Dear Diva Readers,
top: 5px; float: left; color: white; background: #781300; border: 1px solid darkkhaki; font-size: 60px; line-height: 50px; padding-top: 1px; padding-right: 5px; font-family: times;”>The Portobello Market is one of the most famous markets in the world. It is actually many markets combined into one giant market selling bric-a-brac, second hand goods, vintage clothing & accessories, antiques as well as new items mixed in with fruits and vegetables. Perhaps the crown jewel of the Portobello Market is the antiques section which is squeezed into a half mile of the Portobello Road near the Notting Hill Tube station. It may not sound like much, but believe me, there are enough shops and stands crammed into this vibrant section of the market to make one dizzy! The area is heaving with crowds on the weekend and it’s easy to get washed away with the tide of people working their way down the street and to miss the fabulous antiques galleries that line the road.
And while today it’s like Grand Central Station, Portobello Road was once just a country path leading from the Kensington Gravel Pits in what is now known as Notting Hill Gate, up to Kensal Green in the north. In 1740, Portobello Farm was built nearby. The farm got its name from a town in Panama called Puerto Bello, because during the War of Jenkins’ Ear, Admiral Edward Vernon captured this town. Prior to 1850, the path near Portobello Farm was surrounded by nothing more than fields and orchards. But in the second half of the nineteenth century, Portobello Road began to take shape. Shops and food markets started popping up to serve the wealthy dwellers of the crescents. As it developed over the next hundred years, other items were offered along this stretch of road and by the mid-twentieth century, antiques shops and stalls became the main-stay.
Today, every Saturday morning hundreds of dealers open their shops and set up their stands to reveal a diverse display of vintage treasures. While it’s best to arrive at some markets just after dawn, Portobello is a bit different. There’s no need to beat the sunrise because many dealers won’t be set up that early. Get there around 8:30 a.m. and most vendors will be ready. You’ll want to get your bearings and hit the stalls you know you want to shop first thing to avoid shoulder-to-shoulder crowds which tend to begin forming around 11:30 a.m. One thing is for sure— you don’t want to arrive too late because the market starts to close down at 4:00 p.m.
While there are dealers that offer furniture and other large items, Portobello Market is the ideal place to search for smalls, tabletop pieces, and what I like to call “perfectly packables” — little treasures that fit nicely in your suitcase. From glass & crystal to silver and brass, there are certainly deals to be had. This market is also a great place to pick up antique books, lighting, small statues, and linens. Second hand and vintage clothing also abound. Shoes, handbags, jewelry and vintage garments line the walls of several shops, allowing you to purchase a piece of the past.
It certainly can help to have someone who knows the lay of the land and can ask for trade discounts. That’s where we come in! Our Antiques Diva Guide Alys Dobbie loves taking clients through this jam-packed market, helping them find the perfect pieces.
If you would like to book a Portobello Flea Market Tour in London, email to:firstname.lastname@example.org”>email@example.com.
The Antiques Diva®