This bank holiday, Notting Hill is going to look like an entirely different place to the vibrant and raucous party venue that I’m used to. In normal circumstances I’d have liked a break from the Notting Hill Carnival, but now it’s really (not) happening I’d like nothing more than to have Europe’s biggest street party back in my neighbourhood.
However, don’t let that stop you taking a bank holiday trip to the area – even without the carnival, there’s still a whole host of eclectic things to enjoy in Notting Hill.
Over on Golborne Road there’s Lisboa Patisserie. It’s a long-standing, simple Portuguese café and bakery with no frills service and some of the best pastéis de nata (custard tarts) outside of Lisbon itself. They have so many other kinds of pastries that you could come every day for a month and have a different one. But the nata really take the biscuit (😉), so much so, they usually sell out around 2pm. If you’re lucky enough to get a seat outside at Lisboa, you’ll get a great view of the Trellick Tower. The listed brutalist building is very much a love/hate part of the neighbourhood, but I lean more on the side of love.
Portobello Road isn’t quite what it used to be in pre pandemic times, the market still runs but not to the same volume as it used to. If you fancy paying the area a visit, there’s plenty of places to stop for a bite in amongst the antique and knick-knack shops. Makan Café is a Malaysian take-away and restaurant, again, lo-fi but the food is delicious. My order is the Nasi Goreng (stir-fry). If you are looking for somewhere a little more up-market, there’s the Electric Diner. It serves American-style food, but with a modern twist, in a trendy setting. It’s part of Electric Cinema (next door), one of the oldest working cinemas in the UK.
My top-rated pub in the area is The Elgin on Ladbroke Grove. It’s a classic pub and it has some of the nicest chandeliers I’ve ever seen in a London pub.
My favourite park in the area is Holland Park – the biggest in the borough and it’s full of wildlife. Yes, there are the usual squirrels, but the park also has peacocks. The extra special part of the park is the Japanese Kyoto Garden. It was donated by the Chamber of Commerce of Kyoto in 1991 and it can transport you outside of London. It’s the best spot for a bit of peace and quiet in the area.
Notting Hill is incredibly diverse and because of this, my top recommendation is to wander. You’ll find quirky shops, colourful houses and even more vibrant people. Sadly, my neighbourhood will be a little less vibrant this August bank holiday, but you can tune in to Notting Hill Carnival virtually by registering here. There’s four different channels running from Saturday 29th to Monday 31st August with 42 sound systems. Find out everything you need to know about Notting Hill Carnival 2020 here – https://nhcarnival.org/.
Of course, if you’re looking to get to Notting Hill for a mooch this weekend, you can get there in safety and comfort with us. It might even be me picking you up!