When the place ‘Notting Hill’ comes to mind, many think of the elegant, yet posh, area of London  from the film of the same name, starring Julia Roberts and Hugh Grant. But it’s so much more than that - it’s a place full of art and culture.


On a sunny Saturday in April, I travelled with a friend on the tube to Notting Hill, in west London, to visit the famous bookshops. I was pleasantly surprised to be greeted with the buzzy Portobello Road market, full of art. There was a wide range of stalls, all on Portobello Road, selling everything from homemade bags to paintings, second hand records to antiques, a large selection of vintage clothes and of course lots of books.


The film ‘Notting Hill’ tells the story of William (Hugh Grant), an English bookseller, who meets and falls in love with Anna (Julia Roberts), a high-profile American actress. The film portrayed Notting Hill as a glamorous and charming area in Britain, almost as if it was an urban village within London. As you may expect there were many tourists visiting the film locations in the neighbourhood, including the iconic travel book shop that Hugh Grant’s character worked at. Disappointedly, this has now become a tourist shop, but it was fun to see nonetheless.


The movie, however, does not show just how much culture there is in Notting Hill. There is a Notting Hill Carnival every year in August, which is a Caribbean festival event that has taken place in London since 1966. This celebrates cultures from all over the world, as does the food market on Portobello Road that takes place every Saturday. It is bursting with all types of different cuisines, including Japanese, Venezuelan, Turkish, Spanish, Nigerian, German and so much more. Some people were even selling pasta they were hand making from scratch at the stall!


Milena, a teen from Richmond, commented: “I found Notting Hill interesting as they had so many markets selling so many different things. It was very busy there but that’s not too surprising as Notting Hill is one of the best places to spend your Saturday afternoon”. We finished the afternoon by walking past the grand, colourfully painted town-houses in the streets near Portobello that were unexpectedly quiet and very peaceful.


Overall, I recommend travelling to Notting Hill on a Saturday for an entertaining day of food, shopping and art.