This bank holiday weekend, London plays host to Europe’s biggest street carnival, the world-famous Notting Hill Carnival!
Notting Hill Carnival has been an annual celebration of Caribbean culture since 1966 and attracts up to 2m visitors each year.
What can you expect to see?
The Sunday is Children’s Day, and is more suited to families. The crowds will be much smaller and the floats and attractions will be much more family friendly.
The Sunday session kicks off for the early birds at 6am London time. Between 6am and 9am is Jouvert, a fun, adventurous and carnivalesque opening of the festival.
Watch as performers dance and throw paint and colourful powder at each other, you can watch at a clean distance or jump right in and get yourself covered.
Join the flamboyant, hypnotic and child-friendly parade as it travels along the carnival route throughout the day.
The Monday is Adult’s Day and the Grand Finale.
The main parade showcases everything that is special about the Notting Hill Carnival. With 60 steel bands filling the streets of N10 with joyous sounds, happy dancers, and elaborate floats.
How do you get there?
The Carnival is located — as the name suggests — Notting Hill. But getting to your favourite pastel coloured paradise will not be the usual relaxed ride.
Take whatever knowledge you have of the tube map and just tear it up and throw it away – you won’t be needing that!
The tube stations around the carnival area will be subject to a lot of disruption and closures on the weekend of the festival, and even more so at busy times of the day.
Notting Hill Gate station will be exit-only on Sunday and Bank Holiday Monday, between 11am and 7pm. This station will be operating Central Line only over the two days. Circle and District lines will not be stopping here.
Ladbroke Grove station will be closed on Sunday and Bank Holiday Monday
Latimer Road will close at 11:30pm on Sunday and Bank Holiday Monday
Westbourne Park will be exit-only between 11am – 6pm and closed at 11:30pm on Sunday and Bank Holiday Monday
Royal Oak will be exit-only after 11am and closed at 6pm on Sunday and Bank Holiday Monday
Make sure you keep an eye on the TfL Journey Planner for updates.
Busses around the area will also be affected
From 5am on Sunday morning to 5am Tuesday morning, busses around the carnival area and route will be on diversion or running shorter routes before getting to the event.
During these times, buses will start from the Prince of Wales on Harrow Road to the north of the carnival area. To the south of the carnival area, buses will start from Notting Hill Gate.
The bus routes affected by these closures and diversions are the 6, 7, 16, 18, 23, 27, 28, 31, 36, 46, 52, 70, 94, 98, 148,187, 220, 228, 274, 295, 316, 328, 332, 390, 414, 452, N7, N16, N18, N28, N31 N98 and N207.
Need to know
There have been worries about the safety of the carnival this year. However, organisers have expressed that there is nothing to be concerned about. Notting Hill Carnival is well policed and the crime rate is generally very low.
But, just remember the basics – if you leave valuables at home, stay with friends and don’t flash your cash — you’ll be grand.
Be sensible on the whole outfit thing too.
Yes, we all know it’s a carnival and you’ll want to look like a parrot amongst pigeons, but make sure you’re comfortable. No heels, no flip flops and no open toes.