Less stiff-upper-lip than its Chelsea neighbour and home to London’s bougie (and above) bohemians, Notting Hill is much more fascinating than any Richard Curtis film à clef can portray. By turns leafy and lively, this borough of rainbow-hued townhouses and multi-coloured market awnings resists high-street homogenisation; Portobello Market takes place throughout the week (except Sunday), but Saturday from 9am to 7pm is when antique stalls offer weird and wonderful wares. Amble down to 22 Portobello Road to George Orwell’s former abode (yes, the surveillance cameras outside are a myth), dig out vintage treasures at the Retro Home & Clothing Exchange (+44 (0)20 7243 6688) on Pembridge Road or rifle through rare records at Honest Jon’s. See if you can spot Wills and Kate picking up their weekly shop when you visit Kensington Palace and Gardens and then nose around their ancestors’ stately pile. To the east you can procure a pedalo on the Serpentine Lake or take a moment of reflection in the Serpentine Gallery’s annual pavilion. Holland Park, a 15-minute stroll from the hotel is also a fine picnicking spot; make a pit stop at Mr Christian’s in Elgin Crescent to pick up freshly made salads and quiches, charcuterie and divine cakes. Book a room early on to be enviably close to the London Notting Hill Carnival parade route. In August watch feathered headdresses shake to reggae beats and marvel at the riotously coloured, increasingly daring costumes – then after you’ve danced your feet sore, sidestep the crowds and abscond to the serenity of your room.