Notting Hill is a cosmopolitan district in West London, Zone 1 close to Hyde Park, and lying within the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea. It is popular for the annual Notting Hill Carnival, taking place every August and made famous by Notting Hill, a 1999 film starring Julia Roberts and Hugh Grant – this is rapidly turning into a very dated snippet of information.
Now, there’s one thing we haven’t mentioned yet… as you all undoubtedly know from the film Notting Hill (or Paddington Bear for that matter), Pembridge Hall is right on the doorstep of Portobello Road, which is a bustling road with lots of bohemian shops, where film stars live/frequent and Paddington stops by for Elevenses most mornings (Notting Hill’s pretty good for celeb-spotting, or for a fashion style parade).
The Portobello Road Market is a VERY popular area near Notting Hill, where lots of tourists visit. You’ll get to experience this first-hand, especially on Saturday morning. At the weekends the road is transformed into Portobello Road Market, which sells everything from antiques to fruit and vegetables. Lots of tourists visit the market each week and once you muscle your way through the crowd, it is possible to pick up bargains on all sorts of stuff from clothes to books. Make sure you check out the market at least once in your time at Pembridge!
The most convenient supermarket for Pembridge Hall residents is the Tesco Metro (114-120 Notting Hill Gate). You can find almost everything you need for cooking and also ready meals for immediate eating in good prices. There is also a Little Waitrose and an M&S Food 50m and 100m further down the road from Tesco. There is a medium sized Tesco Metro with a better selection on Queensway, and also a small Sainsbury’s on Westbourne Grove.
Cromwell Road has two massive 24 hours supermarkets – a Sainsbury’s about 5 mins walk west from Gloucester Road tube and a Tesco’s a further 5 minutes down the road close to Earl’s Court. There are not many things that beat a 3am shopping trip!
Fresh fruit and vegetables are available daily on Portobello Road (midway up). These are cheaper and often fresher than supermarket fruit and veg (but go off quicker), with dealers often able to give you a better deal (especially around 5pm on a Friday or Saturday)! Worth checking out before going to the supermarket – you can pick up 30 clementines for £1 or similar!
Don’t forget the Farmer’s Market on Saturday morning. If you’re not inclined to ride the tourist wave you should try the local farmer’s market – this is where the locals go to shop for fresh produce. It’s located in the car park behind Waterstones, Kensington Church Street, Kensington, London W11 3LQ.
Whole Food Markets is a on Kensington High Street – offering fresh, high-quality natural and organic food products. With many things you wouldn’t find in a regular supermarket.
Online shopping is also an alternative; many supermarkets offer free delivery for orders over a certain amount so it is worth combining orders with a few friends at the same time.
For those of you like me who need to buy rice, noodles, pak choi, soy sauce, wasabi peas and the rest on a regular basis you don’t have to go all the way to Chinatown! Queensway in Bayswater (about a 5 min walk East) has TWO Chinese supermarkets. As well as loads of fresh Chinese fruit/veg, dried stuff, and frozen dumplings/dim sum, both places sell a supply of Chinese cookery products such as woks and steamers.
Food & Drink
London is awash with places to eat and drink at any budget; Notting Hill gate is no exception. Here are a few good local places which the members of the wardening team have found great.
Junk food – there is a KFC and a kebab shop on the way to/from College. After a night out nothing can beat a good Bargain Bucket or a doner kebab with plenty of chilli sauce! Both are open till 1/2am with the kebab shop closing much later.
Ice cream – We have some fantastic ice cream next to us in Gelato Mio!
Other options – Subway and Pret a Manger are both availably nearby too.
Chicken – Nando’s is a good choice for a dinner out with friends and is on Notting Hill Gate.
Pizza – Pizza Express, Pizza metro pizza, Arancina, and Zizzi’s are all near Notting Hill Gate.
Tequila TexMex on Notting Hill Gate very tasty for those craving some Mexican food.
Chinese places: there are several Chinese restaurants on Queensway (Bayswater) some 5 minutes walk away.
Shopping Wider afield
Here are some student-friendly shops we suggest:
Primark is one of the cheapest places to buy clothes for everyday use. You can find a flagship store on Oxford Street. H&M is a great shop with some lovely clothes at brilliant prices. It is located almost everywhere, with quite big shops, where you can find a variety of clothes and accessories. Our nearest shop is on High Street Kensington.
Topshop is another good choice, for better quality clothes, but a little more expensive than the others. There is a huge shop on Oxford Street (crowded) and a smaller one on High Street Kensington (much better).
TK Maxx is also a good choice. You can find branded clothes and accessories at lower prices. There is a store located on High Street Kensington next to Urban Outfitters.
Westfield Shopping Centre is 20-25 min. walk away located in Shepherd bush. It has all the shops you can think of, a cinema and loads of places to eat and drink.
This is just a short list of the amazing pubs and clubs around Notting Hill/Kensington. The Hall Seniors will undoubtedly show you even more – be warned!
The Notting Hill Arts Club is a great a club in Notting Hill. Free entry before 8pm and just 5GBP after on most nights, with different events on every evening from DJs to live music.
There are some fantastic clubs and bars on High Street Kensington, some more exclusive than others! Kensington Roof Gardens is a famous celeb. haunt, whilst the Piano Bar and Soprano’s Bar are smaller intimate venues often with a live performer.
The Sun in Splendour at the top of Portobello Road behind the hall has a good selection of drinks and a cosy back garden.
The Churchill Arms on Kensington Church Street is unmissable as it has bouquets of flowers hanging outside all year-round. The pub doubles up as a Thai restaurant inside which is unusual.
The Prince Albert Pub on Pembridge Road is the ‘local’ pub and has a good selection of beers. Standard London prices but is open till midnight.
The Swan at the top of Kensington Church Street is a large pub which is open till 1am.
The Monkey Puzzle is a pub in Sussex gardens, close to Paddington. You can go there by bus 27.
The Champion is a very cosy place just of Notting Hill gate station. It has a good selection of drinks and a nice place to meet a bunch of your friends.
Notting Hill Gate has most of the well-known High-Street banks, such as:
HSBC, 25 Notting Hill Gate
Barclays, 35 Notting Hill Gate,
Lloyds TSB, 50 Notting Hill Gate
Royal Bank of Scotland, 78 Notting Hill Gate
Natwest, 46 Notting Hill Gate
Santander, 88 Notting Hill Gate
Kensington High Street also has most of the High-Street banks as well:
HSBC, 92 Kensington High Street
Lloyds TSB, 112 Kensington High Street
Barclays, 132-134 Kensington High Street
Santander, 140-144 Kensington High Street
RBS, 175-177 Kensington High Street
Halifax, 180-182 Kensington High Street
Nationwide, 189 Kensington High Street