Our time is 150 years ago – the end of the Industrial Revolution. Our scene is the twisting, winding alleyways of West London. These are the origins of what is now the world’s best-known market for antiques, and a whole lot more besides. As you proceed into the mass of over 2,000 traders selling all manner of objects – china figures, collectibles, plants, fresh fruit, hot food, snacks, clothes, bracelets, earrings, teapots, tools and so much more – know that is is not just a market, but an institution renowned across the globe.
Portobello Market welcomes you with all the aplomb and warmth that London’s street scene is known for. But upon your picturesque approach from Notting Hill Station, you might rightly feel a bit intimidated exploring such a huge and immense attraction.
Fortunately, our all-encompassing guide should leave you with few questions by the end. We’ve got all the essential information including opening times and where to find a nearby Tube station. Take a look!
Portobello Market is open from Monday to Saturday, but it’s important to note that the hours differ depending on the day.
From Monday through to Wednesday, you’ll find traders here from 9am until 6pm.
Thursdays are half-days and items are only traded from 9am until 1pm.
Fridays and Saturdays are when Portobello Market stays up late, with everyone working from 9am until 7pm.
It’s worth noting that the antique and bric-a-brac stalls that Portobello Market is famous for are only open on Saturdays. Trading might start a little earlier – sometimes from 8am – at weekends, so if you want to avoid the tourists crowds, it’s well worth getting up a little earlier.
Now that we’ve done the important stuff, it’s onto the fun information – SHOPPING! Over the years, Portobello Market has adapted to sell pretty much everything, despite its reputation for antiques. Despite its singular name, it’s really several markets in one, and it might be worth familiarising yourself before venturing in. Saturday is when all of the stalls are in full swing, making it the best day to be in Portobello.
The stretch of Portobello Road between Chepstow Villas and Elgin Crescent is where you’ll find the famous antiques section, located near Notting Hill Tube station. There are thousands of items on offer, including glass and crystal, silver, books and many other collectibles. Enthusiasts have a whole half-mile of road to venture along, discovering a buzzing market atmosphere in addition to fascinating curios from a variety of time periods.
Between Elgin Crescent and Talbot Road, it’s an entirely different story – an explosion of colour and scents greets you as you proceed to the stalls selling fresh fruit and vegetables, bread, cakes, fish and cheese. All manner of foods are available to purchase here, from local farmers goods dug up the day before to creamy Portuguese tarts. The beautiful goods are what makes this part of the market particularly picturesque – it’s well worth bringing a camera.
As the incredible colours and scents fade, you’ll find yourself on the stretch between Talbot Road and Westway, where you’ll see a miscellaneous collection of cheap toys, batteries, socks and other modern goods that almost resembles Camden Market. There are many weird and wonderful objects available to purchase here – if you’ve ever wanted an electric bubble blower, this is the place to be.
Those with a passion for fashion, meanwhile, will undoubtedly want to make a beeline for the Fashion Market in the Westway Area. All manner of vintage clothes are on sale, and those with outrageous tastes will be particularly pleased with what’s on offer. While the bigger shops and stalls are veritable gold mines for beautiful vintage clothing, it’s also worth taking a peek at what’s on offer from the young designers, who set up here day in and day out with their own creations on display.
Westway to Golborne Road marks the final stretch of the market. This segment is dedicated especially to second-hand goods, with all manner of objects going for sale, including clothes, electronics, books, posters, DVDs and more. It has the atmosphere of a traditional British market, so it’s worth passing by for that reason, as well as the fact that all of the objects on offer are likely to be exceptionally cheap. So there’s the possibility of a bargain to tempt you here.
In all, Portobello Market stretches for two miles, and walking the whole length can take a whole day if you have an interest in everything on offer. It comprises hundreds of stalls and a similar number of shops and boutiques. Such is the nature of Portobello that it is never the same twice, with new traders coming in all the time. Even if you’ve been before, you’ll be treated to a very different experience to last time.
While much of the fun of Portobello Market is in the shopping, it’s worth keeping an eye out for the street entertainment as well. The market holds a legendary status for the number of musicians, living statues, dancers and who knows what else who call it their workplace every day.
As with the shopping, the street entertainment is at its most vibrant on Saturdays.
Getting to Portobello Market
If you’re travelling to Portobello Market on the Tube, your best bet is to opt for either Ladbroke Grove (Hammersmith and City lines) or Notting Hill Gate (Central, Circle and District lines). The latter is possibly the better of the two if you have a choice, simply for the picturesque walk up to the market.
Other options include a train into Paddington Station – a mere 25 minute walk. Where buses are concerned, the following routes pass by Portobello Road: 7,12, 23, 27, 28, 31, 52, 70, 94, 328 and 452.
Accommodation near Portobello Road
West London hotels are your best option for ease and accessibility to Portobello Market. It really is easier to stay near it if you want the full market experience of getting there at 9am on a Saturday, watching the venders finish setting up and feeling the atmosphere get more pumped throughout the day. Park Grand London Paddington is among your best options for proximity to the market – you’re certain to enjoy your visit all the more if you can stay at comfortable accommodation nearby.