A love letter to Notting Hill

Notting Hill is one of London’s most recognisable neighbourhoods. Best known as the site of the world’s second-largest carnival – after Rio’s Mardi Gras – and the famous Portobello Road Market. The market being must-see for culture buffs and those looking for an authentic London experience.

Keep reading to learn about activities in Notting Hill that you are yet to discover in the quintessentially London neighbourhood.

Cafes and Bakeries:

Kuro Coffee

Kuro coffee store front
Image courtesy of @kuro__london via Instagram

Showing products inside Kuro Coffee shop

Notting Hill is home to a plethora of coffee shops, but Kuro Coffee is one you may not be familiar with. It is a hidden gem in the area, quietly tucked away on Hillgate Street.

The café quite evidently pays homage to Japanese café minimalism, with bright white walls and light wooden accents featured throughout. This visually appealing design will undoubtedly capture your attention, but the coffee will enthral you.

Seating is conveniently located outside, making it ideal for people watching. However, as winter approaches, you can’t imagine anything worse than sitting outside, which is why they have alternative seating available upstairs, providing an idyllic escape from the crowds that fill the streets.

Cheeky Scone

Cheeky Scone store front
Image courtesy of @cheekyscone via Instagram

Along Pembridge Road of Notting Hill, you’ll find Cheeky Scone, a quaint cafe that specialises in scones. Now, I know what you’re thinking: “Why would I want to spend money on a plain overpriced scone?”, but don’t be mistaken these baked goods can only be described as anything but plain. Following on from the theme of the colourful storefronts that line the many streets of Notting Hill, Cheeky Scone displays an assortment of its scones ranging from a lemon poppy seed to tiramisu. These will catch the attention of any by-passers, that is, if they haven’t already been captivated by the fresh aroma emanating from the establishment. Although the café may appear small at first glance, there are plenty of spacious seating areas for you to indulge properly.

Vintage Shops:

Kicks Café

Showing Kicks Cafe

Showing the inside of Kicks Cafe

Showing magazines inside Kicks Cafe

Notting Hill offers a range of coffee shops, but what better than having a coffee and shopping vintage at the same time? Kicks Café, located on Portobello Road, offers a wide range of vintage streetwear pieces for affordable prices while also serving as a place to sit and have a warm beverage on a cold winter’s day. If you’re a fan of streetwear, this is a perfect and quiet place to visit, chill, and have a coffee with your friends. They even have a range of magazines and books to enjoy.

Lovers Lane

Showing the outside of Lovers Lane

Lovers Lane is the perfect vintage shop to visit if you are big into designer labels. Boasting a massive collection of designer vintage, including Roberto Cavalli, Dolce & Gabbana and Dior, Lovers Lane is a timeless boutique. _shift spoke to sales assistant Iona, who proudly said, “Everything is hand selected. We have full autonomy over everything in the store, so we work with private archives and occasionally auction houses as well.”

The store is unique to Notting Hill and is open every day of the week, so shoppers can come and check out the new stock added daily. They also offer a free-of-charge virtual appointment service, of which the trained and knowledgeable staff will hand-select a few pieces for you to try. Iona has been working at Lovers Lane for two months and of the experience she says: “We do all our own content, we get to dress up and put everything on for Instagram, and it’s just so fun.”

Found and Vision

Showing the outside of Found and Vision

Showing the inside of Found and Vision

Found and Vision is another vintage store that is located in Notting Hill. Founded in 2012 by three former stylists, the shop specialises in sustainable and high-quality vintage pieces. Co-owner Oxana Korsun says: “We find things that we like ourselves. It is all hand-picked, and much of it relies on our personal tastes.”

The store is located on Portobello Road and is open from 10:30-6:00pm every day except Sundays. Found and Vision is focused on vintage wearing for the modern day. Oxana says: “Era wise we do think about current fashion, so [we choose] things that are relatable to what is going on now.” It is a must-visit if you are in the area just to look through all the garments they have on display – and even pick up a copy of their own Found and Vision magazine.

Portobello Leather House

Showing the outside of Portobello Leather House

Showing the inside of Portobello Leather House

Located in the heart of Portobello Road is Portobello Leather House. Having been in the area for roughly 40 years, the shop has become a staple for leather jackets in the area. There is a wide array of leather jackets to choose from, so rest assured there will be something that suits your style.

Quirky Stores:

The Hirst Collection

Showing the inside of The Hirst Collection

Showing the inside of The Hirst Collection
Image courtesy of @thehirstcollection via Instagram

The Hirst Collection is a beautiful treasure trove of jewellery – you could easily spend hours looking here. Stocked to the brim with multicoloured bracelets, rings, earrings, necklaces and brooches, there is a piece of jewellery to suit everyone’s taste and price range.

A sales representative, said that the owner, Amanda Wrigley, began by following in her mother’s footsteps by selling antiques but transgressed into jewellery as her love for it grew. Now, the store is getting new stock every day and has a website for customers who want a quick and easy way to find a piece perfect for them. The store has been on Portobello Road for 60 years now and has been featured in Wonderland magazine, worn by Megan Fox.


The Distillery

Showing the outside of The Distillery

Showing food at The Distillery

Need a bite to eat? Look no further, The Distillery in Notting Hill is affordable and offers a range of delicious food, including vegan options for most items on its menu. Inside is a nice and cosy environment, and outside seating is perfect in summer to sit and have a cocktail and some light snacks.

It also hosts a lot of experience days in cocktail making and training, hence the name The Distillery. If you are a big fan of cocktails and are interested in learning to make your own, this is the perfect place to go with friends, on a date, or even as an individual. With so many restaurant chains taking over the high street, it is comforting to go back to a solo establishment offering good food, drinks, and entertainment.


Showing the outside of UKAI

Although a bit on the pricey side, if you are a lover of Japanese cuisine, then Ukai is the perfect restaurant for you. Offering a range of sushi, sake, sashimi, and umeshu, as well as a good selection of cocktails for you to indulge in, the atmosphere inside of Ukai is cosy and warm, reminiscent of a Japanese restaurant.

The restaurant is open seven days a week till late and is located on Portobello Road. If you are thinking of an excellent restaurant to book for a special occasion such as a birthday or a date, then Ukai is the place to go. They also offer a delivery service if you are not in the area but still want to try their amazing Japanese food.

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