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Notting Hill and South Kensington

Hi all,

Is it possible to see both of these neighborhoods in one afternoon and evening? I'd love to stroll through both areas, find the tiny alleys, cute cafes and historic pubs. But am afraid we don't have enough time to stroll at our leisure. We arrive into King's Cross from Edinburgh at 11:30 am, should be in our flat by 12:30 pm and on the streets by 1:00 pm.
I am hoping to:

Stroll Portobello Market (with daughters who like to shop, but I will move them along.)
Quick bite of lunch here somewhere
Bus or uber to the V&A to see the Rotunda Chandelier, Tiara collection and the British Galleries (open until 5:45 pm)
Stroll through South Kensington mews a bit toward Albert Hall, Albert Memorial, up to Kensington Gardens
Churchill Arms for a drink
Dishoom for dinner

Does this seem reasonable? I know it's rushed and not ideal. Darn! What do you think? And am I missing anything big on this side of Hyde Park (having spent 5 days in Central and East London earlier.)

Thank you!!

Posted by
8257 posts

I’d walk from Portobello Road Market into Kensington Gardens along the path passing both the Round Pond and Kensington Palace. Nice walk especially if weather is nice. Lots of photo Ops. Might even glimpse the green parrots.

Then continue over to see the Albert Memorial. Cross the road passing Royal Albert Hall and walk to the V & A.

After the V & A head towards Duke Of York Square by Sloane Square tube station and eat at Comptoir Libanese.

I love Dishoom ( one of the first Forum members to recommend it ) but discovered Comptoir in January and was very pleased.

Different area of London to share with your daughters.

Just a thought.

Posted by
5815 posts

Depends on how long you intend to visit each place, the hour it gets too dark to see anything, and how you’re getting to each place. Many of the places are close to Kensington Palace, so those should be easy. The V&A and Portobello Market are on the fringe of your places to see. If you start to run out of time, know beforehand which you’re willing to skip, e.g., Is it more important for the drink, or see the market. Save dinner until after you’ve seen everything else.

There’s a Compton’s Libanese on Gloucester Rd across the street from the tube stop, near where you’ll be.

Posted by
909 posts

Sloane Square is a great idea! I had really wanted to go there... mill around Duke of York Market, The Ivy Chelsea for tea. We almost stayed near Sloane Square for the first 5 nights of our trip before Edinburgh but opted for Mayfair to be closer to Soho and Covent Garden. We could try to get to Dishoom one night earlier in our trip; I was hoping the Kensington restaurant might not be as popular??? We could skip Churchill Arms but it is in EVERY travel video, blog and Instagram account I follow! :) Looks gorgeous!

Posted by
8257 posts

I’d switch the Churchill Arms for The Bunch Of Grapes. Then an easy 15 minute walk to Duke Of York Square.

Posted by
25581 posts

You don't mention what day of the week you plan to hit Portobello Road. I think the real action is on Saturday. On other days there might be better options for you.

Posted by
909 posts

Oh so sorry! This is a Saturday. Our last day before we head back to Los Angeles. I chose to come back here (versus Windsor or a hotel at Heathrow) so we had a 1/2 day in Notting Hill. Maybe I should not try to pack too much in, skip the V&A this trip and enjoy Notting Hill and a bit of Hyde Park.

My girls follow several Instagrammers and bloggers, and it seems like every image is a Notting Hill or South Ken adorable street or mews, colorful doors, pink houses or pubs & restaurants covered in wisteria! They want to see Farm Girl and Buscuiteers, Kyance Mews, etc. Places like The Ivy Chelsea or The Prince London... We need another week!

We are planning on London Walks Pub Walk in Hampstead on the Saturday before— again, another highly photographed area... :)

Our kids are 19, 22, and 26. This is probably our one trip to the UK with them.

Posted by
909 posts

Thanks Emma! Trying to curb our expectations LOL! London Walks also offers a Pub Walk through Knightsbridge. (Star Tavern and another one). Thinking of the weekend before, would that be prettier (more charming) than Hampstead (The Flask and The Holly Bush)? Someone else said my kids would enjoy the London Walks Pub Walk and storied along the Thames (The George and The Anchor Bankside). Sooo many choices!

Posted by
3956 posts

In the vicinity of the Gloucester Road tube station, my favourite pub on the west side is The Hereford Arms. Fuller beers and a few crafts on draught, plus an above-average pub kitchen. Locals jam the place on Sunday afternoon for the roast dinners.
Google Maps and Transport for London can help you judge the distances and timing on the itinerary you choose.

Posted by
8257 posts

Well then this blogger’s stroll would be something your teens would enjoy. And after re reading all your input I’d forgo the V & A on the same day and take the time to fully enjoy Portobello Road Market and Notting Hill neighborhood.

I’d still include the walk into Kensington Gardens to see the Palace though. They might as well see where the future King Of England lives.

My favorite pub spot for lunch in Notting Hill is the Sun and Splendor.

FYI Saturday NOT Sunday is THE day to visit the Portobello and Golborne Road Markets. That’s when you get the full experience so get there no later than 9:30am!!!

Lastly if there’s a 99 cent store near where you are in CA then buy a few of their shopping bags to take with on the trip. I do. Use one for market shopping and the other for dirty laundry.

If you expect to be buying and lugging around heavy items then the canvass bag from Trader Joe’s is a better option.

Posted by
909 posts

Thanks all! Yes I follow A Lady in London - she is responsible for me wanting to go on the London Walks Hampstead Walk! LOL And walk around SouthKen and Chelsea! 😊

Posted by
909 posts

@Emma Did you have a particular "river walk" in mind that you were suggesting for traditional pubs and views? ^^

Posted by
13237 posts

Hahaha...I was just getting ready to post the link to A Lady In London's Kensington walk for cute mews views! If you start at the end of her walk which is on Cromwell Road and Atherston Mews you can just follow it a few blocks in to get some nice views. I was staying at the Radisson Blu Edwardian Vanderbilt Hotel so just literally ducked around the corner to Atherston Mews and walked about half of it.

Here's the link in case others are interested.

Posted by
909 posts

Thanks Pam! I love A Lady in London’s “pretty” suggestions! For everything! Haha. Coffee shops, old bookstores, historical pubs, etc.

We want to see Marylebone & Carnaby Street, Mayfair (staying here for 5 nights), Covent Garden & Neal’s Yard, The Temple area & old London, Southbank, Westminster & St James Park, Lamb Conduit & Bloomsbury area, Hampstead, Spitalfields & Brick Lane! Lol! I don’t have an interest in Camden or Shoreditch. (We have plenty of hipsters and street art here in Venice Beach 😉)

I think we have time for 4-5 neighborhood walks in between seeing attractions (will use London Walks or other walking company for a couple). It’s so difficult to prioritize since I haven’t been to London since the mid 80s! Feel free to take stuff off my list!

I just don’t think I’ll be back to London after this trip so I’m overthinking everything to get it right 😊

Posted by
444 posts

This thread is great! I will be in London next month and I wanted to see the Notting Hill and Portobello Rd. Just wanted to say thanks!

Posted by
5104 posts

I wouldn’t get too excited about visiting Sloane Square. It really isn’t very interesting. Basically a glorified traffic island.

Couldn't agree more. By the time you've negotiated the plethora of pedestrian crossings and watching out for traffic you'll suddenly realise you've passed through it and wondered what all the fuss was about. Whilst in the vicinity of Sloane Square it might be worth checking if there are any special exhibits that take your fancy at the Saatchi Gallery. I was there last for the Rolling Stones exhibition and it was absolutely fantastic.

Posted by
909 posts

Yes, this has been a wealth of information. Thanks all!

I also am looking for a casual cocktail bar in the vicinity of the V&A Museum to go to after a "Friday Late" visit at the end of June. I see some awesome historical pubs in the area (and mentioned here) but would love a cocktail bar recommendation.

That leads me to: Will people be milling about in the summer evenings in this neighborhood? I envision Southbank, Trafalgar Square and Soho with tourists walking around, but I'm thinking that neighborhoods like Mayfair and the Knightsbridge/SouthKen/Chelsea area are MUCH quieter, if not desolate at say... 11:00 p.m. Is that right?

I'm thinking that neighborhoods like Mayfair and the
Knightsbridge/SouthKen/Chelsea area are MUCH quieter, if not desolate
at say... 11:00 p.m. Is that right?

I’m not sure where you’ve got that idea from. Any area that has pubs and restaurants will have people around at closing time. Very far from “desolate.”

Posted by
909 posts

@Whowritesthisstuff That's good to know! I've been told that Knightsbridge and SouthKen are very residential and on the quiet side and that Mayfair is "dead" in the evening -- even in the summer tourist season. Have i been told wrong?

That's good to know! I've been told that Knightsbridge and SouthKen
are very residential and on the quiet side and that Mayfair is "dead"
in the evening -- even in the summer tourist season. Have i been told

Depends which bit you’re in. As I said, any area with pubs & restaurants will have people around. Yes, there’s a lot of hotels/posh residential areas there but Mayfair has Shepherd Market, a bustling area with pubs & restaurants - while there are patches of South Ken that are similar.

Yes, other streets will be quieter but “desolate” is not the word I’d use.