Cool Places - The best places to stay in the UK

The Best Places to Stay in the UK

Notting Hill

A stroll down Portobello Road is a dizzying fall through the many strata of Notting Hill and London life - the road starts off in the tourist trap of Notting Hill Gate, down through the chic area of Westbourne Grove, on to Portobello Road with the famous antiques market, down through Ladbroke Grove and up through more recent housing estates up to Golborne Road, with its mix of quirky shops, rundown cafés and restaurants. Along the way you'll see most cuisines of the world represented, from the Portuguese cafés on Golborne Road, modern British cuisine off at Hereford Rd, Spanish supermarket Garcia, Italian inspired delis, Carribbean food at the Tabernacle, and Malaysian curry house right under the road bridge. Like London, Notting Hill has become a true melting pot of cultures over the last few decades, with Carribbeans joined by people from all over the world, and this is reflected in the restaurants and shops you can see all over the area.

History

Although it was painted as an arty, bohemian, and above all rich area in the eponymous film, Notting Hill has only recently emerged from more humble beginnings - in the 18th Century the area was known for its piggeries and potteries, and although it was redeveloped in the mid 18C with the creation of the Ladbroke and Norland estates (all the fine houses we see today), it quickly deteriorated into a slum again after World War II. Many Afro-Caribbean immigrants moved there after the war, leading to the mix of cultures we see today.

The first race riots in Britain broke out here in August 1958, marking a dark period in the area's history, but out of the reaction to the riots came the Carnival, which is now one of the biggest in Europe, with 1 million people coming every year to celebrate Carribbean culture and the diverse roots of the area. The Carnival is a reminder that Notting Hill has not always been overrun by film stars, antique stalls, and tourists - the area has deep Caribbean roots.

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Notting Hill

Notting Hill remains a vibrant area, with the full depth of London culture on display
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