Located in the Notting Hill district of the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea, Portobello Road serves as the Portobello Market on Saturdays. Antiques and second-hand clothing can be found here every week. In August, the Portobello Film Festival takes place here, at nearby locations.

Portobello-Road-Market

Highlights

  • Antiques – Portobello Road Market is mostly known for its impressive selection of antiquities, displayed here every Saturday. Visitors are free to browse and pick from a variety of furniture, glassware, decorative objects, silver, toys and clothing. The Portobello Road Market is the largest antique market in the UK, which makes it a prime tourist attraction and an optimal destination for a Saturday morning stroll.

portobello-road-market-antiques

  • Fruit & vegetables – The market does not only trade antiques, but also fruit and vegetables, albeit, on different days. While the antique stalls can be found on Saturday, the other vendors are there during the week. In fact, the Portobello Road Market actually started out as a fresh food market in the 1800s, only for the antiquity vendors to come along later, in the 1940s-1950s.

portobello-road-market-food

  • Entertainment – While the market is the most well-known feature of Portobello Road, in recent years, it has acquired a certain cosmopolitan ambiance, mainly due to the communities, as well as the large selection of pubs and restaurants. The street retains a dynamic, energetic vibe, which is also intimate, as a result of the unique and beautiful Victorian architecture, with terrace houses and meandering streets. Portobello Road is also popular for hosting the Portobello Film Festival every August as well as having one of the oldest cinemas in Britain, Electric Cinema.

electric-cinema-portobello-road

Tips

  • Eating & drinking – A variety of restaurants and pubs is at your disposal, should you wish to take a break from antique shopping. Hot or cold beverages, freshly cooked meals, street food or pastries, you can have your pick from the large selection.

portobello-road-market-bar

  • Avoiding crowds – In order to have the best experience at the Portobello Road Market, it is advisable to arrive before 11am on Saturdays, as it can get busy and congested at later times.

Map

portobello-road-market-map

Transport

  • Bus – You can arrive at Portobello Road Market via buses 52, 452, 31, 94, 7, 27, 328, 12, 70, 23 and 28.
  • London Underground – The closest underground stations to Portobello Road are Notting Hill Gate, on the District, Circle and Central Lines; and Landbroke Grove, on the City and Hammersmith Lines.
  • Train – London Victoria is the closest station to Portobello Road Market.
  • Car – You can easily reach Portobello Road Market by car, as it is situated only 3 km west of Marble Arch.

History

Formerly known as Green’s Lane, Portobello Road was nothing more than a country path. The Portobello Farm was built there in 1740, named after Admiral Edward Vernon’s victory at Puerto Bello in the War of Jenkins’ Ear. Green’s Lane then became Porto Bello Lane and Vernon Yard, adjacent to Portobello Road.

The Portobello Road we know today is a Victorian construction. Prior to 1850, it was just a country lane in an open field. In the latter half of the 19th century, the road was formed, little by little, holding markets and shops frequented by the rich, which stimulated economic development, and also provided employment for the working class, as domestic servants, tradesmen, messengers or construction workers.

The Hammersmith and City Railway line was finished in 1864, along with the Ladbroke Grove station. An order of nuns bought the Portobello Farm and the St. Joseph’s Convent for the Dominican Order was built here, after the coming of the railways and the rest of the area was further developed.

Around mid 20th century, the antiquity market began taking shape, as antique dealers and tradesmen set up their stalls, selling and trading old items and second-hand clothing.

Interesting Facts

  • Portobello Road lends its name to Muriel Sparks’ short story, The Portobello Road, which is about a murderer who was haunted by his victim and meets her at the Portobello Road. Her 1958 collection, The Go-away Bird and Other Stories includes this short story.
  • Dire Straits had a song about Portobello Road on their 1978 album, Communiqué. The Song was called Portobello Belle.
  • There is a board game called Portobello Market, inspired by this market.
  • Portobello Market served as the setting for Notting Hill, which was filmed here, on the street, in 1999.
  • The action in Paulo Coelho’s novel from 2007, The Witch of Portobello, also took place here.
  • The popular British children’s book series Paddington Bear, from Britain, created by Michael Bond, heavily features Portobello Market. Paddington Bear is the main character and Mr. Gruber, his friend, has a shop in which he sells antiques on the Portobello Road. Paddington visits Portobello Market every day.
  • A documentary called Portobello: Attack of the Clones was shown at Portobello Road’s own Electric Cinema in 2006. The short film was 20 minutes long and it covered the threat that high street stores pose over the spirit of the street.

9 Reviews

  1. Nicholas Jayaputra
    Nicholas Jayaputra 25 Comments
     -  23 Mar 2018

    Excellent

    The antique market is really popular here and very famous.

    It is a street which houses a lot of street stalls and shops that focus on selling antique products. It offers a variety of products from houseware to decorative items. Most of the prices seem not negotiable and is not that cheap either. However, if you’re a collector or looking for something unique, this is the place to go.

  2. Leanne Emily
    Leanne Emily
    United Kingdom 24 Comments
     -  04 Mar 2018

    Excellent

    Portobello Market is a must see if you are into anything vintage! There are a variety of stalls with edgy clothing, one of a kind jewelry pieces and retro handbags.
    Another particular favourite is Camden Market, they have some amazing food stalls here to keep an eye out for. Give yourself a few hours at either market to allow enough time for browsing – in the summer they get particularly crowded, visit on a week day if you can to slightly avoid crowds.
    There are good tube links to both markets – I normally travel from London Marylebone and it takes around 30/40 minutes for both.

  3. karlykowala
    karlykowala 26 Comments
     -  10 Jan 2018

    Fantastic attraction

    I would say that Portobello, along with Camden and Brick Lane Market are 3 of the best markets in London. Portobello I feel has a charming and friendly vibe to it and offers a lot more general antiquities, jewellery and vintage ware if that’s what you are looking to buy. There are other stores offering many quality rugs beautiful imported handcrafted furniture Be sure to check out what day is best to go to the market depending on what it is you’re hoping to get.

  4. Kyra_Kiwa
    Kyra_Kiwa 49 Comments
     -  02 Jan 2018

    Fantastic attraction

    We went there on a weekday. It’s very busy after about 11 am. I enjoyed the small lane way style antique markets. The street food was delicious. Apart from the stalls, there is also local eateries, bakeries, restaurants and shops. We also found the doorway from the film Notting Hill – a must for any fan. You could get lots of great buys if you look hard. A very unique market for an equally unique experience, indeed!

  5. mcalkane 14 Comments
     -  23 Jul 2017

    Excellent

    Portobello market is fantastic – I’d go there over Camden any day (fewer crowds, and better stuff!). The bookstalls are particularly good places to pick up a good find. Stuff tends to be quite expensive, so don’t go expecting a bargain, but do go expecting an interesting day out and potentially some very unique buys.

  6. lilytravel
    lilytravel
    Morocco 16 Comments
     -  18 Jul 2017

    Fantastic attraction

    My favorite market. Open every week end, the best day to visit is Friday. many little shops of everything. Clothing such as fur coats and scarves. Artistic, old and second-hand objects such as cameras, watches, and branded bags … Sometimes quite expensive but unique. Even if it is not to buy, it is a place to spend a quality of time in one of the local bars and restaurants.

  7. sattard
    sattard 16 Comments
     -  14 Jul 2017

    Fantastic attraction

    Without a doubt, a must see place in London. Portobello market strikes the right balance between tourist-trap and local hangout. Make sure you walk the whole length of the market, it’s a fantastic experience. If you’re visiting in August, don’t miss the Notting Hill Carnival around here – but remember it’s not always a child-friendly carnival! The market is very family friendly though. Enjoy!

  8. revmarq
    revmarq 20 Comments
     -  04 Jun 2017

    Fantastic attraction

    Visiting Portobello Market is mostly free, once you decide to buy something from the market, that is! It is a short and entertaining walk from Notting Hill Station from the Central Line and immediately you will see unique buys from clothes to accessories. Deeper into the market, the antique shops will appear, and once a week or so, you’ll find food stalls in there too!
    The Notting Hill bookshop still looks the same, except that is sells souvenirs, not according to the movie! Walk further down and you’ll see Hugh Grant’s ‘blue door’ beside a coffee shop. And don’t forget the pastel coloured houses in the uphill roads which makes for a great photo.

  9. ajamoppical
    ajamoppical 10 Comments
     -  14 Mar 2017

    Fantastic attraction

    If you love Notting Hill starring Hugh Grant and Julia Roberts, you would definitely recognize Portobello Street. Outside the movie, the street is even more lively, with wide range of products sold along the street. Fresh products like vegetables and fruits to antiques, all are available here, it’s an exquisite market for sure!

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