London Travel Guide

Notting Hill Is the Place for the Best Romantic Weekend in London

PHOTO: Rob Atherton/iStockphoto

Star of one of the most pitch-perfect rom-coms ever made, the neighborhood of Notting Hill is the place for a romantic weekend.

Given its streets are home to the cutest pastel houses and quaint mews you’ll ever see, its market is all dreamy and whimsical, its hotels are legendary for accommodating the lustful whims of celebrity guests, and even its pubs come dressed in bouquets of flowers (okay, just one of its pubs). There’s no way to visit Notting Hill without feeling the love, whatever time of year you go. Make a date for a romantic weekend in Notting Hill and explore our recommendations to enjoy an amorous adventure in London’s most charming neighborhood.

Begin With Brunch at Grainger and Co.

Every good romantic weekend begins with a brunch, and Grainger & Co. is the perfect place to map out your day over ricotta hotcakes or corn fritters and a peach Bellini, if you’re in the mood (and naturally you should be since this is a romantic weekend). The restaurant is a great place for an Aussie-inspired brunch in its chic, bright space on Westbourne Grove.

Browse the Charming Market

Weekends mean Portobello Market time in Notting Hill, so stroll arm in arm through the line of stalls, perhaps stopping to buy your beau that perfect trinket keepsake from the cute antique stall you’ll almost certainly pass. There’s nowhere better than Portobello Market to immerse yourself in Notting Hill’s sense of bohemian community so indulge your sense of nostalgia here.

Embrace the Literary Love in a Beautiful Bookshop

The original Notting Hill Bookshop’s interior served as inspiration for the Travel Book Co. that appeared in the movie Notting Hill (more about that later) and despite moving locations, the shop’s current incarnation is just as dreamy as any bookshop ever run by Hugh Grant in a movie. There are few more pleasant ways to spend time on a weekend than browsing the shelves of a good bookshop, so make time to enjoy the romantic literary ambiance here.

Tour Your Favorite Notting Hill Rom-Com’s Best Locations

If you’ve set your sights on a romantic weekend in Notting Hill due to a healthy obsession with a certain 90’s rom-com, then you’ll want to explore the Notting Hill that inspired the eponymous movie. Hugh Grant’s Travel Book Co. was inspired by the original interior of the aforementioned Notting Hill Bookshop and you can still find a nod to the movie in the form of its well-kept travel section, that comes with a sign labeling it the Travel Book Co. which you’ll want a picture in front of. The other location that regularly attracts fans even 20 years after the fact, is the famous Blue Door at 282 Westbourne Park Road, which gave a career defining roll as Hugh Grant/ Will Thacker’s front door.

Catch a Movie at a Vintage Cinema

If all those thoughts of rom-coms, Hugh Grant and Julia Roberts have got you in the mood for a trip to the movies, then its time to choose between two of London’s most beautiful, vintage cinemas. First, there’s the Electric Cinema, a swanky, refurbished movie theatre that pairs plush double sofas—ideal for snuggling—with the beautiful original period architecture from 1910. Second, is The Gate, a gorgeous Edwardian single-screen picture house that dates back to 1911. Beautiful, ornate interiors in both cinemas are enough to inspire the romantic vibes, even if there’s no rom-com to be found on the bill.

Check out the Pub Covered in Flowers

There’s no need to exchange flowers during a romantic weekend in Notting Hill, just make the most of the bucolic scene that dresses the Churchill Arms pub. A flower bill that reportedly breaks close to £30,000 ($33,208 USD) a year means this famous pub has become a star attraction in Notting Hill for the vertical garden that covers its exterior all year round. If you’re weekend visit coincides with Christmas then expect Christmas trees and fairy lights for extra romance. Oh, and you can always pop inside for a drink to contribute to next year’s flower bill.

Explore the Quaint and Colorful Homes of Notting Hill

Houses of Notting Hill are a big deal on Instagram, with influencers coming from far and wide to capture the array of colorful pastel terraces, grand stucco column porches, and picture-postcard mews cottages. A romantic stroll of the neighborhood’s evocative streets should take in the likes of Elgin Crescent, Denbigh Terrace, and Stanley Gardens but if you only make a beeline for one location head for St Luke’s Mews and its enviable row houses.

Experience Sakura Season at Holland Park’s Kyoto Garden

You can go all the way to Japan to experience sakura season but if you time it right, you can soak up the sights and smells of cherry blossoms in Notting Hill. Kensington Gardens, Landsdowne Road, and Westbourne Grove are just a few of the streets in Notting Hill whose cherry trees create a scene of blooming beauty each spring. Even better, Holland Park’s carefully manicured Kyoto Garden comes with its own cherry blossoms, along with a koi pond and various Japanese native species.

Treat Yourself at a Michelin-Starred Restaurant

Notting Hill has plenty of romantic restaurants to pick from but if you’re happy to push the boat out, The Ledbury, with its two Michelin stars, is the spot to do it. The innovative, modern European menu offers beautiful produce in its contemporary dishes, a balance that sees the restaurant regarded as one of the best in London.

Go for Candlelit Cocktails

No romantic day is complete without the flickering of candlelight because what’s more romantic? And you can expect a healthy dose at the amazingly eccentric cocktail bar, Beach Blanket Babylon. The subterranean space is all gothic figures, rococo objets d’art and, erm, Beauty and the Beast interiors, which is as romantic a combination as you could hope for in a bar.

Stay in Notting Hill’s Most Infamous Hotel Room

Johnny Depp may deny it but the rumor that he and Kate Moss once bathed in a bath filled with champagne at the Portobello Hotel is just too good to care about anything as inconvenient as the truth. Even if it didn’t happen (it probably did) the Portobello Hotel’s eccentric interiors, four-poster beds, and free-standing bathtubs are more than enough to inspire your own romantic legend.

Related: 10 Classic Hotels From Movies to Inspire Your Next European Vacation