It’s Back: The Notting Hill Carnival 2019 – Join The Party!
Notting Hill Carnival, London’s most anticipated summer event, returns to West London this year from the 25th to the 27th August. Expect colourful costumes, music pouring out of around forty huge speakers, food stalls, floats and some pretty epic dancing.
Need Answers Quickly?
- What is Notting Hill Carnival? It’s a celebration of cultural unity in the heart of London and a massive street party.
- When is Notting Hill Carnival 2019? 25th – 27th August.
- What time does Notting Hill Carnival start? The 2019 Notting Hill Carnival will begin at 9:00.
- Where is Notting Hill Carnival? The celebrations take over Notting Hill, Ladbroke Grove and Westbourne Park.
- Where does the parade begin? The Notting Hill parade starts on Great Western Road and then finishes down Ladbroke Grove.
- How much are Notting Hill Carnival tickets? Entry to the Street party and carnival is free.
Europe’s Biggest Carnival
Proudly holding the title of ‘largest carnival in Europe’, as you can imagine the event attracts thousands of people from all over the world.
The Carnival, which dates back to 1966, grew out of two separate events; the first a hippy festival which was the first organised street party in the area, and the second a Caribbean carnival that was initially held at St Pancras Town hall in 1959 following the Notting Hill Race Riots. The two were merged together to show cultural unity in the heart of London.
The Notting Hill Carnival plays out over three days, bringing the streets of Notting Hill to life with the sounds of reggae, dub and salsa blasting out of 37 sound systems, along with plenty of steel bands thrown in for good measure! Floats glide along and dancers in flamboyant outfits shimmy along the streets – it’s a sight not to be missed!
Join the 3 Day Party!
The festival takes place over 3 days, with each day having a slightly different feel to it. Whether you’re looking for a chilled time or a party vibe, there should be a day to suit you.
Day 1: Panorama – Saturday 25 August
The festival warms up on Saturday evening at Emslie Horniman’s Pleasance Park (Bosworth Road W10). With a steel band competition and lots of Caribbean-themed outdoor entertainment and street food to enjoy, this is a great way to get a taste of the festival before experiencing the rest of the festival – which can be quite intense!
Good to know: Entry is free and things will be happening from 6pm – 10pm
Day 2: J’Ouvert and Children’s Day – Sunday 26 August
The Sunday of the festival is a family-focused day, but no less spectacular. If you’re an early bird then you’ll want to head down to the traditional Caribbean carnival opening J’Ouvert. Starting at 6am, Carnival revellers wind through the street covered in mud and colourful paint.
Later on the Sunday is Children’s Day (or the Sunday Parade) which has a slightly more chilled feel to it than Monday’s festivities. Young performers take to the streets, dancing and swirling to show off their elaborate costumes.
Day 3: Grand Finale – Monday 27 August
The final day of the Notting Hill Festival is where the party really happens! The proceedings really liven up from mid-morning when the massive crowds start pouring in to celebrate the culmination of Europe’s biggest street party. Eighty groups of street performers will shake and wiggle their way through the buzzing streets of Notting Hill with mobile sound systems and street bands in tow.
Did you know? If you want to carry on the party into the small hours, then there’s also a whole load of pubs, bars and clubs putting on after parties. Some of these are ticketed so it’s worth checking on this beforehand.
Top tips for having the best day
1. Check your route
Make sure you plan your journey to the carnival ahead of time as the area will be extremely busy and some tubes may be closed around the festival site. Extra buses will be running for festival goers. Check the festival website for further details on your best route to Notting Hill.
Check the festival website for further details on your best route to the Notting Hill Carnival.
2. Pack the essentials
There’s a whole lot going on at Notting Hill Carnival so it’s best to be prepared for every eventuality. So, what do you need?
Things to pack: sunscreen, sunglasses, tissues (in case the portaloo has run out), plenty of water or a refillable bottle to keep hydrated after hours of dancing and have a mini first aid kit if your accident prone.
We also recomend grabbing one of the Notting Hill Carnival route maps so that you can find your way around and avoid any closed roads.
3.Tuck into Caribbean Cuisine
You’ll never be far from the delicious smells of smoking barbecue at Notting Hill Carnival. Embrace the experience and tuck into a traditional jerk chicken and rice (just go easy on the hot sauce if spicy is not really your thing!) Other flavourful dishes on offer include goat curry, ackee and salt fish. For the veggies keep an eye out for vegetarian patties, curries and chips. Our mouths are watering already …
4. Plan a meeting spot
Notting Hill Carnival can get very busy. If you’re meeting friends, plan to meet somewhere else and travel to Notting Hill together as it can be difficult to find people once you’re there. Keep your mobile phone handy in case you lose friends, or in case of an emergency.
5. Stay Safe
As with any big event, it’s important to stay aware of your surroundings and keep your wits about you. Keep your valuables safe as pickpockets will be operating in the area. Steer well clear of any streets that seem over-crowded or congested. Lastly, whilst it’s tempting to get into the party spirit with lots of booze, keep your sensible head on and drink in moderation and drink plenty of water in between your pints.
Most importantly though, remember to have fun and embrace all that you can at the event. Notting Hill Carnival didn’t become Europe’s Biggest Carnival because it was mediocre!
It’s a great festival to attend with plenty of things to see and do – make the most of it and go all out with a costume, plan your route in and out of London so you’re sure to arrive on time and make your day as smooth and enjoyable as possible.
Call 999 or 112 in an emergency to contact the police, ambulance or fire department