(This excerpt previously appeared in my 17 May guest post on Anglotopia.net, a brilliant, comprehensive resource on all things UK that I highly recommend to all Anglophiles!)
As an American-owned and operated agency, we field a lot of enquiries from North Americans looking to make the big transatlantic move to the United Kingdom. A big part of the job is managing expectations, as, for as much as expatriates are seeking change in a new culture, it’s only that natural that they also seek a degree of familiarity with what they already know. We can’t perform architectural miracles that increase the square-footage and closet space of these predominantly Victorian-era buildings to meet modern American proportions; nonetheless, we can advise on which neighborhoods have a solid American demographic by virtue of other appealing factors. Generally, American expats dig London’s West side, so we’ll start this series with the neighborhood where our friendly lil’ office is located:
No joking, this neighborhood continues to be a draw for Americans because of the Hugh Grant film of same name. There is a comfort to coming to Notting Hill from abroad thanks to a ready familiarity with the charms of Portobello Road as it’s portrayed in the movie. Bedecked in antique shops, fashion boutiques, pubs, cafes, and street stalls overflowing with produce, this colorful strip contains all the quaint appeal that Americans expect from London.
The amenities don’t stop at Portobello, however; indeed, the entire area is dotted with day and night-life amidst quiet residential streets that provide a nice escape from the city-center bustle and is close to green space like Kensington Gardens. The neighborhood’s Westbourne Grove has been nicknamed “Rodeo Drive” by residents for its posh clothing shops, and, overall, residences are well-maintained to an American standard.
To be continued in our next post…