Portobello Road is well-known for its famous street Market, but also for its great diversity and mix of cultures, which makes it one of the most popular tourist attractions in London. Situated in the London district of Notting Hill, the market is bustling with a wide range of pubs, restaurants and all sorts of shops, yet Portobello Market has not always been this way.
Portobello Road was known prior to 1740 as Green Lane. Between the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, Portobello Road remained a simple country lane that linked the districts of Notting Hill in the south and Kensal Green in the north. Unlike other neighbouring districts such as Paddington which was developing and expanding, Portobello Road was developing quite erratically at the time. In reaction to the development of neighbouring districts, shops and markets started springing up in Portobello Road and it became a hub for the wealthy inhabitants of Paddington.
As time went on, more and more people were attracted to the Portobello district and more and more residential development began to take place with a selection of elegant buildings and terraces. Up until the 1940’s, Portobello Market was like any other market, selling food and clothes. However, after the 1940’s, more and more antique and brick-a-back traders started to settle down in the market and nowadays, antiques have become what Portobello Road Market is best known for. Nevertheless Portobello market has retained its fresh foods and clothes stalls. Over time the market has been separated into 5 districts:
- Second hand goods – Golborne Road to Westway
- Clothing/fashion – Westway area
- Household essentials – Westway to Talbot Road
- Fruit, veg and other food – Talbot Road to Elgin Crescent
- Antiques – Elgin Crescent to Chepstow Villas
Portobello Road went from being a run-down and shabby working class district to being affluent, fashionable and one of the most desirable areas to live in the capital!
The Market Today
Portobello market is now a huge one of a kind market, it literally takes about an hour to get one end to the other. In fact Portobello market is really several markets in one. While there, you will find all sorts of things such as antiques, food, cloths, accessories, pubs and second hand goods.
If you want go and visit Portobello Market, we would advise that you go on Saturday as, during the week, not all of the stalls are open. However, if you want to go for a little wander in a nice, quiet part of town (with no any intention of buying anything!), then you should go during the week since it is less crowded.
Portobello market is situated in the Notting Hill district and the two nearest tube stations are Notting Hill Gate and Ladbroke Grove. If you would like further information about the market, have a look at their website.
About the Author
HFS London is a British Council registered agency and specialises in homestay accommodation for international students, professionals and tourists visiting London. HFS London works on behalf of many of London’s most established education institutions.
We have over homestays registered in North, South, East and West London (zones 1-4) so if you are looking to stay with a host family around Portobello Road, Notting Hill, Ladbroke Grove, Kensal Green or anywhere else in London, then we will be very happy to try and help.