When I first started flat-hunting in London, a real-estate agent invited me to see a beautiful white loft in Notting Hill. I fell in love with the place immediately: high ceilings, bright kitchen, a lovely little roof garden. In my mind, I was already decorating it with fairy lights (of a very tasteful variety, I assure you), burning jasmine candles, and inviting friends to dinner on the roof. Here we would gather on a mild summer evening, sipping white crispy wine and having intelligent and enriching conversations – which is what we do every time, surely?
Turns out, the agent omitted a tiny detail: the flat was already “spoken for”, and there was a young couple hoping to move in soon. His plan was to make us fight for the flat so he could drive the price through the roof and push the contract forward. Little did he know that throughout my life, I always strive to avoid confrontation. Nothing to be proud of but at the first sight of any tension, I just retreat quietly into my corner of woe, whispering unendearing expletives about karma.
So there and then, I shed the remnants of my faith in real-estate agents and let that couple have the flat. But I’ve never forgotten my fantasy life in Notting Hill. On a nice sunny afternoon, I still enjoy meeting friends here for coffee, lunch, or a little wander.
From the Notting Hill Gate station, follow the signs for Portobello Road and Portobello Market.
Wander through the street where George Orwell once lived.
Find a sunny spot for lunch.
Engage in some people-watching.
Chat to buskers…
Make new friends.
Walk around stalls selling ultimate kitsch,
All in all remembering why you love this friendly cosmopolitan area of West London where the air is filled with a mixed aroma of jasmine flowers and sweet waffles and where everyone — from men to dogs — is so charismatic that each shot becomes a blessing for a happy snapper.
It seemed as if this is what this gentleman does every Sunday: walks to Notting Hill, stands in front of Jack Wills, and poses for photographs in his tweed blazer and white starched shirt.
Couples popping in and out of vintage boutiques.
Pensive stall sellers,
and happy girls soaking up the sun on their way home.