Westbourne Grove crosses London’s tourist-packed Portobello Road, but it’s much quieter.
Instead of the crowds, there are orderly queues of people waiting to get into places worth the wait like Granger & Co (try the scrambled eggs) or The Breakfast Club (go for the pancakes).
It’s a street loved by locals for coffee meetings, lazy lunches and boutique shopping.
I headed there the weekend before last to soak up some sun, swing by the Spanish shop R Garcia & Sons on Portobello Road to pick up some delicious fuet and take a few photos which I haven’t had the time to share until now!
The bus took me to Bayswater station. Clustered around that section of Westbourne Grove are a series of small, mostly independent, interior design shops. There’s also the Iranian restaurant Alounak, which has pretty rave reviews. I haven’t been but it’s on my long list.
Walking on, you cross Ledbury Road, which is worth a short detour for places like Ottolenghi (here’s some photos I took at a different branch), Melt (if you’re craving some chocolate) and Aimé for all you Francophiles looking for a fashion fix.
Back on Westbourne Grove, the best bit is between Ledbury Road and Portobello Road. And the cherry blossoms were out in full bloom.
There’s a piece of street art around here too that’s worth a look. It’s by Snik and it’s called “Winged Fire”.
Mainly, this strip is great for shopping. There’s a church on the corner of Ledbury Street. As you can see from the picture below, inside to the left is a branch of my latest shopping addiction, French brand Claudie Pierlot. That’s my kind of church! Others on this stretch are Claudie Pierlot’s sister shops Maje and Sandro. There’s a Bimba and Lola too. There are also a few higher end charity shops where, if you keep an eye open over time, you can stumble upon some great designer pieces.
For food, there is 202, a fantastic place for brunch with coffee table style travel and fashion books at the front and a basement full of designer clothes that’s worth a browse for shock-factor of a few key pieces even if you can’t afford to buy anything. There’s Daylesford Organic. Not cheap, but full of lovely organic food and artisan products for special treats. Like a few other cafes on the street, there are outdoor tables so on a nice day it’s a great place to people watch. When the tables are full, which they were when I was there recently, the area takes on a real European vibe.
There’s also the lovely florist Wild at Heart where the road forks. It’s a pretty little place with turquoise painted bricks. The whole area is really colourful.
The expensive houses on this street are stuccoed with pretty pastels and if you turn off some of the nearby side streets you’ll find rows of crayola coloured houses too.
Like anywhere in London, there are also blocks of council flats. You’ll find these when you turn off onto Portobello Road.
It’s not often I go on a Saturday, but since I was in the area already I made an exception.
It’s not as busy as it will be a few months from now when you can barely walk through the street without stepping on someone. I love the mix of eccentric local stall holders and people who may be seeing the city for the first time and the way they interact.
I didn’t walk the full length of the market, just the northern end from Westboburne Grove to the Westway.
I caught the tail end of the antiques section and walked through the food stalls.
They sell everything from chorizo and chicken sandwiches to fresh lemons bread that was baked earlier that morning.
You can even get a coconut.
Around there is the restored Electric Cinema. The attached Electric Diner has the most amazing steak, if you’re ever in the area and looking for a place to eat.
There are a few flower stalls around this area of the market and some street performers I haven’t seen before. Don’t ask me what they are doing…
I poked around the clothes and jewellery under the Westway and then cut back up Ladbroke Grove, stopping at a flower shop for some purple freesia. They opened a few days later and smell amazing.