Area guide to Notting Hill: DJ and Carnival director Linett Kamala on the ‘air of creativity’ in her west London patch

Linett Kamala was the first female DJ to play at Notting Hill Carnival  (Daniel Lynch)
Linett Kamala was the first female DJ to play at Notting Hill Carnival (Daniel Lynch)

I’ve been hanging out in Notting Hill since I was an art student in the Eighties. It’s changed during this time, especially physically. Some of the properties were in an “interesting” state back then; some were in a really bad way.

There also used to be a more sizeable Caribbean community. Streets like All Saints Road, aka The Frontline, had much more of a Caribbean presence. It’s still diverse and a magnet for people all over the world, but there’s new developments and new infrastructure.

I love how this area has always been so vibrant, and there’s an air of creativity so a lot of people are involved in music and doing things for the local community and culture.

Eating and drinking

For a drink, I go to The Union Tavern on Woodfield Road. I like that view of the canal and I’ll have a cranberry juice with ice and a straw. Another lovely pub is the Churchill Arms on Kensington Church Street, with its spectacular plants and floral display at the front.

The Union Tavern sits directly on the canal (Daniel Lynch)
The Union Tavern sits directly on the canal (Daniel Lynch)

For food, I love the monthly Portobello Vegan Night Market near Portobello Green. They have live DJs and ethical shopping. One place there, Rainforest Creations, sells amazing vegan wraps.

Where I work out

Truth be told, I don’t. I walk about and burn off calories. I enjoy walking along the Grand Union Canal and seeing the birds.

To commune with nature

I like Portobello Green just off Portobello Road. It’s a tiny bit of green and I like to sit there sometimes and chill.

Grocery shopping

I know it’s not fashionable to say but I go to the big Sainsbury’s near Ladbroke Grove. For fresh fruit I go to Portobello Market.

Fine fare: the  world-famous Portobello Road Market draws the crowds (Daniel Lynch)
Fine fare: the world-famous Portobello Road Market draws the crowds (Daniel Lynch)

Culture fix

My top place is The Tabernacle in Powis Square. It’s the headquarters for the Notting Hill Carnival and always has stuff going on. There are loads of different events, live DJs, bands, dance classes and a bar.

I also love the Notting Hill Arts Club. I’m doing a pre-Carnival warm-up party there and it’s a great place to catch the next rising star. I also like that they champion visual artists as well as live ones.

Another great place is the Studio West Gallery — they always have lots of very different exhibitions going on.

Getting around

Walking is the main way if I’m local but if I have heavy groceries or my DJ decks to carry, I take the car. I get the Tube to the West End from Notting Hill Gate — it’s really quick and easy.

Dream street

It’s not strictly Notting Hill but there’s a little line of houses on Barlby Road (previously Porlock Road), off Ladbroke Grove. My mum came here from Jamaica as a teenager, and this is where she stayed with her older sister, so it has a special attachment and connection for me.

There’s also Chesterton Road in Notting Hill, which is where my grandad — my mum’s dad — lived when he arrived from Jamaica in the Fifties.

Family links: Chesterton Road in Notting Hill (Daniel Lynch)
Family links: Chesterton Road in Notting Hill (Daniel Lynch)

Something you only see in your area

It’s actually something you only hear — Portobello Radio. There’s an art gallery on Portobello Road called The Muse Studio and you might catch a live episode of Portobello Radio happening here. It’s a digital radio station and they do live streams and pop-ups in and around the area.

They always have interesting stuff going on and celebrate the cultural diversity of Notting Hill, whether Irish, Moroccan or Caribbean.

What’s the catch?

Despite having an iconic event like the Notting Hill Carnival, the area doesn’t have the infrastructure in place to support it locally.

There are no plug-in sockets and it’s not as green as it could be. This means at the moment we bring in diesels, trucks and generators, instead of using what is already here.

In three words

Historic, creative and cultural.

As a 15-year-old, Linett Kamala made history as the first female DJ to play at Notting Hill Carnival. Linett’s carnival warm-up party, Link Me At The Sound System featuring Lin Kam Art Sound System Futures DJs, is from 9pm on August 24. Instagram: @linett_kamala for more details.


Colville Primary School, Thomas Jones Primary School and Fox Primary are all located in and around Notting Hill and rated ‘outstanding’ by Ofsted.

For secondary schools, there’s Kensington Aldridge Academy and The Cardinal Vaughan Memorial RC School which are both rated ‘outstanding’.

What it costs

Buying in Notting Hill

Average flat price: £1,263,820

Average house price: £3,622,540

Renting in Notting Hill

Average one-bed home: £2,923 pcm

Average three-bed home: £6,769 pcm

Source: Hamptons & Land Registry