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Portobello Market, London

Portobello Road is a meandering street in London’s Notting Hill district that runs in a northwest-southeast direction. Closely packed Victorian-era terrace homes, small independent shops, restaurants and cafes occupy Portobello Road. Initially working class, development in the 1980s transformed the area around Portobello Road into an affluent London neighbourhood.

The main attraction in the neighbourhood is the Portobello Market. The market stretches almost the entire length of Portobello Road between Golborne Road in the northwest and Westbourne Grove in the southeast. Portobello Market is what gives Portobello Road its lively and energetic atmosphere, attracting not only Londoners but also thousands of tourists each year. The market is most popular for its vintage items though you’ll find a host of non-vintage items and foodstuffs as well.

Portobello Market by Adrian Pingstone

About

Portobello Market is famous for its vintage items including collectibles and antiques. Vintage items are the main attractions here and the largest market of its kind in London. However, the market began in the 19th century selling fruits and vegetables like most markets in London during the period. Today, besides the vintage items, you can also find an eclectic mix of modern day items including clothes, jewellery, accessories, gifts, arts, crafts, gourmet foods and the fruits and vegetables market is still around.

Selling by the roadside at Portobello Market by Chmee2

Explore

Most shops, cafes and restaurants open throughout the week though not necessarily all the street stalls. The main market days are Fridays and Saturdays when all the street stalls open for business. Portobello Market is busiest on Saturdays followed by Fridays. If you want to immerse yourself in the market but prefer a smaller crowd, then Fridays are the best days or come early on Saturdays. Most of the street stalls open for business from 8-9 a.m. to 5-6 p.m. in summer while in winter from 9-10 a.m. to 4-5 p.m. The stalls may close early depending on the weather such as rain.

Bargain hunters at the market by Chensiyuan

Vintage items found at Portobello Market include collectibles and antiques. Saturday is the main market day for vintage items though you can find them throughout week. The vintage market on Saturday is a treasure trove stretching the northern half of Portobello Road. Serious hunters could spend hours browsing through the stalls and shops searching for hidden gems. There’s a wealth of vintage items here including clothes, jewellery, prints, books, vinyl records, ceramics, glassware, artwork and furniture. Most are from the 20th century but some are over a hundred years!

Vintage items for sale by Chmee2

Portobello Market is also a bargain hunter’s paradise for new items including trendy clothes, kids wear, knitwear, jewellery, hats, bags and other accessories. Many of the fashionable items sold by the independent boutiques are from emerging labels and therefore prices are very affordable. There are also the basic T-shirts, shirts, trousers, tights and scarves at rock bottom prices. Besides the fresh fruits and vegetables here, there are shops and stalls selling specialist foods including spices, cheeses, artisan bread, baked goods, meat products and confectionery.

Whether you are plain hungry or sampling out London’s food scene, there’s something to satisfy your belly or taste buds at Portobello Market. There are no shortages of restaurants, cafes and food stalls here and the food scene is quite diverse offering a range that includes traditional English, Spanish, Greek, Italian, Chinese, Caribbean, North African and Middle Eastern to name a few. Prices at the restaurants are generally in the mid range (£10-20 per head) and for cheap eat head to the stalls - the foods are just as good though minus the dining ambience.

Visiting Portobello Market

The easiest and most convenient way to get to Portobello Road and the market is to take the London Underground trains. Near the southern end of the Portobello Road is Notting Hill Gate Station (serving the Central, Circle and District Lines) and near the northern end is Ladbroke Grove Station (serving the Hammersmith & City Line). London’s red buses numbers 7, 12, 23, 27, 28, 31, 52, 70 and 328 from Hyde Park, Oxford Street, Victoria, and Kensington stop near Portobello Road.

Portobello Market on the Map

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