the streetname sign betrays little of what's coming ahead...
London is not all about museums, monuments, cathedrals and palaces. The many markets, big and small, that one can find sprinkled throughout London add to the capital's vibrancy and colour. If you are stopping by London for more than just a weekend, I would strongly recommend dropping by the Portobello Market in the Notting Hill area during a sunny Saturday afternoon for a taste of, in Napoleon’s own words, "England is a nation of shopkeepers'. Of course, we all heard of a certain place call Waterloo.
Anyway, Notting Hill's Portobello Market is opened throughout the week, well, at least most shops are. But the real action begins on every Saturday early afternoon where makeshift stalls selling knick knacks from antique silverware to collectible pewter toy soldiers and handmade musical instruments, not to mention things that you wouldn't even have a name for.
rows of colourful shophouses flanked the shoppers
Most items come with a fixed price though many shopkeepers would drop a hint every now and then that they are willing to take a fair price. Well, if you have to, bargain politely only (and only if) you like the particular item. I don't think outright demands for lower prices would be taken kindly to.
Though Portobello Market is also accessible from Ladbroke Grove Tube station, I would suggest you do what everybody is doing and that is to proceed up North from Notting Hill Gate Tube station. Once you hit the ground level, just follow the crowd - you don't even need a map from then on.
now you know where your old teapot went to...
On your way to Portobello Market from Notting Hill Gate, you'll come across a quaint row of terrace houses, one of which George Orwell used to reside. In fact, the entire area was never the same after Notting Hill, a romantic comedy starring Hugh Grant and Julia Roberts, became a runaway hit in 1999. Along the way, you'll see scores of tourists posing for photos outside the row of houses with coloured doors.
get a couple of pieces back and you can spend your weekends polishing them
A visit to the Portobello Market will take at least two hours even if you made it a point not to stop at every other shop. To be on the safe side, set aside the entire afternoon so that you can explore the area at your leisure. If you're looking for somewhere to top up that empty stomach of yours, there's a notable bakery Hummingbird Bakery at 133 Portobello Road which is famous for its cupcakes. Alternatively, further down along the road is The Market Thai (240 Portobello Market), which serves a mean Pad Thai.
the famed Hummingbird Bakery
If you are on the lookout for souvenirs for folks back home or simply tired of high street shops, a visit to Portobello Market is a must for your visit to London.
nothing beats a Portobello shopping bag
rest your tired legs and catch a tune or two, will ye?
Not exactly Columbia Flower Market but still...
Bring it on!
What decent market can do without the good o' fish n' chips?
For more, refer to London's Fairs and Markets.