Wandering Down Portobello Road

One of the most precious gifts in an expat’s life is when friends and family visit. My sister-in-law Sandra is both. She is married to my husband’s brother but she was my friend long before she became family. Sandra arrived in London on Saturday and I was lucky enough to spend a couple of days with her before she left this morning to meet up with her parents, aunt, uncle and cousins.

Portobello Road W11 Street Sign

On Sunday morning, we headed off to Portobello Road, the street that was immortalised in the movie Notting Hill.  Of course, Portobello Road and Notting Hill were trendy long before the film but I had never been here before.  It was so much fun to do something completely different.

Something about the short hour it took to get from Dartford to Notting Hill Gate reignited in me the desire to explore London.  I seemed to have grown complacent over the summer (the very antithesis of this blog!) but I have realised, once again, how many treasures are just a train ride away! 

Living in Portobello Road

We entered Portobello Road from the south-eastern corner and I quite enjoyed looking at the houses and apartments. It must be lovely to live on such a pretty, lively and fashionable street. I imagine it might get tiring too though and that sometimes residents wish for a little peace and quiet.

Houses and apartments in Portobello Road

Once we entered into the main retail section of Portobello Road, there was a carnival of colours, textures, tastes, sounds and smells.  I really enjoyed playing around with my camera and tried to capture the spirit of this gorgeous street. 

Portobello Road

I’ve heard that Portobello Road can get incredibly busy at times but I have to say, it was quite pleasant on this mild and sunny day.

A Davey Builder Ghost Sign Portobello Road

I’m gaining an ever-increasing appreciation of ghost signs and this one is especially notable as it has been moulded into the concrete as opposed to simply being painted on.  I wonder what measures they are taking to preserve it?

Snapshots of Portabello Road

Click on the photo above to see the extra cute message on the tin and to appreciate the grand collection of antique sewing machines.  I learned to sew on a hand crank Singer sewing machine and would give my eye teeth to own one, yet this shopping chain seems to have thousands of them in their displays across the country.

Always Look Up Portobello Road

Always look up.  You might even notice a strangely Mediterranean-looking scene in Portobello Road in the middle of autumn.

Plates and Antiques Portobello Road

We loved poking around all the antique stores with their interesting and beautiful wares.

Rings and Trinkets in Portbello Road

Sandra even bought a Turkish amber and silver ring that looked ever so nice on her.

The Portobello Print and Map Shop

I was really interested in the map shop as they claimed that all of their maps were authentic and not replicas.  I might go back there and get some maps for my study walls.  They would be a welcome replacement for the dodgy and inaccurate world map that is currently hanging on my wall (I bought it from a vendor at the side of the road in Johannesburg).  Although, i have learned quite a lot about world geography by discovering the inaccuracies on the map.

Volkswagen Minibuses Portobello Road

Being a lifelong fan of matchbox cars, I have to say I was really impressed by these gorgeous models.

The Salvation Army Portobello Road

We walked almost to the end of Portobello Road before heading back up the street to buy some waffles and crepes for lunch and matching scarves to remember our adventure by.  Portobello Road is an absolute gem and I have no doubt that I will take visitors there in the future.

Portobello Road
22 comments on "Wandering Down Portobello Road"
  1. Oh my..what an ultra-fabulous post....such eye candy goodness...beautiful Emm...lovely and charming!! Thankyou!

  2. What a fun way to spend a day in the city! How I miss Europe :)

  3. Please, do more of these walks! London has so many wonderful neighborhoods.

  4. a magical place for my generation due to the movie:) OMG, it was sooo romantic!:)

  5. Fantastic photo of the ghost sign. I'll have to look out for it when I'm next in London :-)

  6. I LOVE Portobello road, so many great shops and food! My husband however does not like going with me, because I can't help singing "Portobello Road" from Bedknobs & Broomsticks.

    Glad you had such a nice time with your sister-in-law!

  7. Great post! I also visited this area during my last visit to London and liked it a lot.

    I hope I have time to visit again soon.

  8. These are really lovely photos! I'm looking forward to exploring that area again soon!

  9. Very interesting and great photos! What a lovely old toy cars:-) Think my kids would love to have one of this.
    Hope you have nice days:-)

  10. You should try the churros available on that road. Or even the paella (a Spanish dish with rice and fish) they make on the streets there. :) I have loads of lovely memories n photos of those at Portabello ! :)

  11. I enjoyed your views of Portobello Road. I went there several times but it has been years ago. One time I bought a little brass box that was given to soldiers during World War 1 and also a book published just after the death of Queen Victoria – but that was in the 70’s! It looks like it has not changed much.

  12. I'd forgotten how interesting it was. Your post gives a wonderful and lively impression of it. It also shows that even if somewhere is a "tourist attraction", it can be well worth visiting by the locals,

  13. Lovely photos, what a great day out

  14. The buildings look fantastic. Even though Notting Hill is a short walk from where I live (about 35 mins), I have only visited Portobello Road once. I will have to get myself back over for a wee wander around again...

    Great pictures...

  15. I haven't been yet.. looks like it might be an area i need to hit up soon!

  16. Hi Emm! Sorry for the absence, but these last two months have been rather nasty! My mother (90) was in hospital for more than three weeks and the post-surgery was hard! My father (94) seemed to be an orphan while my mother was out and felt into some kind of depression... The economy is a disaster and the media only bring bad news... The € Euro is rescued every day, only to be known that it needs to be rescued again and again next morning... What else? Well, maybe «Midnight in Paris»... The problem is that the Gil there is a different one... ;)

    Was there for the first time in 1973...

    Blogtrotter Two wanders currently around pre-historical Corsica, where it seems all this will be leading to... ;) Enjoy and have a wonderful week ahead!

  17. Thank you so much for taking us with you on your visit to Portobello Road. i've always wanted to visit London again and your pics are the next best thing. the second pic is perfectly captured.

  18. What a fun place to visit or live. The shops seem to have interesting trinkets to keep shoppers' attention. Those VW buses are cute.

  19. This post title gave me flashbacks of listening to the Dire Straights.

  20. These are such lovely pictures!!! And I love the Volkswagen vans! :-)

  21. @ Victoria: Thank you!!! I did enjoy taking those photos and selecting visual goodies for you!

    @ Ivanhoe: I can see why, it was streets and markets like this that made me miss England when I was away.

    @ Kathy: Heh. I am to do more of these walks but I do have a tendency to sit at home and blog instead.

    @ Ola: It is magical to be there too!

    @ John: :) I thought you'd like it.

    @ Danielle: my sister-in-law was singing that too!! Nothing wrong with singing.

    @ Marko: Thank you! I hope you visit again too.

    @ Oneika: Thank you! I look forward to your photos is you go.

    @ Spiderdama: I loved the cars too and would love to buy some too.

    @ Ashwathy: I don't even know what churro is! I have to be careful with paella on account of my allergies.

    @ Vagabonde: I used to love Victorian trinkets that we found in markets in the 70s.

    @ Jenny: I absolutely believe that many places are popular for good reason and you just need to try go when they are not heaving with people. I don't hide away from tourist attractions.

    @ Jack: Thank you, it was!

    @ William: you should make the time to visit! It is lovely!

    @ Within Ireland: you definitely must.

    @ Trotter: hey Gil, sorry to hear about your woes. Will see you back in Corsica.

    @ Life Ramblings: well, I cannot wait to see your photos of London when you do visit! Glad you enjoyed the tour.

    @ AVCr8teur: I definitely agree that the VW buses were the best.

    @ Sixmats: Ha ha. Well, it is a great song.

    @ Dominic: thank you!! Me too.


  22. For Portobello and Golborne Road news & information see http://www.rbkc.gov.uk/streetmarkets and 'like' http://www.facebook.com/RBKCMarkets


Comments are welcome!

All comments are moderated and will be published once approved

Hint: Comment using Name / URL so that I can follow you back to your blog