West London’s village neighbourhoods offer the kind of lifestyle that’s hard to find anywhere else. Rubbing shoulders with high-end brands, avant-garde art and Michelin-starred restaurants, you’ll find vintage shops, family-run cafés and offbeat cultural venues. Notting Hill Carnival may have put the area on the map, but look a little deeper and you’ll find a host of hidden gems like independent cinemas and theatres, and the annual waterways festival at Little Venice.
Each neighbourhood has its own distinctive hallmarks, but all share in common an eclectic personality and an ‘anything goes’ bohemian feel that’s stayed in touch with its West London roots. The many independent shops and restaurants reflect the area’s diverse yet strongly connected communities, made up of people from all walks of life.
Over the past 40 years, the area has transformed into one of London’s most desirable residential neighbourhoods, known for its beautiful Victorian terraces, private garden squares and burgeoning high-end restaurant scene. Affluent, cosmopolitan and multicultural, it still retains a fiercely independent and artistic spirit, hosting the spectacular Notting Hill Carnival every year. With Holland Park and Kensington Gardens on its doorstep, and Hyde Park close by, it’s also one of London’s greenest districts.
Maida Hill is known for its broad leafy avenues and red-brick mansion blocks from the late Victorian and Edwardian eras. Maida Vale is only three miles north-west of Trafalgar Square with Kilburn and St John’s Wood to the north; Marylebone to the east; Paddington to the south and North Kensington to the west.
Portobello Road developed its reputation as an antiques trading centre in the 1940s. Today, it’s London’s most iconic street market, buzzing with energy and excitement and one of the city’s top tourist attractions. In recent years, the market has become a mecca for cutting edge and vintage fashion for the area’s young affluent population. As well as antiques and clothes, you’ll find bric-abrac, fruit and veg and a tempting array of street food.
The Little Venice of today is a tranquil haven in the heart of West London, having changed beyond recognition since its industrial past. It wasn’t until the 1950s and 60s, when Paddington’s canals were cleaned up and locals began to appreciate them, that ‘Little Venice’ was used in publicity material by the council. Since then, the area has truly grown into its name. With its pretty narrowboats and grand stucco terraces set back from the water, it’s an idyllic setting for enjoying a coffee while you watch the world go by.
Starting out as a hamlet on rural land, Notting Hill was absorbed into London’s suburbs in the 1800s, and has been associated with artists and the arts for more than a century. Over the past 40 years, the area has transformed into one of London’s most desirable residential neighbourhoods, known for its beautiful Victorian terraces, private garden squares and burgeoning high-end restaurant scene. Affluent, cosmopolitan and multicultural, it still retains a fiercely independent and artistic spirit, hosting the spectacular Notting Hill Carnival every year. With Holland Park and Kensington Gardens on its doorstep, and Hyde Park close by, it’s also one of London’s greenest districts.
From green lawns to riverside walks, there are plenty of green spaces where you can cycle, keep fit or just while away a few hours in peace and quiet. Families will love Queen’s Park with its children’s playground, café and petting zoo. If sport’s your thing, Paddington Recreation Ground is a leafy green park with a wide range of sports facilities, including an athletics track and multi-use courts. And for cricket fans, Lord’s Cricket Ground is just a short hop away in St John’s Wood.
Travel from Maida Hill
Warwick Avenue, Maida Vale and Edgware Road (Bakerloo) Tube stations are all on the Bakerloo line with trains to Oxford Circus. Edgware Road (Circle) station is on the Circle, District and Hammersmith & City lines.
Paddington mainline station connects with the Bakerloo, District, Circle and Hammersmith & City lines. Warwick Avenue and Maida Vale are in Zone 2 and an annual travel card to Zone 1 costs £1,364. Edgware Road and Paddington are in Zone 1 and an annual travel card also costs £1,364*.
Schools close to Maida Hill
There’s a choice of three state comprehensive schools with the top “outstanding” rating. They are: Paddington Academy (co-ed, ages 11 to 18) in Marylands Road; Westminster Academy (co-ed, ages 11 to 18) in Harrow Road and St Augustine’s CofE High (co-ed, ages 11 to 18) in Oxford Road.
City of Westminster College (co-ed, ages 16+) in Paddington Green, with another campus in Elgin Avenue, is an FE college rated “good”.
The private primary and preparatory schools are: the French/English bilingual school L’École Bilingue Elementaire (co-ed, ages three to 11) in St David’s Welsh Church in St Mary’s Terrace; Abercorn (co-ed, ages two-and-a-half to five) in Abercorn Place, with the middle school (ages five to eight) in Marylebone Road and the senior school (ages eight to 13) in Portland Place; Arnold House (boys, ages five to 13) in Loudoun Road in St John’s Wood, and St John’s Wood Pre-preparatory (co-ed, ages three to seven) at Lord’s Roundabout.
Francis Holland (girls, ages 11 to 18) in Ivor Place, Regent’s Park is a top girls’ school and the Sylvia Young Theatre School (co-ed, ages 10 to 16) in Nutford Place has produced a number of famous stars. The American School in London (co-ed, ages four to 18) in Waverley Place in St John’s Wood is a big draw for American families living in the capital.
Eating out in Maida Hill
Café culture is a way of life in this part of West London, from chic bistros like Bob’s Café to cool coffee shops like Cable Co. The area has retained its independent spirit, with the likes of Granger & Co, Le Comptoir, Salusbury Food and family-run Italian, Ida, which helps keep a sense of community and a village vibe. With plenty of up and coming high-end restaurants, Sunday brunch spots and gastro pubs, there is choice for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Clifton Nurseries -as well as being a well-known nursery selling garden accessories and exotic bouquets, is also home to a beautiful café.
There really is something around Maida Hill for everyone, whatever your pace. Riverside walks, local parks untouched by urbanisation and outstanding schools make it a great choice for families, while young professionals and creatives are drawn by a strong arts and cultural scene, great music venues and some of London’s best bars and brunch spots.
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