was there. There was the only one available and it was my size!
The road was super crowded when you were there. There wasn't so many people walking around during my trip there. Maybe because it was a winter time and people usually prefer to travel during summertime :D

Omg, this cat kettle! I love it!

DUTA said...

Markets everywhere attract me. I visited Portobello many years ago, and like you, loved it.
As for your visit and pictures, I like the food stalls, the surrounding buildings, and of course, your lovely picture by the blue door.

Joanne Huffman said...

What fun!

Ricki Treleaven said...

Notting Hill is one of my favorite movies. Love the photo of you by the blue door! I love that you posted so many photos so we can get a feel for what you see on a market day.

Valerie-Jael said...

This is definitely one of my fave corners of London. That blue cat jug is wonderful! I would have bought it! Hugs, Valerie

Iris Flavia said...

I´m with you, Jeanie. I don´t like crowds, but when I really do have fun it´s bearable :-)
Hmmmm those olives look yummy! Oh, and that red hat at the top! Taco! I never had one (but will in Perth). Oh, I get real hungry, going through your post!
Looks a bit like Denmark with the colored houses.
Must be great to see movie-details for real - and get your pic taken, too. A fun day :-)

David Gascoigne said...

I think we should award Rick the designation Knight of the Honourable Order of
Perseverance! He quite obviously has saintly qualities. He might well have preferred a root canal procedure perhaps but he soldiered on. Accolades are his due. Kudos his right. Now you have to promise, Jeanie, to never inflict such punishment on him ever again! Or.....he may just ride off on his bike, guitar strapped to his back and never return. I suspect that shopping on crowded streets was not what he had in mind on a visit to London.

Ms. K @ Write On Thyme said...

Wow, Jeanie! So fun to walk in your footsteps!Love those markets.

Barb said...

Jeanie - thank you for letting me be an armchair traveller. I really don't do crowds too well. I can see that you were in your element though. I think you should have bought the cat pitcher!

William Kendall said...

Quite busy, as you expect.

I couldn't have passed up that mug.

Susan Kane said...

In Bed knobs and Broom Sticks (Angela Langsbury in Disney movie, takes place in WW2)) Portobello Rd. was a great scene.

I love the signs about the quality items. We live in a world where everything is made comes China or southeast.

The Joy of Home with Martha Ellen said...

Hi, Liz sent me to your blog and I'm sure glad she did. She knows how much we love England. Portobello Rd looks like a great place to wander and take in the sights. I saw some great finds in your photos that would have been hard to leave. We travel to the countryside when we go to England, but this spot looks intriguing. ♥

My name is Erika. said...

This looks like fun shopping even for the non-shopper because you'll never know what you'll find. It looks like it is full of surprises. Yup, you should have gotten that pitcher. It was super! But oh well. If you bought everything you liked you might need to hire a plane to ship it home-or should I say I would have to. Hugs-Erika

Marilyn Miller said...

Now I wish I had gone there when I was in London a couple years ago. Oh could I have spent some money, especially on tea things. Very nice. Thanks for sharing and taking us along.

BB said...

This looks like so much fun... except for the crowds. My days of fording big crowds are over. Still, I'd love browsing through all that stuff! I remember the blue door. I loved that movie. The antique dolls are pretty. Glad you had good weather.

eileeninmd said...

Hello Jeanie, I am not into crowded areas but this looks like a fun place to shop and explore. There are so many fun things to buy and good food to eat. The Marionettes are cute. Love photo of you and the blue door. Great photos and post. Have a happy day and weekend ahead.

Rita C. said...

That's my kind of fun!! Love how that silver vendor hung those pots with those large S hooks. I may have to borrow that idea!

carol@The Red Painted Cottage said...

I love the movie Notting Hill and just purchased it on iTunes on a great sale. I love shopping at places like this so long as they aren’t knock offs.

Lauren @ My Wonderfully Made said...

Wow wow wow!!! I would have spent a week just shopping there!!

kitty@ Kitty's Kozy Kitchen said...

Oh what fun!!! My late beloved and I went to Ireland as our dream vacation, but I'd love to visit England one day. Thanks for sharing!

Shelia said...

Morning, Jeanie! Oh, I'm so enjoying my trip with you! I think I could have bought some things at that flea market! Hope all is well and you're having a grand week.

Be a sweetie,
Shelia ;)

Pam Richardson said...

Jeanie, this must have been shopping heaven. There is so much to see, it would be hard to take it all in. Was the spoon all that you purchased or did I miss another purchase? Oh how I am loving your travel posts!

Jeanne Washburn said...

I am now officially inspired to go back to England...I've never been to Portobello Road but this is now a must-see...the cat pitcher took my breath away...maybe it will still be there. :) And oh the silverware...small enough to carry home...a must purchase. What a fabulous trip. Thanks for taking us along!

Pat @ Mille Fiori Favoriti said...

I lived in New York CitY most my life so crowds don't bother me! ;) It has such a wonderful market!

One of my son's friends from high school actually lived near Portobello Road for a few years and I always enjoyed her Instagram feed about it. She married an Englishman and they had a little boy that she nicknamed "The Prince of Portobello Road". They moved to another part of Enhland last year, to a bigger home. I know she was sad about leaving that area. It even had good pizza!

Lisa from Lisa's Yarns said...

I didn't make it to this market when I was in London but wish I had! Some of it reminds me of the outdoor markets in Paris. I love checking out places like that - especially the food section!! So fun. Good walking shoes are definitely a requirement in a place like that!!

Nikki-ann said...

I love that area but it can get so busy at times.

Liz@ HomeandGardeningWithLiz said...

Again I am having fun going on this tour of London with you! I would love to have gone to Nottinghill! I of course fell in love with the movie but prior to that I knew nothing of it. Seeing it from this advantage is so fun! I would have been in big trouble at the market!

Judy at GoldCountryCottage said...

Jeanie, what fun. Very colorful and a great adventure. I would love the market. A reminder that I must see Nottinghill again!..Happy Wednesday..Judy

Beatrice P. Boyd said...

Thanks for all the tips and the tour of all the things you saw. Now I will have to go and watch the film again as I did not remember about the blue door. I must admit there were a lot of shoppers.

Arti said...

So glad you were able to see these famous spots, and that the weather was wonderful. I was there with my cousin a few years ago and it was a cold and grey October day. No crowds. And your Southbank post was lovely too. Now, I must visit again, and Europe, in the future. But right now, thank you for allowing me to be an armchair tourist. :)

Sandra at Maison De Jardin said...

Jeanie, I am new to your blog. But, what I treat I had going along on your marvelous trip. Goodness, I would have enjoyed the shopping. Your blog is lovely.

Jenny Woolf said...

Oh my, you have made me want to go to Portobello Road too - I have not been for years and I think it might have become bigger and even better. Some of these street entertainers are so clever. I saw one who could fold himself up into a fairly small basket. Do you remember pipe cleaners, and how we used to make "people" out of them? Well, a bit like that!
thanks for this lovely post, what super photos you take!

Beatrice Euphemie said...

Oh, my favorite way to sight-see! I always love to take home a trinket or two from a trip. Love the movie and so fun to see the 'real life' view of the area. I hate crowds, too, but when it's a market you don't even notice, unless someone tries to buy what you have your eye on! So sad about the fire, but wonderful that it remains in everyone's hearts and minds. Sending hugs x Karen

Red Rose Alley said...

Oh, I would have loved all this shopping! What a fantastic day you had, Jeanie. Those tea cups are so pretty, especially the blue ones. Jess would love to browse through the olives, as she's such an olive lover. I've never had Indian food before, but Nel loves it. I love that picture of the bright colored buildings. And those red buses are so delightful in London. I remember the girls taking a few pics of them when visiting London. What a cute picture of you standing by the blue door. I enjoyed this post a lot, Jeanie. I love to go shopping even if I don't buy any goodies.

~Sheri

Tracy said...

Oh, this was GREAT... Portobello Market is such FUN! Food of all sorts, stuff of all sorts, the colorful people and colorful architecture--gotta love it! It's so big, we've never done the whole thing, but it makes a fun start to a Saturday morning in London. So sad about Grenfell Towers :( I can't believe how much you did while in London, Jeanie... and with your wonky foot! But when away like that, somehow the body holds you up! ((HUGS))

Olka said...

I have no idea what's wrong, but I'm using the RSS app to be up to date with blogs all the time.
And I've read (and tried to comment) your post via the app. I got the notification, that this post doesn't exist. And I can't find it on your site. It's weird, but here is my comment to the post with the title:
Travel Break: What's New Here?

(any idea what exactly went wrong?)


I really like your Valentines decorations! :) We're not celebrating Valentines a lot - we usually go somewhere to eat some late dinner together but we're not buying any gifts each other.

Lizzie is so adorable! You look great together :)

Your drawings are interesting :) I haven't been drawing or painting for a long time too, but now I've tried my new watercolors and I love it! I've already made few paintings and I want to make more. I've ordered more colors and I'll create something new soon :)

Barbara Chapman said...

What a fun day!!! I am finding, too, that I can't do crowds too long anymore. My mother was that way and since I was 12 years old, I've taken myself clothes shopping before school each year by riding a bus (of course those days are LONG OVER, but, you know. ;)) My daughter isn't a crowd person either. I did think you were okay with it because you were having fun! :D

My SIL Linnea taught me to take a giant roll of bubble wrap whenever you go on vacation so you can wrap your china pieces and silver for the long bumpy flights home. I did that coming from England and only one teapot lost its spout. It is a treasure of a vase now. :)

Great post, Jeanie! Would love to visit that street market someday.
Hugs,
Barb :)

Linda @ A La Carte said...

Catching up on your posts. Now this would have been a favorite thing for me also. Love shopping and seeing all the fun items on display. The English china and mugs are so pretty. Fun day.

Karen (Back Road Journal) said...

It has been years since I've been to Portobello Road, what a change and I can't believe the crowds.

Pam Jackson said...

Wow....what an amazing trip you were able to take. Love it all.

The French Hutch said...

I know I'm a little late commenting and I'm so happy I didn't miss this post. Boy, what a treat seeing your photos. So much looks familiar. I have two oil painting of roosters my mother and father in law purchased for me. We took them with us on one of our trips and they wanted to treat me. They were 79 and 80. I sure hope I will be traveling at that age. They said it was for making all the arrangements and doing their packing. Honestly, I wasn't expecting anything, just delighted they were going. It was a wonderful time. Love the kitty mug, sorry you didn't get it. I enjoyed all the booths and just looking. I don't think I bought a thing, I get overwhelmed in crowds and not sure if things were authentic. But, just being there was enough for me. I'm totally enjoying your trip! All of your posts are awesome.

Bleubeard and Elizabeth said...

I'm even later, but won't miss a single bit of your trip. It's time to play catch up and I'm loving this post, although I confess, I took a long time reading about the Grenfell Towers fires, since I knew nothing about them until I did an internet search.

For 15 lbs, I would have bought that blue cat pitcher. It would fit well in my kitchen and give the boys something to look at, too (grin). All in all, a great day for you. Good tips, too.

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