5 Things You Didn’t Know About Portobello Road

5 Things You Didn’t Know About Portobello Road


In June 2015, Sapelle launched its store in the trendy Notting Hill area, at the independent designers’ shopping destination, Portobello Green Arcade at 281 Portobello Road. We’re just off the bustling Portobello Road whose world-famous weekly vintage and alternative fashion market is on the must-visit list of tourists and Londoners alike.

We couldn’t be happier with our new ‘hood, a place that symbolises eclectic tastes, multiculturalism and a fresh approach to fashion providing a great platform for our contemporary African inspired fashion. Portobello Road and Golborne Road markets are celebrating 150 years of existence with a series of special events. Aside from that, and our being located there (two great reasons in themselves for you to come andvisit), here are 5 more reasons to come and explore and fall in love with Portobello and Notting Hill.

1. Two world-famous doors are found here

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Movie lovers know about the famous blue door from the ‘Notting Hill’ movie, which they will be happy to hear has been repainted the original electric blue colour after it was painted black by previous homeowners who weren’t so keen on the tourist attention (collective sigh of relief here). We wouldn’t believe just how famous the Notting Hill blue door was if we didn’t get regular enquiries at the Sapelle store from tourists looking for directions to it. So if you haven’t already seen it, you’re missing out – book your visit!

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For the more literary tourist experience, there is another famous door on Portobello Road, a short walk from Notting Hill Gate station that belonged to the legendary writer George Orwell. The author spent a year in the area in 1927 researching London slums before penning his first full length work ‘Down and Out in London and Paris’. He is of course the author the iconic ‘Animal Farm’. If you’re wondering what Portobello looked like then…probably something like this:

2. Home of the ultra-cool 20 year old Portobello Film Festival

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Budding filmmakers and independent film buffs should check out this annual three week film festival, held in the heart of Portobello. The festival premiers over 700 new films, which includes features, documentaries, shorts and animation. Guy Ritchie and Shane Meadows both debuted at this festival so you might just discover the next big thing! Best of all the festival is free to attend. Check them out and sign up for updates here.

3. Peacocks roam free in Portobello

Where else in the bustling city of London would you expect to find peacocks serenely ambling around manicured gardens? Only a short walk from the busy Portobello Road, they can be found at Holland Park. This park is a little slice of paradise right in the heart of central London. There are 54 acres of grounds to explore, including a children’s play area, woodlands, plus a gorgeous Kyoto garden. This is the perfect place to get away and catch your breath after a hectic day of shopping.

4. Paddington Bear visits every day

Everyone associates the iconic bear with Paddington station where he was found and ultimately named after. However he has strong ties to Portobello Road, which he visits regularly in the ageless Paddington books to have Elevenses with his dear friend Mr Gruber and do a spot of shopping. He was also conceived by author Michael Bond in a one bedroom flat off Portobello Road. The home of Paddington’s adoptive family, the Browns in the 2014 film ‘Paddington’ appears to be set in Portobello area too. He should really have just been called Portobello Bear! On your next visit to the area, keep your eyes peeled and you might just catch a glimpse of the adorable creature enjoying a bit of shopping.

5. Home to one of the oldest cinemas in London

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Opened in 1910, the Electric Cinema on Portobello Road is one of London’s oldest working cinemas. It’s a Grade II listed building, which protects its beautiful original features and makes it a mandatory stop-over for architectural buffs and tourists alike. The cinema is currently part of the Soho House Group so you can expect very lush comfy leather seats and sofas! plus a bar in the auditorium. Everything you need for an extra special cinema experience. If you haven’t indulged in a retro film experience, put it on your list of things to do – you’ll struggle to visit a multiplex again.

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