Discover the charms of one of London’s most romantic neighborhoods with this perfect Valentine’s Day trip to Notting Hill.
Where better to enjoy the most romantic day of the year than in London’s very own land of the romantic comedy, Notting Hill. February may make a great case for winning London’s worst month for weather but don’t mind the frozen drizzle and gray skies, there’s plenty to do in Notting Hill that will stoke those warm sparks of romance on Valentine’s Day. Quaint, charming, cute, eclectic, every description of Notting Hill alludes to its underlying romance, which you’ll discover in its Valentine’s certified chocolate shops, spas, hotels, bookshops, restaurants, and bars. And while most of our date suggestions avoid the miserable February weather by sticking to indoor escapades, the final point embraces the inherent romance in wrapping up and walking arm in arm in exploration of one of West London’s hidden gems.
Make Your Own Chocolates at Melt London
Valentine’s Day and chocolate are natural bedfellows but forget the corner store confectionery and aim higher. When you’re in Notting Hill it’s all about the fine, handmade truffles on offer at Melt Chocolates, where everything available in-store is designed and created in the on-site kitchen by its master chocolatiers. But rather than merely exchanging chocolates, book a course at Melt and learn how to make your own bonbons and praline before walking away with a box full of your own designs.
Get Some Spa Pampering
Pampering and self-care are the new chocolates and flowers, so make for one of Notting Hill’s best spas. Start with a brisk, exploratory walk through Holland Park and the beautiful Kyoto Garden, indulging in some zen introspection and pondering on your ikigai, before arriving at Cowshed, Clarendon Cross. The rustic, farmhouse style spa is an informal space that offers simple mani-pedis along with full, intensive body treatments. Try the full body salt scrub and signature massage (with an option of CBD infused oils) because, you know, you’re worth it.
Have Lunch in a Bookshop
If you’ve never browsed a library or bookstore and lustily locked eyes with a mysterious stranger through the stacks then, like most people, you haven’t had that ultimate moment of literary romance. Oh, well. Equally as romantic, and far more realistic, is a literary date at Notting Hill’s Books for Cooks, where you can sit down to lunch surrounded by the shop’s myriad collection of cookbooks and eat from a menu chosen from one of the store’s books and prepared in the tiny in-house kitchen. What could be a more perfect spot for Valentine’s lunch than a bookshop?
Shop for Gifts at Alice’s Antiques
If your gift-giving game traditionally stretches to Hallmark soft toys covered in hearts, then make a date to shop for that special gift at Notting Hill’s most iconic antique store. The instantly recognizable Alice’s on Portobello Road is the perfect place to source anything from vintage collectibles to toys, and curiosities. There are other antique shops on Portobello Road, but Alice’s has the all-important wow factor and the added star quality of having appeared in the Paddington films as Gruber’s antique shop.
Stay at Notting Hill’s Most Romantic Hotel
One of the best hotels in Notting Hill is also one of the most romantic, so book early to snag a room at The Laslett. The boutique property spans five Victorian stucco townhouses and features beautiful, intimate rooms with eclectic original artworks, stylish upholstery, and luxe bathrooms with deep tubs that Valentine’s Day guests may or may not want to fill with rose petals. The hotel has a sweet cocktail bar and hosts regular—wink wink—oyster nights.
Create Couples’ Biscuits at Biscuiteers Boutique
Embrace your love of The Great British Baking Show with a masterclass at Notting Hill’s Biscuiteers. As quaint a romantic idea as they come, an icing workshop and the chance to create your own biscuits (cookies), iced with your own choice of design is a beautifully leftfield way to spend a portion of Valentine’s Day. Biscuiteers sell biscuits iced with all sorts of crazy, eccentric designs so you’ll be expected to let your imagination run wild when it comes to icing class.
Eat Dinner in Notting Hill’s Chic-est Shed
Romantic restaurants are everywhere in Notting Hill but dinner at The Shed is a one-off experience, since, as the name suggests, eating here is akin to eating in a glamorous outbuilding. Despite the name, the rustic, stylish interior at The Shed is as romantic as any five-star hotel restaurant, with the dim lighting and assorted bric-a-brac setting the scene for the gorgeous farm produce that forms the basis of the seasonal menu.
Watch a Movie in Bed
If the movie theater you’re heading to on February 14th doesn’t offer beds for your viewing pleasure, then it’s just not right for Valentine’s Day. Setting aside all speculation as to what could occur when watching a movie, under low lights, in a cozy bed, on Valentine’s Day…it’s possibly the best idea ever. Available at the Electric Cinema, plush beds can be chosen over standard armchairs and sofas for showings within the venue’s beautiful screen that dates all the way back to 1910. Oh, and you can have cocktails and snacks delivered to you in bed.
Wine Tasting at Notting Hill’s Own Slice of Tuscany
Notting Hill is a diverse, multicultural neighborhood and as such, in some respects, you can travel the world without having to go further than Westbourne Grove, which is handily the road on which you’ll discover Italian wine bar, Negozio Classica. Part owned by the Tuscan Avignonesi Winery, the bar acts as a showcase for the best wines being produced in the vineyards of Tuscany. The bar serves all its wines by the glass, giving visitors the chance to sample even the most exclusive vintages without having to order—and pay—for an entire bottle. Expect an intimate, rustic space lit by candles by night and a strong sense of amore.
Walk the Regent’s Canal
Just cruising the streets is a romantic way to experience Notting Hill, thanks to its colorful pastel houses and chocolate box mews streets but in the depths of February, those pastels may have lost their luster just a little. If you want an under-the-radar outdoor experience that utilizes the urban beauty that Notting Hill has to offer, make for Ladbroke Grove’s entrance to the start of the Regent’s Canal. A wintery, windswept stroll will take you along a peaceful waterside towpath all the way to Camden and back, depending on how long you plan to hike for. A famous but underrated Notting Hill attraction, the West London branch of the canal is a hidden gem.