Notting Hill, London, England

Living in Notting Hill

Iyna Bort Caruso

Notting Hill, a once-edgy district of West London, is a fashionable area best known for its cheerfully painted homes, private gardens and street market that’s among the largest in the world.

The neighborhood is just four miles from central London and well served by numerous Tube stations.

It’s been called the capital city’s Cinderella story for its rags-to-riches transformation from its beginnings as a place of “piggeries and potteries.” In the early 19th century, the architect and landscaper Thomas Allason played a major role in shaping the layout of Notting Hill. From predominantly farmland, he carved crescent-shaped streets of terraced houses. Instead of public squares, Allason created private communal gardens behind the homes, which has come to be the defining characteristic of Notting Hill.

Notting Hill has a strong arts presence with several independent art galleries and an equally strong dining scene, both of which contribute to a vibrant streetscape. Two events, however, have made the neighborhood famous beyond its borders. Located on Notting Hill’s main street is the Portobello Road Market. Depending on the day, shoppers can find anything from bratwurst to vintage tea sets among its stalls and shops. The pocket community also hosts one of Europe’s largest street festivals, the Notting Hill Carnival. This celebration of the British West Indian community, held every August since 1965, attracts more than two million people a year.

Notting Hill offers a diverse property stock that includes Victorian pillar-porched houses, terraced homes and mews residences that once served as stables for horses and carriages. It’s a neighborhood in which people frequently relocate within the same postcode. The availability of larger family-size homes as well as smaller flats allows buyers an opportunity to upsize or downsize.

As much as the homes, the gardens are what makes for a trophy property in Notting Hill. These semi-private spaces, tucked away from the street and accessible by residents only, command a premium.