This weekend, the streets of West London will be playing host to Britain’s biggest street party – Notting Hill Carnival! With festivities starting at 6am on Sunday and ending “officially” at 8.30pm on Monday, it’s guaranteed to be a lot of fun. Think parades, dancing, costumes, masquerades, music, and an incredible array of street food! We’ve broken down the essentials for you, to guarantee you can make the most of the weekend.
Travelling to and from the carnival:
The nearest tube stations are Notting Hill Gate, Ladbroke Grove, Royal Oak, Westbourne Park, Holland Park, Queensway, and Bayswater, but bear in mind all of these will be extremely crowded! If you don’t mind a short walk, then stations like Latimer Road, Warwick Avenue, Paddington, Lancaster Gate and Kensal Green will probably be a lot less disrupted. Another thing to be aware of is that some stations – including Notting Hill Gate, Royal Oak and Westbourne Park – will be exit-only between 11am and 7pm on both Sunday and Monday, so factor this into your journey planning.
There will be extra bus services in operation, but none of them will enter the carnival area from first thing Sunday morning all the way until the first service on Tuesday morning, and night bus routes will also be disrupted and diverted. Buses will be running from Notting Hill Gate in the south and the Prince of Wales on Harrow Road in the north, on both Sunday and Monday, but be aware that traffic will probably be pretty bad while the carnival is going on, especially in nearby areas. Your best bet is to travel by foot!
With colourful parades, eclectic sounds and lots of family-friendly fun it promises to be enjoyable for all ages.
Sunday is Family Day, so it’s the perfect opportunity if you want your kids to experience the carnival party atmosphere! With a colourful child-oriented parade, eclectic sounds from the World Music Stage, and lots of family-friendly fun from 10am-8.30pm, it promises to be enjoyable for all ages.
If you want to beat the crowds, be sure to get down early, and if you’re early enough, you might be able to see the Jouvert procession. Running between 6 and 9am on Sunday, revellers will be able to throw coloured powder paint at each other to the Caribbean soundtrack of a live steel band!
The Grand Finale:
Monday is the Main Parade; this is the big one – more than 60 different bands, 38 soundsystems, a myriad of dancers and floats, and of course an incredible assortment of food stalls lining the streets. It will, of course, be jam-packed, but don’t worry! The great thing about Notting Hill Carnival is that it’s so widely distributed that you can easily escape the claustrophobic crowds to find a less intense party atmosphere in a street, pub or bar nearby.
Food & Entertainment:
The street food on offer at Notting Hill Carnival is often the highlight for many, with authentic Caribbean food stalls serving jerk chicken, rice and peas, and much more, so it’s the perfect chance to sample exotic cuisine. However, if curry goat isn’t for you, there is still a lot of choice, with lots of BBQ and veggie options.
There’s also a whole host of different musical acts, ranging from dubstep DJs, to live steel bands, to the sounds of salsa.
The authentic Caribbean food stalls offer the perfect chance to sample exotic cuisine.
Try and remember to bring enough cash with you for the day, as the ATMs around the carnival area tend to run out very quickly! To avoid getting lost, plan your route beforehand, using the map below:
Whichever day you decide to go, or route you decide to take, make sure to stay safe and try to stick together! Phone signal can be a bit dodgy as it’s such a big festival, so be sure to agree a meeting point early on in case anyone gets lost. But most of all, enjoy the party! For further information, visit the official Notting Hill Carnival website.