Take either the Central, District, or Circle line to the Notting Hill Gate Tube station. (A number of buses also serve the area.) Signs at and near the station will show directions to the market.
The market operates every day except Sunday. It opens each morning at 8am, and closes at 6:30pm except for Thursday, when it closes at 1pm. Saturday is the main day for the antiques market.
What to Expect
If you go on a Saturday, expect a very packed street market that goes on for what seems like forever. (It’s over a half-mile long.) Each block or so has a new theme, such as antiques, food, arts & crafts, etc. In addition to the street vendors, there are also unique shops, cafes and restaurants on both sides along the entire length of the market. These can be just as good or better than the vendors on the street.
How Much Time?
It takes an hour or two to walk the length of the street. If you’re an intensive shopper, it could take a few hours more to browse the variety of shops available.
Portobello Road is one of the top markets in London, particularly for tourists. I would certainly recommend a visit, particularly for fans of the Notting Hill movie!
Tips for Visiting:
With the amount of walking and browsing you’re bound to do, make sure to wear comfortable shoes and dress for the weather. London can be unpredictable, so a light raincoat or umbrella might be a good idea.
Cash is King
While many stalls and shops do accept card payments, there are some that are cash only. There are ATMs around the market, but it’s always a good idea to carry some cash with you.
Haggling is Allowed
Especially in the antiques and bric-a-brac sections. But always remember to be polite and know that not every stallholder will be open to negotiation.
Early Birds Get the Worm
If you’re serious about shopping, particularly for antiques, try to get there early. The best items can be snapped up quickly, and the market is less crowded in the morning.
Stay Hydrated and Nourished
With so many food stalls and cafes along Portobello Road, take breaks to refresh and recharge. Trying out local delicacies is part of the market experience. You should try some proper jerk chicken from the Jamaican food wizards.
Mind your Belongings
Like any busy tourist spot, Portobello Road Market is no different. Always be aware of your belongings. Keep your bag zipped and close to you, and be wary of pickpockets.
History of the Market
The history of the Portobello Road Market dates back to the 19th century. Originally, it began as a fresh food market. Over the years, it has expanded to include second-hand goods, which eventually led to its fame as an antiques market. Today, while the antiques are a significant draw, the market offers a mix of fashion, crafts, music, and more, reflecting the diverse and ever-evolving culture of London.
Events and Festivals
Throughout the year, Portobello Road Market plays host to various events and festivals. The summer months often see live music, art displays, and other local festivities. It’s worth checking the market’s official website or local event listings to see if there’s something special happening during your visit.
The London Traveler Says
Whether you’re a movie fan, a passionate shopper, or simply a traveller eager to soak up the local London vibe, Portobello Road Market offers an unparalleled experience. The mix of history, culture, and shopping is irresistible. Don’t miss the chance to wander its bustling aisles, uncover hidden treasures, and immerse yourself in the spirit of Notting Hill.