Abbey Road & Notting Hill


For the last day in London, we wanted to grab the chance to go see places we hadn’t been to before. Our plan for the day: first to Abbey Road, then Notting Hill.

This is probably the most famous zebra crossing in the world. And that of course is the location where The Beatles’ Abbey Road album cover was taken. Tourists would gather right at the crossing, stopping cars frequently.:

Zebra Crossing.jpg

… and actually pose crossing it, making numerous takes, cause it’s just hard to find no cars coming, then snapping the right pics at the right time in the right pose:

Pose Crossing.jpg

The other side of the zebra crossing is the famous Abbey Road Studios where The Beatles recorded their albums:


We couldn’t go into the studios, but there was a gift shop adjacent where signs were posted to chronicle the historical significance of the Abbey Road Studios. Sir Edward Elgar opened the Studios in 1931. In 1939, King George VI recorded his now famous “King’s Speech to His Peoples”.  Seventy-one years later in 2010…

Colin Firth.jpg

“Oscar-winning ‘The King’s Speech‘ score recorded. Actor Colin Firth’s speech is re-recorded with the microphone made by EMI for King George VI.”

Looks like we’d come to something truly historic.


After Abbey Road, we headed to Notting Hill. I like the movie Notting Hill (1999), have seen it several times especially now it’s on Netflix, but have never been to that part of London. I’d done some Googling before I left home. Notting Hill is the actual movie location, and the famous 2-mile long Portobello Road Market there is one of the best street markets in London. And it’s open on Fridays and Saturdays only.

It was an overcast and chilly Friday morning, the clouds hung heavy, but that didn’t dampen our spirits. We took the Tube from Abbey Road Studios and got off at Notting Hill Gate Station.

In the movie, Portobello Road is where William Thacker (Hugh Grant) has his Travel Book Shop. He walks past the stalls in the Market to get to his shop.

So here it is. Portobello Road, a colourful street lined with antique and curio shops, and on Fridays and Saturdays, open stalls selling all sorts of interesting items, a bazaar like a movie set.

Portobello Rd Market.jpg

Portobello Rd.jpg






Here’s William’s Travel Book Shop location, now a gift shop. In the movie, that is where William meets American film star Anna Scott (Julia Roberts) the first time. William is totally oblivious to who she is, while a shoplifter recognizes her and has the gut to come right up to ask for her autograph. That’s William’s intro to movie culture. Here’s the location:

The Travel Book Shop.jpg

Afterwards, William buys orange juice across the street and bumps into Anna again, spilling juice on her dress. Thus, leading her to his house with the blue door nearby to clean up.

The tipping point of the movie happens on both sides of that blue door. Apparently tipped off by William’s hairy roommate Spike (Rhys Ifans), a large crowd of paparazzi wait outside that blue door the morning after Anna stays over, ready to snap anything of the star. Unfortunately it’s William who opens the door in his T-shirt and boxer, and after, Anna in her sleep wear, and last but not least, Spike opens again in his brief only.

Well, here it is, that house with the blue door, 280 Westbourne Park Road:

The Blue Door.jpg



And of course, the first movie I saw after I’d come home was Notting Hill, again.

That’s a wrap of my five-day London experience, my Thelma and Louise escapade for 2016 with my cousin. Obviously, no… we didn’t drive off a cliff.


This is a Saturday Snapshot post. Saturday Snapshot is hosted by West Metro Mommy Reads. CLICK HERE to see what others have posted.


Here’s a recap of my Five Days in London:

London: West End Theatre

Tate Modern: Georgia O’Keeffe Exhibition 

Day Trip to Cambridge

British Library & St. Pancras Station

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If she’s not birding by the Pond, Arti’s likely watching a movie, reading, or writing a review. Creator of Ripple Effects, bylines in Asian American Press, Vague Visages, Curator Magazine.

22 thoughts on “Abbey Road & Notting Hill”

  1. Abbey Road is my very favorite Beatles album, how wonderful that you were there! I love your pictures, giving me a vicarious trip through London which I haven’t seen since 1984 when my first husband and I were there for New Year’s Eve.

    The King’s Speech is another favorite film, I can see I “should have” been there with you! 😉 So glad for your experience. xo


    1. Bellezza,

      I’m sure you’ll enjoy another trip over there now. Things sure have changed a lot since the 80’s (I was there in the early 80’s too), then again a couple of times later. The amazing thing is the new and the old can co-exist comfortably there. And that King’s Speech tidbit is a surprise for me too. A wonderful find indeed. 😉


  2. I had NO idea about the history of Abbey Road Studios — Elgar, George VI, not to mention Colin Firth on the original microphone. That’s unbelievably fantastic — did you know before? Oh, my! Yes, this whole day would be on my itinerary.

    As you know, Notting Hill is a favorite film of mine as well and I love that scene that shows the change of seasons as Hugh Grant walks the market and you see the fall, the snow, the spring flowers. How fun to see the House with the Blue Door! Well, now I know what’s on my London list!


    1. Jeanie,

      That’s purely a serendipitous discovery! I didn’t know all these historical facts until we got there. Oh I’m sure you’ll enjoy a trip over to the UK now, I’m afraid to say, aided by the better exchange. But all the more they need tourism business to strive. As for Notting Hill, I think the best day is on a Saturday. But since I’d to depart very early that morning I had to settle for the Friday, which with the light rain was not as busy as I thought. But there are shops that I’d like to linger longer, food stalls, and all the coffee and pastry shops I just walked by without entering. Yes, I want to go back right away. 😉


    1. Debbie,

      The thing is it’s not for tourists only. There are local residents shopping at the fruits and vegetables stalls in the market, and many other variety of items. Thanks for stopping by and leaving your ripples. 🙂


  3. Looks like a wonderful day spent visiting popular landmarks! Portobello Road was also immortalized in a song with that title in the Disney movie Bedknobs and Broomsticks (one of my favorites when I was a kid…and still!). Glad you enjoyed your trip!


    Book By Book


    1. Sue,

      O thanks for that tidbit. I don’t know about that song. Yes the market at Notting Hill is definitely something I’d like to return to the next time I visit London.


  4. Somehow I’d missed all that history about King George VI recording his now famous speech at the same studio where the Beatles made history. I feel the urge to listen to some Beatles now — it’s been such a long time since I’ve heard that music — but I’m even more desirous of re-watching “The King’s Speech.” That was such a fine film, and worth another viewing.


    1. Linda,

      I was so glad to make that serendipitous find! I had no idea that the Abbey Road Studios has such history. I wasn’t that enthused about visiting that place but thanks to my cousin being a Beatles fan, I went along. And she went along to Notting Hill after. All good. 🙂


  5. Oh you’re in London! Or at least you were. What a wonderful day this looks. I love the colour and vibrancy of Notting Hill- I haven’t seen the movie in ages, I don’t think it’s on our Netflix but the DVD is possibly still lurking about somewhere.


    1. Louise,

      It will remain one of the more delightful movies I’ve seen. It’s on our Netflix. But I’m sure it’s in your library system. Anyway, Notting Hill is one place I’d want to go back if I ever visit England again. 🙂 BTW, there’s a new restoration of the Merchant Ivory film “Howard’s Ends” and its shown on our big screen theatres. I want to catch that one!


  6. I didn’t know about all the historical details of Abbey Road Studios, either, having seen it in some LOTR DVD features about the recording work done there with Howard Shore.

    How fun that you got to walk those very same streets at Notting Hill. Had no idea so much was the real deal in the movie (which I saw on some years ago).


    1. nikkipolani,

      Yes, it’s real fun walking through actual movie shooting locations. But other than that, this Portobello Market is worth a visit. So’s Abbey Road. 😉


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