Notting Hill Carnival guide

Dancing, music and masquerade – make the most of Notting Hill Carnival with our guide to all the info, dates, timings, travel details and tips.

Notting Hill Carnival
Notting Hill Carnival © mubus/Shutterstock

Given that an estimated two million people attended last year, Notting Hill Carnival totally deserves its reputation as Europe’s biggest street festival. The annual event is a vivid and thrilling spectacle that celebrates and showcases London’s rich, varied and magnificent multicultural past and present. And for any party lovers, the Carnival weekend is a vital date in the calendar.

Still, the sheer size and excitement of Carnival can be overwhelming, especially if you’re unsure of exactly what you should be doing. So, to get totally prepared and ready for the celebrations, don’t go anywhere without reading our guide, which includes invaluable information, tips and travel details about Notting Hill Carnival 2019.

What is Notting Hill Carnival?
A yearly celebration of London’s Caribbean communities, their culture and traditions, which has been taking place since 1966. The Carnival takes places over two days and features a parade and fantastic live music, including reggae, dub and salsa. There are also 37 static sound systems, soca floats, steel bands and a whole lot of delicious Caribbean food.

Where does Notting Hill Carnival take place?
The Carnival spreads throughout W10 in West London, with celebrations taking over the areas of Notting Hill (obvs), Ladbroke Grove and Westbourne Park. The main parade begins on Great Western Road, moving its way along Chepstow Road, before leading on to Westbourne Grove. It then travels down Ladbroke Grove.

When does Notting Hill Carnival take place?
Traditionally, the Carnival takes place on the bank holiday weekend at the end of August. In 2019, the dates of the festivities are 25-26 August. The timings of the parade, which takes place on both days, will be announced closer to the time.

What's the best way to get there?
Travel in the area is usually very disrupted over Carnival. It’s worth consulting with our travel guide before you set off so you know how best to plan for your arrival and departure. Keep updated with TFL, too.

Should I take the kids to Carnival?
Lots of people take their kids to Carnival, especially on Sunday’s ‘Family Day’, which is traditionally a little quieter than Monday’s party. Of course, it's worth preparing your day so that you and your little ones can have the best time possible. We’d recommend arriving early to beat the crowds and definitely bring travel potties where appropriate, as the queues for the toilets can be unforgivingly long. Similarly, pack snacks and water to avoid hanging around, because as you probably know kids and queues don't often make good bedfellows. While mobile signal can get a little congested due to the sheer amount of people. it's definitely worth writing your mobile number on your child's arm so that if you do get separated they can contact you.

Here's a quick checklist if you’re going with kids:
1. Visit on Sunday or ‘Family Day’. It’s still busy (and noisy), but it’s much more kid-friendly than the main parade on Monday.
2. Beat the crowds and arrive early to get a good and comfortable spot.
3. Bring ear defenders for you little kids as things can get pretty loud.
4. Check your travel route! See which stations are closed and how best to plan your arrival and your return journey. See our travel guide and keep updated with TFL.
5. Bring travel potties for very young children, as portable toilets will have huge queues.
6. Bring easily transportable food and water for your kids (and yourself, to be honest), just in case you struggle to buy anything while you're there.

RECOMMENDED: Find more London events in August.

Notting Hill Carnival 2019

Essential Carnival info

Essential Carnival info

Download your Carnival map
Music

Download your Carnival map

Warm-up and afterparties
Clubs

Warm-up and afterparties

Notting Hill soundsystems
Music

Notting Hill soundsystems

Notting Hill Carnival features

50 things you didn't know about Carnival
Music

50 things you didn't know about Carnival

Here are 50 facts you might not know about Europe's biggest street party

A spotter’s guide to Carnival
Music

A spotter’s guide to Carnival

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

Top tips from Carnival experts
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

How to speak like a Carnival pro
Music

How to speak like a Carnival pro

Know your wine from your lime, with this handy glossary of Carnival vocab.

A look at Notting Hill Carnival history

21 vibrant pictures of Notting Hill Carnival
Music

21 vibrant pictures of Notting Hill Carnival

Feast your eyes on some fabulous pictures of Carnival in all its multi-coloured, feathery and sequinned glory. 

What we wore to Notting Hill Carnival
Music

What we wore to Notting Hill Carnival

See our archive photos and read memories from four generations to see just how much the fashion of Carnival has changed.

Notting Hill Carnival from the Time Out archive
Music

Notting Hill Carnival from the Time Out archive

Take a trip down memory lane and explore some photos and pictures of Notting Hill Carnival from 1975-1990.   

This one time at Notting Hill Carnival…
Music

This one time at Notting Hill Carnival…

Carival dancers, Shy FX, Toddla T and The Heatwave tell us their favourite Notting Hill Carnival memories.

Explore Notting Hill

Notting Hill area guide
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

Notting Hill restaurants
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

Portobello Road Market
Shopping

Portobello Road Market

Best known for antiques and collectibles, this is actually several markets rolled into one: antiques start at the Notting Hill end; further up are food stalls; under the Westway and along the walkway to Ladbroke Grove are emerging designer and vintage clothes on Fridays (usually marginally less busy) and Saturdays (invariably manic). Browse more of London's best markets

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Notting Hill bars and pubs
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