Touring London: Portobello Road Market
London is famous for street markets that crop up all over the city. Each market has a unique atmosphere with different vendors. These street markets are a great place to find quirky souvenirs and one-of-a-kind vintage pieces.
Portobello Road is one of the largest street markets in London and is the largest antique dealer in Britain. Located in the trendy Notting Hill neighborhood, Portobello Road is lined with shops, cafes and pubs every day. On Saturdays, it becomes a walking market with vendors selling everything from fresh produce to antique cameras.
The market is a mile long and has three sections to it: antiques, vintage clothes and food. The stalls are open from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. every Saturday, and on Fridays, just the antique section is open. You are sure to find interesting and unexpected items any day.
Portobello Road is most famous for its antique market, so it is no surprise that most of the stalls lining the street are dedicated to relics that you might find in your grandmother’s attic. Sifting through boxes of old coins from around the world and rows of china and silverware is more enchanting here than in a dusty room. You can find some truly bizarre items. Some stands have repurposed knick-knacks to make beautiful art while others sell boxes of records, old jewelry or antique cameras. The antiques section is definitely worth wandering because you are certain to find an interesting piece of dorm decor or a new statement necklace.
Produce, street food and sit-down restaurants offer endless options to eat while you’re wandering up and down Portobello Road. Stop at a Spanish bar for tapas and sangria when you're tired of walking, or grab samosas as you make your way through the market. If you’re looking for a more traditional English meal, there are several pubs that serve beer, cider and the ever classic fish and chips. You can also get your grocery shopping for the week done at the produce stands that bring in fresh fruit and vegetables.
On top of the huge selection of antique jewelry and decor, Portobello Road also has a whole section devoted to vintage clothing. A tent off to the side of the main street is packed with vendors offering scarves, old military uniforms, second-hand Burberry trench coats and everything in between. The vintage clothing section emulates an open-air thrift shop, and you’ll definitely find some interesting and quirky pieces for a low price.
The Portobello Road market is one of London’s must-see sights and favorite markets for a reason. It has grown into a bustling street packed with people from all over the world. Consider taking the Tube to Notting Hill and spending a Saturday walking, eating and shopping your way through London’s most famous and beloved open-air market.
Written by: Gabrielle Roehr