Whether you and your closest friends are looking to tuck unique knickknacks into the corners of your suitcase or find the perfect antique decoration for your London living room, Portobello Road Market is the perfect place for an afternoon out with the girls.
Make your way down one of the city’s most beautiful streets, which is lined by houses whose vibrant colors pop against London’s quintessentially cloudy sky. Gradually, the road becomes busier and busier, until you’re winding your way through the throngs of locals and tourists scanning the variety of stalls and shops of the world’s largest antiques market.
A glimmer of light catches your eye and you beeline toward a stand covered entirely by jewelry, watches, silverware, and porcelain jewelry boxes. Pick up each collectible individually and inspect the characterful kinks and scratches that make it clear that what you’re holding in your hand is a true antique. Move on to rows of old toys, old-fashioned cameras, and picture frames until your head spins in endless possibility.
If you are a passionate reader, the shelves stuffed with old books hold a special meaning. The smell of the yellowing pages and the crisp sounds they make when turned are captivating. Pause for a moment and imagine through how many hands that book has been passed or how many generations have hungrily consumed its words. That’s reason enough to barter with the vendor, part with several quid, and tuck your new book in your bag.
Later, rummage through the racks of vintage designer clothes in the Portobello Fashion Market. Though you may have to throw an elbow or two to get to what you want, you’ll find the inexpensive dresses, coats, hats, and other pieces are well worth the madness. Your friends “ooh” and “ahh” as you hold each piece up and imagine the retro chic twist your outfits will have from here on out.
All this shopping really racks up an appetite, so stop and choose from the fruits, breads, cupcakes, and cheeses sold here, as well as fruit- and Nutella-stuffed crepes and paella prepared in giant pots. As you start to head home from Portobello Road Market, don’t forget to snap a picture of the endless curiosities and most importantly, the famous blue door from your crew’s favorite English rom-com, Notting Hill.
Photo by Silvia Lucero