We all know how it goes, different parts of London fall and rise in the name of cool. It seems that no where stays the hotspot for too long. The Angel Islington, Shoreditch and Soho are now banished into the shadows by the edginess of the East end. Hackney and Dalston are the current ‘place to be’ if you’re a strapped for cash twenty something hipster, hoping to win the barista world championships. As cool as it is and as much as I love a good night out there, it doesn’t make it the most accessible to all. I wouldn’t dream of taking my mum down the kings road for a Sunday cup of coffee, which is obviously why its appealing to the exclusive art crowd. However, it got me thinking is there anywhere in London that is cool to all? A spot that’s not going to be dropped from the public popularity as soon the current generation get bored of gentrifying the area. I wanted to know is there an ever cool spot for everyone?
The answer is a resounding yes! Since working in west London I feel like I’ve been let in on the secret of Portobello Road. I started working in this area a year ago for the wonderful Jess Collett, a couture milliner who makes bespoke hats in her quirky studio just off of Portobello Road. Jess loves it’s vibrant and eclectic nature and has been based here for over 25 years now. The street really is the heart of cool and a true London treasure.
It is a spot that’s evaded the curse of being hot then not. It still remains to be one of the coolest and quirkiest places to hang out in London. It’s ever changing landscape means It’s not just for the retired vintage lover, it’s for the young, the middle aged and the old. The hipsters, artists, musicians, foodies, and general London lovers alike. It truly is a timeless hub of eccentric London spirit that excludes no one, as long as they have an open heart and an eye for fun there’s space on the street for all. Here are just some of the reason we love this street and its surrounding area.
Portobello is most famous for it’s street full of colourful houses and idyllic shop fronts but don’t be fooled it has more than pretty colours. It’s an aesthetic Hodge podge of antique shops, record stalls, restaurants and vintage clothes shops all painted in beautiful hazy pastel colours, making it visually beautiful and quite archaic. Shops along Portobello have a habit of stacking up their goods outside to entice you in, so the street is filled with not only the market goods down the middle but is literally lined with vintage furniture, wicker baskets, boxes of old records and glitzy vintage clothes. If you’re looking for the coolest snap for your Instagram on a Saturday, look no further.
As well as this, Portobello road has a handful of beautiful mews sprouting off of its core. These cobbled streets with pastel painted fronts, make for beautifully aesthetic photos and attract swarms of fashion bloggers especially in the summer. In fact, Portobello is a blogger hotspot in general, from street style bloggers, to foodtogroahers and alternative music lovers streaming their busking straight to YouTube.
Portobello Roads Vintage Market is famous for being the largest in the world, spanning over half-a-mile long, so there’s no doubt you can find something spectacular among the madness. With high end vintage finds at the Notting Hill end to the more affordable bargains available towards Gold Bourne Road, there is treasure hidden here for everyone. As the newer generation become more concerned with sustainability, I think that Portobello should be ever appealing as it’s filled with a vast range of second hand shops and vintage finds that make brick lane look like school craft fair.
One of my all time favourite finds on Portobello is Hirst Antiques, a jewellery shop designed in the same vein as our milliners, crammed full of beautiful treasures for shoppers with a keen eye for style.
Another spot to hit for fashion lovers is 201 Portobello Road; a chic pop up space that is occupied by Lime Green Bow Vintage for most for the year. Notting Hill resident Clemmie Myers puts a lot of care into hand selecting the vintage designer pieces that feature in her shop. If you’re looking for an undoubtedly stylish touch of vintage Chloe or Celine at a fair price then drop by.
Portobello Road has a multi cultural food market up near Goldbourne Road bubbling over with tantalising smells every Friday afternoon. It has everything from Ethiopian cuisine to Caribbean cocktails. I’ve genuinely had the best paneer curry of my life from one of the Indian food stalls, you have to try it for yourself. It again offers a very cool Instagram snap opportunity!
If you’re in the mood for something a little more upmarket, there are a handful of beautiful patisseries and cool barista style coffee shops scattered down Portobello. Fabrique bakery are a definite favourite for their delicious cinnamon buns and artistic flat whites. We also love the sugary goodness of blanche eatery, their dreamy meringues not only look good enough for Marie Antoinette, they taste it too! If you don’t believe us check out our latest Insta snap of our cakiest hat….
Where there’s food, there must be drink. And yes, it is just as good as the delicious food just mentioned. No it isn’t particularly cheap, but please tell me if you know where is in London. Gone are the days where I can sit in my SU buying £1.50 doubles and hanging out by the river, but trust me portobello is a relatively close second to this. With a scattering of old English pubs and (literally) underground cocktail spots it is a great place for a Friday night. The Rum Kitchen just off of Portobello, on All Saints road serves Caribbean cocktails to die for, this is a JCM team favourite as it’s just up the road from us!
It’s the pièce de résistance of the area. Scattered all around the Portobello road are fantastic hidden artisans including local designers, artists, boutiques and studios. There is a great art shop near the Goldbourne road end of the street selling the coolest art from local artists, as well as a handful of vibrant boutiques in Westbourne Grove.
We especially love the street that we are based on. All Saints road is a small strip of shops, café’s and studios based just off of Portobello road. It’s becoming the home to the crafters and the artisans, with Jess having been here for nearly 7 years now, she has really seen it develop. Jess hand makes all of her hats in the studio and loves that she among others are keeping the creativity in the area alive. Read more about Jess story and journey into millinery here.
Just opposite our studio we have a couture dress maker, Amanda Thompson who makes cool and stylish capsule collections twice a year. Upstairs we have a Tailor who has just moved in. We have several independent designers in our building as well as a music studio below us. We also have a jewellers, a crystal shop, an upholster and several great food places on the street. It has a higher end feel than the bustle of portobello but is definitely worth a visits even if just for the stroll past the quaint shop fronts.