By Amira Hashish
Westbourne Grove has my heart. If you're yet to explore the area, I like to imagine it as the chic bohemian aunt to Notting Hill, striking a balance of sophistication and shabbiness with humble charm. At its core, Westbourne Grove is home to a long-standing community who have watched the neighbourhood develop into the place it is today. A melting pot of people, architecture and places - all are welcome in this eclectic, vibrant village.
As a design lover, I am endlessly inspired by its vintage street markets, colourful buildings, and the decor of local stores and eateries. Getting lost in the pastel-coloured mews and nipping to Golborne Road's weekend flea market is one of the loveliest things to do in London.
There are too many great spots to mention (and part of the fun is stumbling upon them), but here are some of my favourite places to visit in the neighbourhood if you're seeking design inspiration.
Streets to wander
There is a wealth of great architecture to discover in Westbourne Grove. You might recognise St Luke's Mews as the backdrop of that Keira Knightley scene in Love Actually - it's one of London's prettiest streets and a must-see. Ernő Goldfinger's Grade II-listed Trellick Tower is a triumph of brutalist architecture, while the Electric Cinema on Portobello, one of the oldest working cinemas in Britain, is a fine example of Edwardian design with its striking blue façade. Plus, take a few steps around the corner and you might find the famous blue door from the film Notting Hill.
Restaurants to try
You are never short of great dining options in Westbourne Grove and the surrounding streets. Pop along to Franklin's Wine for a glass of something, eye up the interiors alongside the rotating artwork on the walls and get tips on how to make a small space pop with characterful touches. New cocktail bar and eatery, The Residency, puts the spotlight on female artists as part of its design scheme, and Pizza East on Portobello has great industrial style and a rustic slice.
104 Restaurant's head chef and owner, Richard Wilkins, lives just upstairs and dinner at his six-table fine-dining spot (the smallest in London, apparently) feels like stepping into a perfectly formed living room on Chepstow Road. Keep an eye out for the bookshelves that double as wine racks; a nifty idea.
Some of London's finest pubs are on the doorstep. The Pelican on All Saints Road is the second opening on the street by James Gummer and Phil Winser, whose 7 Saints restaurant is a stone's throw away. I am as obsessed with the interiors as I am the lobster pie. They have done a grand job of working with artisans to layer colours, textures and details, and create a homely ambience.
One of my favourite things to do on a weekend is pick up a coffee and indulge in some flea market shopping. Sally Clarke and Natoora Counter serve Allpress, which is my must for a caffeine fix. For anyone seeking beautifully decorated pink or purple lattes it's all about Farm Girl with pleasingly bold interiors by Beata Heuman. Locals Rose Mann and Anthony Hill started their cafe legacy with this colourful Antipodean hideaway tucked down a cobbled alley.
The Hagen Project is a recent arrival on Ledbury Road, where the Danish design influence is a match for the espresso. Layla Bakery on Portobello is a heavenly café with the best loaves. Buns From Home is the place for the most mouth-watering Tiramisu buns. What started as a baking lockdown project by founder Barney in his mum's Notting Hill kitchen (and quickly became a neighbourhood must) has blossomed into a London-wide bakery.
(Below left: Farm Girl image by Graham Atkins-Hughes)
I'm so happy that Soho Home has opened in the heart of the neighbourhood. I am forever inspired by the beautifully crafted furniture, and love seeing it in situ in the dining, living and bedroom corners of the store. As a vintage fiend, the pieces sourced by Anna Unwin instantly caught my eye.
Just across the road from Soho.Home.Studio is Nikki Tibbles' Wild at Heart flower shop. Housed in The Turquoise Island, it's a burst of joy. The listed building was designed in 1993 by architect Piers Gough, creator of London's National Portrait Gallery.
My favourite antique shops include Muirshin Durkin, Arbon Interiors and Universal Providers, and I'd also recommend Trove by Studio Duggan on Golborne Road. Created by Soho House member and interior designer, Tiffany Duggan, it's a lovely place to wander around.
The area is brimming with independent boutiques, but some to get lost in are Couverture & The Garbstore for clothing, Summerill & Bishop for table linen, and Four Store for terrariums.
Amira Hashish is the founder of Notting Hill headquartered creative studio, Rapport (clubrapport.com), which specialises in design, travel, and lifestyle. She writes about home and interiors for global publications, including a regular column in the Evening Standard. She is also the contributing editor of SUITCASE Magazine and the host of its podcast, The Upgrade.