Antiques at Portobello Market
Antiques are probably what Portobello Road is most famous for, saturday is the main trading day, although some of the shops are open during the week, the street stalls are not and if you are visiting, saturday is the day you should come.
If you're travelling by tube then Notting Hill Gate Station is closest to this end of the market, by taxi i'd suggest stopping at the intersection of Westborne Grove and Portobello Road, any cabbie in London will know what you mean.
What time does the Antiques Market start?
Ok, well most guide books, I guess they copy each other, will tell you to arrive early; just after dawm; first light; 6am; and so on ... whatever they may say, i'm going to disagree!! As it happens I'm sitting in my car at around 6am most saturdays (because of the limited parking for traders - I have to get there early to get a space) and the market is totally empty at that time .... well not entirely empty, there are a few people selling coffee.
Rikki, the man who sets the tables up on the street, drives his lorry down with his boys and puts the street traders tables out at around 6.15, but it is a fair while before they begin to be occupied!!
I would agree that arriving early is a good thing, but realistically 9-10am is quite soon enough, it begins to get crowded at 11.30 onwards, which is fine if you have already got your bearings.
The Antiques Arcades begin to shut at around 4pm and the market rapidly quietens down from then on, it is fair to say that from 4-5pm most traders are winding down or have in fact already packed away and shut up shop, so make sure you arrive in the early afternoon at the latest!!
... every saturday, disappointed late comers ask me (for I am diligently still around till 5.30) what time the market closes and if it is open tommorow (sunday).
So don't be one of those people!! Equipped with my advice you now know when to arrive.
What Antiques are sold here
Well everything really, remember though that there are some stalls selling new goods, especially jewellery mixed in with the antiques, so be sure to ask if what you are buying is really antique.
There are quite a few what you'd call bric-a-brac stalls as well as many specialising in pretty much all things you can imagine, the Portobello Road Antique Dealers Association have a stand in the street just by the taxi rank on the corner of Portobello Road and Westbourne Grove, they have maps and up to date guides as well as being able to offer suggestions if you are seeking something specific.
Antique Market Meeting Points
Every week I see people a bit lost and seperated from their freinds, so here are some obvious meeting points where you could agree to meet up.
- The Good Fairy - a covered market near the beginning of your route, there's a fair amount of room outside to stand and wait.
- Earl of Lonsdale Pub - corner of Westbourne Grove and Portobello Road, large old fashioned wood panelled pub, with a no smoking lounge, good place to put your feet up and wait for your friends.
- Concourse opposite the Admiral Vernon Arcade - the largest bit of open space in the entire market, also the site of the only official public toilet in the area.
There are several distinct sections of the market ...
- Antiques Section - from Chepstow Villas to Elgin Crescent
- Fruit and Veg - Elgin Crescent to Talbot Road
- New Goods - Talbot Road to the Westway
- Fashion Market - Street in General and Westway Area
- Second Hand Goods - Westway to Goldbourne Road
Also of course ... these tips could be handy
Where are the Antique Stalls and Shops?
The antiques stalls start where Chepstow Villas crosses Portobello Road and continues down to where Elgin Crescent crosses Portobello Road, this is a distance of half a mile - not so far in the scheme of things but there is a lot crammed into this small space.
This is 5 minutes walk from Notting Hill Gate tube station, just follow the general flow of people - you really cannot make a wrong turn.
I'll assume that you arrive at this point (the southern tip of the market) and that you then walk north. Your route is basically down hill and a straight line, so you'll be pleased to know, it is hard to miss anything.
The only exception is at Westbourne Grove, here you can take a brief detour left as there are several shops worth a quick look.
Otherwise as I said just keep going down the hill, the heart of the antiques section is between Westbourne Grove and Elgin Crescent, as you walk down the street you will find the most interesting stalls to your right, these are the official licenced Antiques Street Traders - there are 42 of these. To your left are several large arcades, at one time they were private shops, now however they are partitioned up into a great many booths, you can easily get around everywhere in a few hours.