London: A stroll along Portobello Road

The cultural treasures and unique charm of Notting Hill

by Edel Cassidy
Words and Photos Edel Cassidy

A bustling thoroughfare in the heart of London’s Notting Hill, Portobello Road is brimming with a creative, bohemian energy that attracts tourists from all walks of life and all corners of the globe. Along this quaint street, visitors can find all sorts of collectables – from furniture, vintage clothing, jewellery and books to delicious street food, fresh produce and freshly baked bread. There’s a marvellous mix of hipster hangouts, boutiques and bohemian shops. 

Here are some of the fascinating places I discovered as I walked up towards Lancaster Road.

Alice’s Antiques

Anyone familiar with the Paddington Bear movies will recognise 86 Portobello Road as ‘Gruber’s Antiques’. In real life, this charming shop is Alice’s Antiques, established in 1887 and still owned by the same family, now in its fourth generation. Here I found an eclectic collection of rare treasures, ranging from Victorian-era furniture to mid-century curiosities and, of course, a few Paddington Bears!

Electric Cinema

A cinematic gem transcending the ordinary, Electric Cinema first opened its doors at 191 Portobello Road in the early 1900s. The auditorium seamlessly merges vintage charm with modern luxury, featuring large comfortable armchairs, king-sized sofas and front-row beds, all adorned in plush red velvet. Side tables are graced with ornate lamps, providing the perfect perch for your champagne, fine wine, signature cocktails and gourmet snacks, all available at the bar before each screening. An assortment of old-fashioned sweets is also on sale, presented in an antique wooden cabinet. The venue is available for private hire.

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