Bohemian vibes in Notting Hill
I remember the first time I heard about Notting Hill, when the movie with Julia Roberts and Hugh Grand came out around the 2000s (to be more precise, it came out in 1999, but I was only 9 back then, so I'm sure I saw it later in my teenage years).
Years have passed since and my trips to London have become a regular yearly thing. I go to London at least once a year and I love it more every time. Usually, I would hang out around Mayfair, Soho or Covent Garden (I know, it sounds posh, my day job involves promoting luxury hotels) but this time I stayed in West Kensington and took a day to explore bohemian Notting Hill.
If you are the kind of person who loves gem stones, antiques, Tibetan singing bowls, drinking beer from a bottle white listening to Reggae-inspired music and people watching, you'll love Portobello Road and Portobello Market. For Portobello Market, the world's largest antique market, the main day is Saturday, however if you wish to go another day of the week check their opening times as they are open in the mornings during the week. I went on a Thursday and many stores were open, as well as some food trucks with barbecue, music and beer, but what I liked was that is was not very busy - so I got the best of both worlds, a quiet stroll through colorful Noting Hill and the bohemian vibe of the stores and people that inhabit this amazing part of London.
My day in Noting Hill started with a stroll through Holland Park, which is full of squirrels. I have never seen a city park with so many squirrels and especially so friendly! Check out the video below to see how close one of them got, I think she or he sensed #choiceofmagic and wanted to be part of it. Holland Park feels at times like Narnia in the middle of London. It is raw, wild and alive. When you think you've arrived at untouched territory, you stumble upon a beautifully arranged garden with peasants and lakes, such as the Kyoto Garden.
When you go to Notting Hill, go with an open mind and not too many plans. Go with the flow, enjoy the colors, the people and the stores. You don't know what exactly you'll stumble upon, maybe you'll be inspired by a particular street and it's perfect houses, buy a piece of art or get a tattoo. This is how I approached it and I left feeling full of life, after many hours of walking the streets with no purpose. Sometimes, the best plan is no plan at all.
In the spirit of going with the flow, I found a restaurant that looked nice and entered to have lunch. And what a perfect choice it was. Electric Diner was everything I needed after a chilly stroll through Notting Hill. Cozy but cool atmosphere, good food (both the comforting Mozzarella fingers and the healthy black rice and tofu salad were delicious), cold beer and genuine service.
I will surely be back to Notting Hill and who knows, maybe I'll get a tattoo next time.
Portobello Market opening times: http://www.portobelloroad.co.uk/
Electric Diner: http://www.electricdiner.com/