Bookstore that inspired the movie ‘Notting Hill’ braces for a rush of engagements

Hugh Grant and Julia Roberts in “Notting Hill.”
Hugh Grant and Julia Roberts in “Notting Hill.”
(Clive Coote)

In the 1999 movie “Notting Hill,” Julia Roberts’ character, Anna, delivers a memorable line to bookstore owner Will, played by Hugh Grant: “I’m just a girl, standing in front of a boy, asking him to love her.”

Employees of the Notting Hill Bookshop, which served as the inspiration for the travel bookstore in the romantic comedy, are expecting to hear that line frequently in the coming months. The Telegraph reports that the shop’s owners are anticipating a rush of couples getting engaged in the store in 2019, the 20th anniversary of the film “Notting Hill.”

James Malin, co-owner of the bookstore, said that they already get regular requests from couples who want the shop to be the site of their special moment.

“We have had several approaches during the past few years and there’s other people that we are not aware of, like an American couple we didn’t find out about until they returned for their anniversary,” he said. “We don’t always find out they are proposing, but if they want us to do something special, we will.”


The hit film “Notting Hill” tells the story of the unlikely romance between Anna, a well-known American actress, and Will, who owns a travel bookstore in West London.

For the bookstore in the movie, filmmakers re-created the Notting Hill Bookshop’s interior. At the time the movie was made, Notting Hill specialized in travel literature, but it now features a wider variety of books.

Malin told the Telegraph that the shop is a popular destination for movie fans from all over the world.

“We’ve had people from Australia, America, China and Japan,” he said. “We even had a young Chinese couple who were here on their honeymoon and dressed up again in their wedding outfits to walk around with a professional photographer, and a young Chinese couple who met in our shop and came back six months later to tell us they were still together.”


While Malin and his staff seem delighted by their store’s romantic reputation, not all businesses in the neighborhood are as happy with lovers making the trip to the London neighborhood.

In May, the Daily Mail reported that the owners of the Book and Comic Exchange, a store in the Notting Hill neighborhood, grew tired of tourists asking them if they were the bookstore featured in the movie. They posted a sign on their front door that reads, “This is not the shop from the rubbish film. So don’t ask! We don’t know where it is either!”

The crew at Notting Hill Bookshop, though, is significantly less cranky about their association with the movie. In July, they took to Twitter to celebrate a couple who got engaged in the bookstore: