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Notting Hill Carnival 2016 guide

Dancing, music and masquerade – join the Carnival fun in Notting Hill this August bank holiday weekend

Notting Hill Carnival

Notting Hill Carnival, Europe’s biggest street festival, is a vivid spectacle representing London's multicultural past and present. It's also a vital date in any party-lover's diary. But this August bank holiday, don’t go anywhere without reading our guide, which includes invaluable information about Notting Hill Carnival 2016. Looking for route details and tips on having fun, while staying safe? You've come to the right place. And for all the essential details you need for the big weekend, have a glancse at these FAQs below:

Which weekend does Notting Hill Carnival take place?
Carnival starts on Sunday August 28 (also referred to as 'Children's Day') and continues into Monday August 29.

Where does Notting Hill Carnival take place?
Spread throughout W10 in west London, the Carnival celebrations take over the areas of Notting Hill, Ladbroke Grove and Westbourne Park.

What's the best way to get there?
Take the tube to the outskirts and join the masses in walking towards the parade route. The nearest tube stations without disruptions are Holland Park, High Street Kensington, Queen's Park, Shepherd's Bush, Bayswater and Paddington, while the following have amended operating times: 
Notting Hill Gate (exit only from 11am-7pm)
Royal Oak (exit only from 11am-6pm; closed from 6pm on Mon)
Westbourne Park (exit only 11am-6pm)
For more in-depth travel info, read our round-up of everything you need to know about Notting Hill Carnival.

What time does everything kick off?
The Carnival floats and bands set off at 9am on both Sunday and Monday mornings, running roughly until 7pm both days.

What is Notting Hill Carnival?
A celebration of the capital's Caribbean communities, their culture and traditions, which has been taking place since 1964, featuring two days of fantastic live music ranging from reggae to dub to salsa. The celebrations also include soca floats, steel bands and a whole lot of jerk chicken and fried plantain.

RECOMMENDED: Top attractions and London events in August

Notting Hill Carnival 2016 essential info

Download your Carnival map

The procession route, soundsystems, toilets and safe spots – here are your main stopping points at this year's Carnival in one downloadable map

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Travel and important information

Whether you're travelling by bus, tube or on foot, get the latest transport, family day and essential Carnival information here

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Notting Hill Carnival features

Music

Top tips from Carnival experts

Ms Dynamite, Gabriel Heatwave, Treble T, Dominik Prosser, Bernard Jackson and more provide their tips to enjoying Notting Hill Carnival

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Shopping

What to wear to Notting Hill Carnival

Carnival outfits, costumes and fancy dress: our guide has all of your sequin, glitter and footwear needs covered for this year's Notting Hill street party

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Music

Our top 10 Notting Hill Carnival anthems

Crank the volume and warm up for Notting Hill with the tunes that have defined Carnival over the years

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Music

A spotter’s guide to Notting Hill Carnival

There are some things you only see at Carnival. Keep your eyes peeled for this lot at Notting Hill Carnival 2016

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A look at Notting Hill Carnival history

Music

Notting Hill Carnival from the Time Out archive

Pictures from 1975-1990, the Time Out archive has thrown up some fascinating photos and pictures from Notting Hill Carnival

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Music

In pictures: Notting Hill Carnival 2015

Take a look at last year's fabulous parade in all its multicoloured, feathery, sequinned glory

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Explore Notting Hill

Things to do

Notting Hill area guide

Notting Hill is the perfect place to spend a weekend. Whether you're into shopping, eating, film, or plain people watching, Notting Hill is a great place to spend some time

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Restaurants

Notting Hill restaurants

Brimming with great cafés and restaurants, Notting Hill will always have the perfect meal to suit both your tastebuds and budget. From simple fish and chips at Geales to modern cuisine at the Notting Hill Brasserie

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Bars and pubs

Notting Hill bars and pubs

With some of the poshest and poorest communities in London, Notting Hill is a melting pot, and this diversity gives it an atmosphere all of its own

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Shopping

Notting Hill shops

Head to the famous Portobello Road Market for everything from antiques and vintage accessories to street food and fresh veg stalls. If the hordes of people put you off the market

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Comments

18 comments
Aimee C
Aimee C

I'm sure the Carnival is 3 days from Saturday to Monday and Is always in May or June. In August people are on holiday. I always go Carnivol

Vashti S
Vashti S

WAAAAAY I WANT TO COME TO CARNIVAL ! PICK ME UP OR EMAIL ME @ YOU KNOW MY ADDRESS IM LOGGED IN...SMILE

Isabelly
Isabelly Tastemaker

I'm sorry to say but I felt like Carnival this year depicted some kind of London dystopia. I was expecting colourful dancers with great plumes of feathers for lingerie, but alas I will not be ruffling anyone's feathers with this review. There were just a massive mob of eerily clad goths, trying to ambush everyone with selfie sticks and (suspicious looking) white body paint (although I do appreciate Batman in his Hermes t-shirt in this photo). And then there's the toilet issue - if would be alright if there was an obvious way to escape the abyss but you'd walk around the corner, and there would be ANOTHER mob surrounding by ANOTHER half-assed boombox, blocking your escape.

Serigne T
Serigne T

I wont to come but I don't know how to get their

bookmusic d
bookmusic d

Your post is very nice to read and very informative. I love to here music and musical fest. Recently I had enjoyed the musical fest of http://www.bookmusic.dk. It has mind blowing and rocking performance. They had a very good band artist, light effect, sound system, stage lighting.

jack j
jack j

In your blog post you have given new information for me and help me to know about new thing. I was unknown to Notting Hill Carnival, but now I decided to go to join this festival after my tour by http://www.getbustours.com/newyeareve-tours/. I hope it will be a nice experience for me.

Robert A
Robert A

hoping for  a good family day out at carnival just have to miss the gran prix or watch highlights

Mena B
Mena B

I agree who ever did their research shame on you.

Mena B
Mena B

You know the sad thing, not a lot of people of Caribbean descent know what the true meaning of Carnival is at all. SMH just like the researcher.

Alan R
Alan R

Why do you put Reggae music as the main music of carnival. Please do your research and stop misleading people/readers, of course Raggae has a role but the main music for carnival floats costume bands is not reggae!

Lynda J
Lynda J

In order for The carnival to grow and be spectacular the Mas Bands (floats) need support by ordinary people participating very few bands receive funding from the arts council, if you would like to support a band that does not receive funding you can ask when you contact them if they do, did you know in Holland the local authority pays for the trucks for the bands on the road because they acknowledge the contribution the carnival makes to the country by the way of tourism and revenue! in London we get nothing, but generate millions (in excess of 100 Million) for London   don't forget you can make the show! so spread the love and support Europe's Largest street festival, remember without floats and costumes there is no carnival!

Lynda J
Lynda J

also have a read of the insiders view on this site.

diane
diane

we went to the carnival on Monday, full or excitement and expectation of a wonderful and colourful day. instead we got glimpses of several trucks with nothing happening on them and a few people in front or behind them who looked like spare stand ins. the loud music was good plenty of people just going to party and drink which is good but as for the carnival, which is supposed to be what its all about was a let down. the day seemed to be about girls just shaking booty every two minutes with not much effort on costume and every one just their to walk about getting drunk not really taking much interest in the passing empty lorries grinding with odd booty shaker and waiting to just have more drink and dance at the after party's. one big street pub and restaurant and not much else!! at least the music and traditional curry goat made up for it.

Technicolor
Technicolor

Best carnival ever. Amazing parade, wonderful music. Absolutely delicious yummy food. Beautiful people, and the best soundsystems. A total blessing

bigsands
bigsands

Yep! This is one of the best events in London each year and it all starts with the steel band competition on Kensal Road this Saturday evening. You can hear the vibrant sounds of bands with over 50 players and feel the energy and rhythm of real Caribbean steel bands. For more on steel band music and parties, follow on Twitter/bigsands