Monday, February 18, 2013

Shopping in London: Portobello Market

Before leaving Toronto I did a lot of reading and research on what London had to offer in terms of shopping. Knowing I would be by myself the week I was in London, the last thing I wanted to do was end up alone in a dodgy area. I also had the benefit of having a lot of Twitter followers who are quite familiar with London. Between their recommendations and the tour books I read I had a rough wish list of places to visit before I even left home.
One of the places that was at the top of my list was Portobello Market in Notting Hill. Not usually one for flea markets, the write ups and recommendations from people made me feel like this was a must see. I was told I had to go on a Saturday as that is when clothing is the main attraction. So off I went. Figuring out of my own what tube station to get off at (Notting Hill Gate) and then following the crowd to the entrance of the market I was pleasantly surprised to see the wide variety of wares for sale. Booth after booth of clothes, accessories, antiques, food and art, even if I wasn't interested in shopping the atmosphere and variety of products would have made it worth the trip.
I didn't have anything in particular in mind to buy, I really didn't know what I would find when I got there. I found I got caught up in the atmosphere though and pretty soon I was trying on dresses over my clothes, trying to judge the look and fit through some tiny mirror someone held up for me and turning over 13 pounds for a nice dress I have yet to wear but hope to this summer.

My finds at Portobello Market, 1 dress, 2 scarves, 2 pairs of earrings. Total spent: 24 pounds

It felt like this street went on forever and even though it was late afternoon, the crowds were still out in full force. I walked the entire street to have a look at everything being offered and then on my way back to where I started picked up a few more items. I bought 2 scarves, one for 6 pounds and another for 2 pounds, and 2 pairs of earrings that were 2 pounds each. I could have bought a lot more but it was only my first day of shopping and I wanted to save some money for later in the week.


In addition to Portobello Market, the retail shops in the area were also open and they had some cool things as well. I was drawn to a Kurt Geiger store with all their shiny shoes on display as well as the Allsaints Spitalfields store where the walls of antique sewing machines on display made for some very cool decorating.
All in all I loved my afternoon in Portobello Market. If you get a chance to go leave lots of time for the market itself, you don't want to rush through it and then take some time to visit the regular retailers in the area. I also walked around taking pictures of Notting Hill. The homes were so stunning!
Here is my favourite one, I loved the colourful townhouses:

Chances are if I find myself back in London I will definitely be back at Portobello.

Portobello Market is also known for great antique shopping. If that is something you are interested in its worth a visit. Here is a website for more information:

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