Moving to Notting Hill and Westbourne Grove
Are you moving to Notting Hill and Westbourne Grove? Close neighbour to the east Westbourne Grove shares many of Notting Hill’s attributes. A wide shopping street and integral section of the carnival route, it became popular as Notting Hill’s prices rocketed, but its recent gentrification has put prices up here too. To the north, Ladbroke Grove retains the gritty, bohemian feel that the rest of the area used to have and is consequently a fraction cheaper.
Our free, in-depth Moving to Notting Hill and Westbourne Grove report includes info on:
• The best areas to live
• The good schools
• The average monthly rental prices
• The excellent public transport system in the city
Putting Notting Hill and Westbourne Grove on the map
The hill after which the area was named actually lies in Ladbroke Grove, at its junction with Kensington Park Gardens. However, the area we know as Notting Hill today is a rectangle approximately bounded by Holland Park Avenue in the south, the West Cross Route to the west, the Westway flyover to the north and, less distinctly, Chepstow Road and Chepstow Place to the east. Directly north of it, beyond the flyover, Ladbroke Grove acts as an area of overspill, while Westbourne Grove to the east has become an equally desirable patch of London to call home.
The area is service by a number of London Underground stations, including Notting Hill Gate, Holland Park, Latimer Road, Ladbroke Grove, Westbourne Park, Royal Oak, Bayswater and Queensway. Between them, these stations give access to Central, Circle, District and Hammersmith & City Lines. The Westway which bisects the area carries the A40, giving fast access to both central London and the City as well as out to the west towards Oxford and Birmingham. There are also moves afoot to build a Crossrail station in North Kensington, giving the area a direct link to Heathrow in one direction and the City in the other, something that should improve the fortunes of the rather run down area to the north of Ladbroke Grove.
Stylish and cool with glorious Victorian houses and airy period apartments, this part of London is always going to be popular and in recent years the rental prices have reflected that: you can find some of London’s smartest and most expensive houses around here. But venture north into Ladbroke Grove and you’ll be able to find flats and houses that are somewhat more affordable.
Some areas to consider include:
Notting Hill Gate:
Named after the original turnpike on the road from London to Oxford, you’ll find a mixture of bustling shopping streets and quiet residential roads. The place to look for a super smart house backing onto a garden square but there are also some 30s mansion blocks and modern apartment buildings that will appeal to young professionals.
Portobello Road :
This crowded thoroughfare comes alive at weekends with its celebrated antiques market at the top end, with clothes, new and vintage, and food stalls further down. This is probably London’s most multi-cultural and cosmopolitan street – an exciting place to live but maybe not the spot if you want peace and quiet at the weekends.
North of the main part of Notting Hill, this slightly grittier enclave is gradually undergoing the typical London gentrification as wealthy professionals move in and change the character of an area. David Cameron lived here before he was the Prime Minister. The rise in prices will certainly continue apace if the proposed Crossrail station opens.
This main road runs from Notting Hill in the west across to Queensway in the east, a vibrant artery of shops, cafes and restaurants that is now as fashionable as its illustrious neighbour. In the surrounding, quiet residential streets there are plenty of attractive houses and apartments, but prices are steep.
Portobello Square :
Not to be confused with the Notting Hill stretch of Portobello Road, this is a new luxury development being built at the north end of the road, in Ladbroke Grove. On a 14-acre site that was once the Wornington Green Estate, 1,000 new homes are being built, the first phase of which will come to the market by the end of 2012 – a selection of stylish apartments, townhouses and mews houses – all with fantastic potential.
Who lives here and why?
Long before Julia Roberts and Hugh Grant thrust Notting Hill into the global consciousness with their eponymous film, this small corner in the northern reaches of Kensington appealed to a cosmopolitan crowd with artistic leanings. Its embrace of the alternative dates right back to the development of the area in the early 19th century by the landowner James Weller Ladbroke. Elegant Victorian townhouses were built, many of them backing onto private communal garden squares which exist to this day. The development centred around St John’s Church, built at the peak of the hill, and a series of beautiful crescents surrounded it that are still highly desirable: Blenheim Crescent, Elgin Crescent, Cornwall Crescent, Stanley Crescent and Landsdowne Crescent which together formed the Ladbroke Estate.
However, the wealthy Londoners at whom the development was aimed preferred to stay closer to the centre of town and Notting Hill became a bastion of the bourgeoisie, who enjoyed living in uptown style at a down town price. But in the early part of the 20th century large households lost their appeal and many of the properties were split into flats. War came and the area sustained extensive bomb damage; it slipped into decline and gained a reputation for roughness. This wasn’t helped by the sharp practice of the famous slum landlord, Peter Rachman, not to mention the presence of the mass murderer John Christie in Rillington Place. The subsequent arrival of a wave of immigration from the Caribbean lead to the notorious Notting Hill Race Riots in 1958 as the new community came under attack from gangs of Teddy Boys.
If that was the nadir of Notting Hill’s fortunes, by the 1980s the turnaround had begun. The 70s saw the clearing of the slums and rising London house prices brought rapid gentrification as many of the once grand houses were brought back to single residence status. Today Notting Hill is one of London’s most glamorous areas, attracting City and media money as well as a raft of celebrity residents: Stella McCartney, Elle Macpherson, Jade Jagger, Sienna Miller, Claudia Schiffer, Damon Albarn of Brit-band Blur, Gillian Anderson, David Cameron (before No 10) and Scarlett Johansson all live or lived here.
So what is that draws them to Notting Hill? A cool reputation and a hot carnival are among the attractions, not to mention stunning Victorian stucco architecture and an ever increasing collection of high-end designer stores and boutiques. The famous blue door has long gone but the Hollywood caché afforded by the film lives on and actors and actresses by the score set up house here. There are also fabulous restaurants, including Bridget Jones’ favourite haunt 192 on Kensington Park Road, The Ledbury, Taqueria, the Hummingbird Bakery for truly the best cupcakes in town, the Electric Brasserie, and Julie’s, to name but a few.
The carnival itself is, of course, famous all over the world, and while a two-day festival might not feature highly in your decision to come and live in an area, it certainly brings in hundreds of thousands of visitors. Steel bands and sound systems snake through the streets of Notting Hill, first during the children’s carnival on the Sunday of the August Bank Holiday weekend, and then in the main carnival on the Monday. It has now taken place every year since 1965. Although it has had a somewhat troubled past with a rash of street crime, it has now calmed down into a family-friendly party that residents and visitors enjoy, no matter what the vagaries of the British weather.
The Best Bits
Notting Hill is a great place to live if you’re looking for an upscale but still artistic and lively corner of London.
Bringing the Kids
As home to the ‘Yummy Mummy’ phenomena, it goes without saying that Notting Hill is a great area for families. Super model mothers are constantly snapped on the school run and there are plenty of schools, designer kids clothes shops, family-friendly restaurants, toddler groups and baby gear businesses to cater to the junior pound. Just across Holland Park Avenue on the southern edge of Notting Hill, Holland Park itself is a huge expanse of lawns, gardens and woods, with fantastic playgrounds, an open air theatre and a great restaurant – perfect for sunny summer afternoons with the kids.
Notting Hill, Westbourne Grove and the surrounding environs also boast a good range of schools, from the small and exclusive Montessori nurseries right up to secondary schools and sixth form colleges, including the prestigious Southbank International School on Kensington Park Road, which takes children through from three years to eighteen. Norland Place School on Holland Park Avenue takes boys up to eight and girls up to 11, and was the first school attended by Princes William and Harry. There are also several non-fee paying Church of England primary schools in the area, as well as a state Catholic primary school, while at secondary level there are a multitude of excellent central London schools within commuting distance.
Relocating to Notting Hill and Westbourne Grove
Notting Hill and Westbourne Grove have a unique appeal and form one of the most distinctive areas of London. Popular with media creatives, actors and actresses, celebrities and City high flyers, this cosmopolitan area still retains a flavour of its bohemian roots, despite now boasting some of London’s most luxurious and expensive houses. Relocating here will offer a real taste of one of London’s most vibrant corners and it has so much going for it by way of amenities, facilities and convenience. It’s also a great choice for families, with good schools on the doorstep, while access to a garden square is heaven for city kids. However, if you don’t know the area, there are a lot of factors to take into consideration when looking for a property, and access to someone with knowledge of the local rental market is virtually essential. Add to that further considerations such as convenience for work, access to suitable schools, transport links for trips back home… This is when employing the services of a relocation agent can really help.
At Saunders 1865, our teams of experts combine local knowledge with first-hand experience to pinpoint the right area and the right property that will tick all your boxes. We know London property inside out and we know how much you should expect to pay and the advantages and disadvantages of choosing different areas. We can bring expertise to all these factors and help to arrange smooth, efficient and stress-free relocations – here or to other parts of London and the UK. Our services include home finding assistance, school finding, lease negotiations, temporary accommodation, move management and immigration assistance. Don’t hesitate to contact us to find out how we can help you.
Notting Hill and Westbourne Grove have a unique appeal and form one of the most distinctive areas of London. Relocating here will offer a real taste of one of London’s most vibrant corners and it has so much going for it by way of amenities, facilities and convenience. It’s also a great choice for families, with good schools on the doorstep, while access to a garden square is heaven for city kids.
Average Rents: Notting Hill
Average Rents: Westbourne Grove