One of the main events in London’s mild summer is the Notting Hill Carnival, the largest carnival parade in Europe. An unmissable event where the Notting Hill streets come to life and as many as 1 million people fill the area.
The Notting Hill Carnival has been held since 1966 every August Bank Holiday. It was started by the West Indian community and has quickly swerved to a fully Caribbean carnival where steel bands, floats and lots of costumes brighten this London district.
This year, the Notting Hill Carnival is held for three days, from the 23rd to the 25th August, with a different celebration every day.
On the first carnival day, the 23rd August; a steel band competition is held, as all the contestants play to Caribbean rhythms whilst everyone can enjoy the music. It starts at 7 pm and finishes at 11 pm and is held in Pleasance Park on Bosworth Road.
From 6am to 10am the music starts again to welcome a child-friendly carnival party that sets off at Canal Way on Landbroke Grove. This is the perfect opportunity for parents with kids to have a great time and let them experience the magic of the historical Notting Hill Carnival.
On the 25th the main Parade is held. Colorful floats fill the Great Western Road to tour Notting Hill followed by lots of music, dancers and passersby. After the main procession which goes on until 8.30pm, there are plenty of after parties that go on until the late hours of night.
During the main day, you’ll be able to find an uncountable number of food stalls around, most of them selling Caribbean food. Some of the typical dishes are Curried Goat, Jerk Chicken and Rice and Peas.
Amidst all of them, one stands out: Mama’s Jerk Station, an old-timer that has incredible Veggie Bean Cakes, Jerk Pork Sausages or their specialty: Jerk Chicken.
Music is one of the basic elements that put together this amazing event. The streets fill with all sorts of live music: from reggae to R&B, Funk or House; played by steel bands such as historical Soca & Calypso Music.
There is also a live stage where legends such as Wyclef Jean, Jamiroquai or Eddie Grant have played during the years.
Some roads are closed and there are a few parking restrictions during this event, so it is advised to use public transport or to go by foot. The best entrances are on the southern and west side as Harrow Road and Great Western Road get pretty busy.
Note that the Landbroke Grove station will be closed during these days.
Latimer Road, Bayswater, Queensway, Paddington.
Notting Hill Gate & Royal Oak (exit only on these days)
There will be a special bus service although some alterations in their route will be made.
Buses will start from Notting Hill Gate and to the North of the Carnival area buses will start from the Prince of Wales in Harrow Road.
If you’d like to stay close to all the carnival’s action, One Holiday Rentals offers a wide range of apartments in Notting Hill and its surrounding areas. Check out some of these examples: