Portobello Road in London: Finding Treasures & History in the World's Largest Antiques Market by Sheri B Doyle
On a crisp Saturday spring morning I headed toward the Notting Hill neighborhood in London with my husband to fulfill his dream of antique shopping on the famous Portobello Road. Filled with anticipation of the treasures we would find we hopped out of the taxi and started down Portobello Road toward the Chepstow Villas where the antique section begins.
Once we arrived and stared down the street it was immediately obvious the hundreds of vendors would occupy most of our day. With gusto we jumped in and started the hunt for treasures unimaginable. Each little shop or stall seemed to specialize in something. There was a vendor who only sold wooden boxes, and floor to ceiling his tiny shop was packed full of the most exquisite wooden boxes we had seen. Then the next shop was all silver pieces, or Roman artifacts, or retro items from the 50s and 60s, the next full of Wedgewood pieces so rare they can’t be found anywhere else. Many of the shops were so full from floor to ceiling, front to back, they hid the whereabouts of the shop owners.
Shop after shop was a not only an adventure to see what we could find, but also a great learning experience. It was history we could touch and even take home with us. The vendors were all very nice, although a little stubborn about coming down on their prices, eager to show off their treasures.
We stopped for coffees and lunch throughout the day. It is impossible not to be lured in by the tiny cafes and restaurants, offering homemade goodies. Once we were refreshed we hit the street again. Somewhere in the middle of the day there was a necklace, a 1920’s beauty with a few tiny pearls and delicate Art Nouveau detailing. It was in a green-colored velvet box, the original. As my husband offered to buy it and tried to negotiate a more reasonable price, I decided to leave the necklace there. I think of it from time to time and wonder if maybe it will be waiting for me when I return to the extraordinary experience of antique shopping on Portobello Road.
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