London’s Most Anticipated Summer Event
Notting Hill Carnival, London’s most anticipated summer event, returns to West London this year from the 29th – 31st August. Expect colourful costumes, music pouring out of around forty huge speakers, food stalls, floats and some pretty epic dancing.
Europe’s Biggest Carnival
Proudly holding the title of ‘largest carnival in Europe’ 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.
An Early Kick Off
In previous years, the festivities have been confined to the Sunday and Monday of the August bank holiday. This year, however, the carnival is warming up on the Saturday evening!
Brass bands will be jamming in the open air in Emslie Horniman Pleasance Park, just North of Notting Hill. There’ll be a prize for the best act, so expect a good show!
Join the Party!
The main parade kicks off on Monday and if you’re an early riser then get yourself along to Canal Way between 6am and 9am. You’ll be able to actually take part in the opening of the festival as they allow spectators to join in with the parade, jiving along the streets to African drums or steel bands.
The proceedings really liven up from mid-morning when the massive crowds start pouring in from all over London and further afield. 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.
If you’re hungry after all the dancing you’ve likely been doing then there’s no shortage of food stalls where you can grab some traditional Caribbean grub, or just a hot dog if you’re playing it safe!
And, if you want to continue 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.
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.