Our Insider Guide To London’s Notting Hill, Kensington and Holland Park

Guide

Our Insider Guide To London’s Notting Hill, Kensington and Holland Park

84 Rooms founder Sebastian Schoellgen shares his insider’s guide to one of London’s most charming neighbourhoods in the west of the city, from his favourite morning coffee spots to antique haunts.

Sebastian Schoellgen
Apr 20, 2022

London is one of my favourite cities in the world, not to mention the part-time base of 84 Rooms. But for those visiting for a fleeting weekend or longer sojourn, it can be hard to choose just one of its charming neighbourhoods. As much as new restaurant openings, the arts or a particular store can take me around the city, I always return to its western flank to Notting Hill, Kensington and Holland Park. The streets are leafy and the houses palatial, the shops chic and the brunch-to-dinner options top-notch — and there’s plenty of people watching too. As we move into the full flushes of spring, when the capital is festooned with cascades or wisteria and magnolia, I share my insider’s guide to this west London neighbourhood’s most stylish addresses.

Cafes, Delis & Breakfast

I like to start our day at the Danish-inspired Hjem in Kensington. It’s the perfect pitstop for your morning coffee and watching passers-by, plus they do the best pastries.

If you want more of a sit-down breakfast, Farm Girl Notting Hill is a very good-looking option with a classic, Aussie-style menu. If you can get a seat in the courtyard on a sunny day and order one of its much-loved acai bowls, you’re winning. Handily, it’s also just opened a location in South Kensington.

Another option for brunch — that might turn into lunch — is the Golborne Deli, it’s one of the best delicatessens in west London with an incredible sustainable wine selection. I order the Eggs Hemmingway or its pies and quiches for lunch.

For goodies to go, Spring To Go has the freshest produce you can get your hands on in W11. The casual outpost of Skye Gyngell’s famed Spring restaurant at Somerset House, it has eggs, creams, milk and veg boxes from Heckfield Place’s farm.

Lunch

When it comes to lunch, it’s hard to beat Granger & Co on Westbourne Grove. It has become a little too popular with Instagrammers, but their ricotta hotcakes are still to die for. I like to sit at the counter and enjoy the people watching.

For something a little different, I think Sumi — also on Westbourne Grove — does the best sushi in Notting Hill.

Dinner

For a romantic dinner, my favourite spot is 7 Saints. It has a delicious seasonal menu and a spot-on atmosphere — just make sure you book ahead.

If you’re looking for a place to go with a group of friends, the Mediterranean-inspired Gold is the new kid on the block and right on Portobello Road. The menu is great for vegetarians, think stracciatella with anchovies, roasted delica squash and chargrilled hispi cabbage.

Juan Santa’s restaurant Casa Cruz in Holland Park is easily the chicest dining spot in the neighbourhood. It has sublime Argentinian food and the most beautiful bathrooms in town.

Reopened after some rather extensive renovations on the most picturesque square in Holland Park, Julie’s has been a neighbourhood classic since the 1960s. There’s a champagne bar for celebrations and killer cocktails, too.

Pubs & Wine Bars

I can never resist a good wine bar, and Notting Hill’s Cépage is one of the best. Small but perfectly formed, it’s perfect for a date.

The Pelican is the new hotspot in town and the place to be in W11 right now. Ask for the table right in front of the fireplace and settle in for an evening of brilliant simplicity.

If you want proper British pub vibes, the Ladbroke Arms in Holland Park is one of west London’s finest. Tiny but with incredible food, it also has a beautiful terrace for summer days.

Grocers & Butchers

Supermarket of Dreams in Holland Park feels more like being in a nightclub than a food store. Embrace the incredible design and don’t look at the price tags.

Carnivores should head to C. Lidgate on Holland Park Avenue, which is an absolute institution. And if you’re lucky, you might bump into David Beckham on a Saturday morning — he lives across the street.

Book shops

One of the oldest book stores in London, Daunts is a wonderful place to simply hang out on a Saturday afternoon. You’ll find me in the Travel section.

Antiques

Right next to Julie’s on Clarendon Cross, you’ll find Myriad, which carries a great selection of rustic antiques from the countryside.

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