A nice residential area of otherwise middle class architecture, Notting Hill was once a slum and witnessed race riots in the late 1950s. Ethnic tensions have eased and gentrification has transformed the district. Besides the Carnival, the architecture is worth a visit.
I start my walking tour around Hillgate Place, where homeowners have painted their exterior walls in all sorts of colours. It seems they worked together to make sure there are no repeats.
As this is a real residential area, I kept my presence low profile and the other tourists nearby were also quiet and discreet.
Hopping across Notting Hill Gate, Pembridge Gardens look a bit more grand with taller residences and a nice garden at the end.
From Pembridge Square Garden, I turned around and walked along the famous Portobello Road, a narrow curved street that has gained a lot of fame. Home to many unique stores, Hugh Grant's travel bookshop in the movie Notting Hill was set here. There were a lot more tourists sightseeing and taking photos of the coloured terraced houses, although I prefer the Hillgate Place area more.
Trying to get away from the crowds, I veered away and headed to a more upscale part of the district around Ladbroke Grove. These few streets are residential with no shops to attract tourists.
Returning back to the Portobello Road area, I continued to explore some of the side streets and mews lanes, such as Denbigh Close and Denbigh Terrace.
Continuing north past Westbourne Grove, there are a number of mews lanes along Colville and Lonsdale Roads that are worth a look. They are now residential areas with quaint houses.
I was surprised the cobblestone Colville Mews was empty. These side lanes are quiet and there are no garages attached to the homes. Mews were used as stables and coach houses behind residences back in the 17th and 18th centuries. With technology improvements, these have been modernized into homes today.
The movie Love Actually had a scene in St Lukes Mews. These former stables from the 18th century are now expensive real estate, with one house sold for 2.6 million pounds in 2016.
Just a block away, Lancaster Road is my final stop hunting colourful homes and interesting streets.
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