Notting Hill Carnival is returning to the streets of London this Bank Holiday Weekend. Here’s our guide to the eclectic two-day bonanza…
What is Notting Hill Carnival?
Notting Hill Carnival is an annual celebration of London’s rich and vibrant Caribbean culture. The first celebration took place in 1966 after being organised by Notting Hill resident Rhaune Laslett as a way of integrating the diverse local community.
Each year, the festival draws in huge crowds – last year saw around two million revellers hit the streets of West London. Expect colourful parades, floats and street parties, alongside copious amounts of Caribbean food and rum. And, of course, the music: everything from reggae to afro beats to soca, blasting from sound systems throughout the day.
When is Notting Hill Carnival?
The Carnival takes place annually over the August Bank Holiday weekend, this year from 25-26 August. Sunday is known as the family day, while Monday is seen as the bigger day for party-goers. Festivities begin with an opening ceremony at 10am on Sunday ahead of the parade starting at 10.30am. Monday’s parade begins at 10am, with festivities continuing until 10pm. Sound systems play across both days, with a 7pm noise curfew.
On both days, a 72-second silence will take place in memory of each of the victims of the Grenfell Tower Tragedy.
Where does Notting Hill Carnival take place?
Celebrations spread across most of the W10 and W11 postcodes, including Ladbroke Grove and Westbourne Park.
How to get there…
Travel is always disrupted over Carnival weekend, so check your route beforehand. The nearest tube stations nearby which won’t be affected by closures are High Street Kensington, Shepherd’s Bush and Queen’s Park. Bayswater and Paddington will also be open. Notting Hill Gate will be exit only from 11am-7pm. Guests are advised to avoid travelling by car as there will be lots of road closures over the weekend.
The parade route…
The main parade begins on Great Western Road, heading along Chepstow Road and on to Westbourne Grove before travelling down Ladbroke Grove.
- Download the Notting Hill Carnival app, which contains all-important information about the many food stalls – including helpful pointers for vegan and vegetarians alongside where to get the best jerk chicken. There are also maps of the parade route, where to find loos, stages, sound systems and places to chill out.
- Plan ahead. There are often issues with phone signal due to the sheer volume of people in the area, so it’s a good idea to pick a meeting point beforehand in case anyone gets separated from your party.
- Wear comfortable shoes – you’ll be doing a lot of walking around and dancing.
- Temperates are predicted to reach 30 degrees, so make sure you pack some sun cream!