Wrapping up in London: Notting Hill, Kew Gardens, & Paddington Bear

We slept in a little after our late night out at the theatre, but managed to get up in time to catch the tube and start our day. The first stop for our final day in the UK was the west London district of Notting Hill.

Browsing at Portobello Road Market

Portobello Road Market in Notting Hill is an outdoor street market that sells various vintage wares, street eats, and souvenirs. It takes place daily and is busiest on the weekends; we visited on a Thursday morning when it was much quieter and only running for a half day. I wasn’t in the market for any antiques or large items, but still had fun browsing around.

Having seen the movie Notting Hill many times, I wanted to search for the famous “blue door” and we found it tucked on a side street just off Portobello Road.

Notting Hill‘s blue door.

Looks like Hugh Grant’s character fell onto hard times!

The blue door today.

We also spotted the “travel book shop” that is featured in one of the early scenes of the movie where Hugh Grant and Julia Roberts’ characters meet for the first time. It’s not actually a bookstore, but rather an outlet for souvenir trinkets.

We walked beyond the market to explore the surrounding area and take photos of the picturesque painted row houses.

Then we dropped in at Ottolenghi to pick up a takeaway lunch, which we enjoyed outside at a park. I had a coconut rice salad and finished up with a pistachio rosewater cake for dessert.

Smelling the flowers at Kew Gardens

After lunch, we hopped back onto the tube toward the Kew Royal Botanic Gardens. This massive botanic garden in southwest London was founded in 1840, established from the exotic garden at Kew Park that had been formed by Henry Capell, 1st Baron Capell of Tewkesbury, after merging of the royal estates of Richmond and Kew in 1772. It is a UNESCO World Heritage site that boasts the largest and most diverse botanical and mycological collection in the world, housing over 50,000 living plants.

The garden grounds are huge and you could easily spend a full day here to go through all the displays. We only managed to visit a small portion of it, including the Great Pagoda, Temperate House, and Palm House.

A stop at Paddington Station

On the way back to central London, we decided to make a stop at Paddington Station to find the Paddington Bear statue. Images of Paddington Bear had been ubiquitous this week, with replays of the famous sketch that the Queen had filmed earlier this year for her Jubilee celebration.

We spotted the statue on Platform 1 in the National Rail station (not the Underground) and then went to the Paddington gift shop to pick up a toy for our little dog bear Gizmo, who we were missing dearly.

We finished off our day with a return to Dishoom, where we had their chicken biryani and naan bread. Thankfully I was feeling much better on this visit and was able to fully enjoy the meal. This was the best Indian food we’ve ever had and was the perfect last supper to cap off our trip to London.

Final thoughts on London

We had a wonderful time in London, in spite of a few unexpected derailments to our plans and periods of discomfort. It was a remarkable time to be in the United Kingdom and although we didn’t end up getting through our entire bucket list, we now have an excuse to return again someday soon to check off a few more tasks:

  • Watch an Arsenal match and tour Emirates Stadium
  • Tour Buckingham Palace
  • Visit Kensington Gardens and Hyde Park
  • Shop and eat at Camden Market
  • Cross Abbey Road
  • Eat Indian food on Brick Lane (and at Dishoom again!)
  • Go on a day trip to Brighton or Bath

Coming up on the blog: our adventure in Iceland!

13 responses to “Wrapping up in London: Notting Hill, Kew Gardens, & Paddington Bear”

  1. You saw and did lots of great things, and what’s more, you weren’t at your worst on the plane. That’s no fun. Also, you’ve given me some ideas for our next trip to London!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Oh yes, I’m glad that I recovered before our flights out. I’ve been sick on a plane before and it is absolutely brutal! Plus I recall your story about needing to get the husband medically evacuated…that sounded like a nightmare.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Thank goodness getting evacuation insurance doesn’t seem to be a need anymore. I hope it stays that way.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. I need to visit that botanical garden, it looks amazing! Glad you saw the blue door!!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It was funny to see the decrepit state of that door! I really enjoyed exploring Notting Hill though.

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  3. Notting Hill never made it into my itinerary when I was last in London in 2015…but since seeing those famous colorful row of houses on social media, I need to return to the city to see them! Glad you were able to enjoy Dishoom this time around, and I adore the Paddington souvenirs; I even have a few Paddington teddy bears from when I was a kid! Glad you enjoyed the last of London, and onwards to Iceland!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I really loved the Queen and Paddington for the jubilee. That was fantastic! Loved the tour of this corner of London, even if the Notting Hill spots are not living up to the movie.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It was neat to see Notting Hill; it’s more of a residential area so got to observe some real London life.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. […] late evening and picked up our dog Gizmo who we had been looking forward to seeing. She took to her Paddington Bear toy immediately and has been wrestling it all […]

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  6. I love Notting Hill for a wander, I can always imagine people from different eras in those pretty homes. Your pictures from Kew are beautiful, I’m living about an hours drive away and I MUST make the effort to visit. I’m only here for a while on a posting with my military husband and if I don’t get there while we are so close I’ll kick myself!

    Lovely post, much enjoyed- and Paddington tucked safely in the case is very sweet!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. You’re lucky to live so nearby Kew Gardens – definitely go! I’ve never been to a botanic garden so large. We spent 2-3 hours there and only saw a corner of it.

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  7. it’s a huge city with so much for the traveller, you’ve done super well to cram in what you could! What a pity about the state of the door 😦

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes, I did see a lot but I could definitely go back to London again and again!

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