Living in Notting Hill: restaurateur Bill Granger on the west London district he ‘accidentally emigrated’ to

·4-min read
Bill Granger outside Granger & Go in Notting Hill   (Daniel Hambury/Stella Pictures Ltd)
Bill Granger outside Granger & Go in Notting Hill (Daniel Hambury/Stella Pictures Ltd)

We were living by the beach in Sydney, which is a real car city; we had an estate car and felt like we’d become a bit suburban so we decided to change our lives and moved to Notting Hill for a year, back in 2009 – we kind of accidentally emigrated.

We rented a few houses within a few streets of each other then when Brexit happened, the pound dropped and suddenly we could afford to buy.

A friend once said living in Australia, it’s like there’s a party in the northern hemisphere that you’re not invited to. Once you live in London you get real Fomo living anywhere else.

Best eating and drinking

Notting Hill’s dining scene has exploded in the past few years, it just keeps getting better and better.

I tend to go to Clarke’s for the lunch special, I love the way it’s Sally Clarke’s world.

You know you’re in London when you’ve got Prince Harry on a nearby table. Also Falafel King on Golborne Road for a fast lunch.

Bill often ventures to Sally Clarke’s for its lunches and pastries (Daniel Hambury/Stella Pictures Ltd)
Bill often ventures to Sally Clarke’s for its lunches and pastries (Daniel Hambury/Stella Pictures Ltd)

That’s what I love about this area, it’s a real mix of what makes London great, that formality but also that casualness and street life. You don’t get that in Sydney.

Where I work out

I go to Opus Fitness, which is amazing for Pilates classes, Hiit.

Bodyism also does amazing classes – Jamie Yike is the best Pilates teacher in London.

For a culture fix

The Tabernacle is a centre of the community. It’s got amazing talks, events, great theatre, sessions, things to keep you up to date.

To commune with nature

Hyde Park is brilliantly walkable and also Wormwood Scrubs is a wilder one for dog walking.

If you’re lucky enough to have a friend who lives on one of the private gardens, they’re also all pretty extraordinary.

Portobello Street life (Alamy Stock Photo)
Portobello Street life (Alamy Stock Photo)

Grocery shopping

You’ve got Bens for fruit and veg, Natoora, Provenance butchers, the Notting Hill Fish Shop, Layla Bakery, Skye Gyngell has opened up Spring farm shop, Sally Clarke’s for pastries, Ottolenghi for Sunday morning croissants – it’s a real who’s who of food.

I never go to the supermarket. I shop daily and cook dinner every night, it’s how I get my exercise in the afternoon.

I walk up to the fish shop, go back down Portobello. I do it every day. It’s a great privilege that I can do that.

Getting around

When we moved to London from Sydney, one of the things we wanted was street life, so I walk everywhere.

My office is in all my restaurants so I travel between them. I might walk 50 minutes or so on the way there and then get the Hammersmith & City or Central line back.

Granger & Co in Notting Hill (Daniel Hambury/Stella Pictures Ltd)
Granger & Co in Notting Hill (Daniel Hambury/Stella Pictures Ltd)

Something you only see in Notting Hill

People live on the street, which is quite Australian.

London can be quite an indoor city but in Notting Hill, from the markets to the cafes – people live on the street, which I like a lot.

I also like the mix of people from tourists, locals, long-term locals and royals. You swing high to low, that extraordinary London mix, smart and cool.

Hidden gems

The canal, it’s still rough and ready but I think that’s kind of charming. The fact that there’s this waterway in the middle of the city and no one’s using it.

What’s the catch?

The prices, but that’s the catch of London.

We rented for many years before we finally bought but I realise it’s worth it for the day-to-day life, I like things outside my door.

In three words

It’s home, which is really strange for me to actually say that. It’s fun. There’s a sunniness to Notting Hill, the way people look, the fashion, the energy. So home, fun, sunny.

Schools

There are several private schools in the area, including Wetherby, where Princes William and Harry attended pre-prep.

State options include Colville Primary and Thomas Jones Primary, both Ofsted outstanding, and Tabernacle School, Saint Francis of Assisi Catholic Primary, Avondale Park Primary, and St Clement and St James CofE Primary, all rated good.

What it costs to live in Notting Hill

Average flat price: £970,851

Average house price: £3,641,767

Average price to rent a flat: £3,240 a month

Average price to rent a house: £7,534 a month

Source: Rightmove

Read More

Living in Belsize Park: designer Matthew Williamson on his ‘villagey’ north London neighbourhood

Why I live in Clapham: Tales of the City author Armistead Maupin’s guide to his south-west London area

Living in Mayfair: restaurateur Samyukta Nair’s guide to the ‘lavish but charming’ West End area that borders Hyde Park

Our goal is to create a safe and engaging place for users to connect over interests and passions. In order to improve our community experience, we are temporarily suspending article commenting