I finally decided to make a day of visiting Portobello Market in the Notting Hill district in London. I was on my own and felt it was perfect timing to experience it for the first time! I’ve been hearing about it for years and it was on my must see list.
You’ll enjoy browsing and shopping it either on your own or with a friend. There’s something for everyone, from clothing to antiques, jewelry and food. It makes for a nice Saturday out and I’ve added a couple of options if you want to make a day of it.
One of the easiest ways to get to the Portobello market is to take the Tube (London underground) to the Notting Hill Gate station. There are two exits from the station, I came out and went the wrong way. A helpful bobby got me back on the right track.
So be sure when you exit from the underground station onto Notting Hill Gate Rd., you walk up the station steps and then towards Pembridge Rd. Be sure to head west for less than a block and you should reach Pembridge Rd almost immediately. You want to turn right on it so you’ll be heading north.
Walk to where Portobello Road forks to the left from Pembridge. You’ll see a well known pub called Sun in Splendor on the corner where you turn down. The market doesn’t start straight away but there are some interesting shops as you head down hill. In my opinion, the best of the Portobello market is at the top of the road. Chepstow Villas is the cross street where the market starts in earnest. As you get to the bottom of the hill, you’ll find more high street retail as well as to go food stalls as well as produce stalls.
Portobello market is well worth a visit and a browse. Lots of traditional antique stalls with silver ware and smalls, along with a mix of the eclectic from fur coats to Scottish cashmere. Expect to see high street retailers, silk and cashmere, jewelry of all sorts. Friday and Saturday are the main market days for antique dealers if that’s your interest.
Make your Portobello Market visit into a day trip
Once you leave Portobello Road market you can take NOTTING Hill Gate tube (the Circle line south) to the South Kensington exit. When you get to the station, look for signs to the museums. You’ll stay underground and use the tunnel to walk to the Victoria & Albert, Science and Natural History museums. You won’t be missing anything except traffic and I think it’s easier to get to the museums this way. The V&A is the first “exit” on your right. Be prepared to have your bag searched.
I wouldn’t miss the Victoria & Albert museum, home to thousands of exquisite collections from all over the UK and the world. There is a lovely cafe here as well as restrooms. If you have the energy, come back out the same exit to the tunnel and then keep walking to the Science Museum and Natural History museum entrances. All are free except for special exhibits which require a fee.
You’ve browsed around the V&A and are getting a bit peckish;
OR you haven’t fulfilled your shopping itch for the day.
If you exit the front of the V&A building, you’ll be on Brompton Road. Turn left and walk down Brompton until you see the tall brown Harrod’s on the opposite side of the street. This is about 10 minutes walk. Cross over and walk through the doors and be prepared to be either intimidated or enthralled by the lux cars, jewelry and ambiance. Walk through the cars and jewelry and you’ll see the entrance to the food hall in the center of Harrod’s. Enter and and be amazed. A caviar bar, seafood bar and cafe will tempt you to stop and join the multi national throngs dining here. Keep going and you’ll enter the self serve section unlike any other. Here you can grab a unique bite to eat on the go, from pastries, sushi, sandwiches and drinks.
Depending on where you want to go next the Knightsbridge station (PICADILLY line) is to the right of Harrod’s at the corner of Sloane St and Brompton Road. If you fancy eating your Harrod’s goodies right away, Hyde Park is literally steps away on the opposite side of the street from the station. Once you’re standing at the front of Harrods you’re looking over to the park.