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