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Notting Hill Carnival
Photograph: David Tett

Notting Hill Carnival 2023 festival: dates, lineup, tickets and schedule

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

Alex Sims
Written by
Time Out London editors
Alex Sims

Notting Hill Carnival is a highlight of summer, filling the August bank holiday weekend with a joyful explosion of steel pan, dancers in feather-decked costumes, Red Stripe-fuelled good times and reverberating beats.

We’re sure 2023’s instalment will be no exception. It’s expected that more than two million people will flock to west London to dance in the streets of W11 this year, across three days of cultural events and partying. And with the weather due to be a moderate 20C with a touch of cloud and sun, according to the Met Office, it looks like it’s perfect weather for dancing.

Read on to find out more about the long-standing Caribbean celebration, how to get there and what’s going down this year. 

What is Notting Hill Carnival? 

Carnival is one of the longest running street parties in the world. Started by London’s Caribbean communities in 1966, it’s a celebration of freedom and Caribbean culture, with an iconic parade showcasing the best of mas, soca, calypso, steel bands and soundsystems.

Carnival dancer
Photograph: David Tett

When is Notting Hill Carnival 2023? 

West London is getting taken over again with dazzling floats, kaleidoscopically dressed performers, rib-shaking soundsystems, the sweet, smoky smell of jerk chicken and steel bands over the August Bank Holiday weekend from Sunday August 27 to Monday August 28

What is the Notting Hill Carnival 2023 line-up?

Each year, there are surprise guests appearing across the parade route and soundsystems, sending waves of excitement rippling through Carnival —in 2022, Sean Paul and Koffee showed up to get partygoers dancing. Even Beyoncé rocked up in 1999. But Carnival's organisers are notorious for leaving announcements until the very last moment; they love to surprise the revellers throughout the weekend. 

Here's what we know about the line-up so far:

Panorama. The UK's biggest steel pan competition at Emslie Horniman Pleasance Park, on Saturday August 26.

J’Ouvert. A traditional Caribbean event which marks the beginning of Carnival and kicks off just before sunrise, on Sunday August 27.

Children’s Parade. This family-friendly morning event sees kids dancing in the streets in their homemade Carnival costumes. Sunday August 27.

Traditional Parade. Features mas, soca, calypso and much more. Sunday August 27.

Soundsystems. Pitch up at a soundsystem location and dance the day away. Find each of the 30-something soundsystems dotted across the parade. Sunday August 27 and Monday August 28 from midday until 7pm. 

Food stalls. There are hundreds of them, including Jamaican Jerk chicken, Trinidadian roti and Guyanese pepper pot. Sunday August 27 to Monday August 28.

Adult's day parade. Expect lots of dancing, parading and partying. Monday August 28.

What is the schedule for Notting Hill Carnival 2023? 

Notting Hill Carnival 2023 will officially starts at 10am on Sunday August 27 and at 10.30am on Bank Holiday Monday, August 28.

But before then, Saturday is all about steelpan bands. Panorama, the UK's national steelband competition, kicks off at Emslie Horniman’s Pleasance Park, from 4pm til midnight. Six bands will battle it out to be the champions, followed by a DJ set to keep the party going. 

On Sunday August 27 — family day — J’Ouvert, which is a traditional celebration before the formal start of Carnival, will begin at 6am to 9am. If you’re up early enough to catch the iconic celebration, it starts at Sainsbury’s, Canal Way, Ladbroke Grove, W10 5AA.

If you can’t make J’Ouvert, the official opening ceremony will take place from 10am to 10.30am on Great Western road, before the children’s day parade and Carnival Parade kicks off and runs until 5pm.

On Carnival Sunday and Monday, the static soundsystems will run from midday to 7pm at various locations across the parade. On Carnival Monday, the adult's day parade will run from 10.30am to 8.30pm across the parade route.

Do I need a ticket for Notting Hill Carnival?

The NHC parade is free for anyone to attend and everyone is welcome. But, if you want to join in with the parade, you need to be part of a group authorised to do so, or pay to join the procession. If you want to continue the festivities into the night, you will need to buy a ticket for one of the countless afterparties across the city.

Where is Notting Hill Carnival?

NHC takes over Notting Hill in west London. Get off at Notting Hill Gate station, Westbourne Park or Royal Oak and simply follow the crowds. It’ll be minutes before you run into a soundsystem, a mini-street party, or the parade itself. 

Photograph: David Tett

What is the 2023 Carnival parade route? 

Taking place on Bank Holiday Monday, August 29, the main parade is around three and a half miles long and takes over most of W10. The parade circuit typically starts near Westbourne Grove tube station at 9.30am and winds down Great Western Road, slowly making its way to Westbourne Park and then up to Ladbroke Grove. 

How to get to Notting Hill Carnival 2023?

Travel by tube:

As Notting Hill’s roads will be closed off throughout the Bank Holiday weekend, you won’t be able to get an Uber or catch a bus into the heart of the action. But there are plenty of nearby tube stations are within walking distance of the main event including Notting Hill Gate, which will be ‘exit only’ from 11am to 7pm each day, to accommodate the hundreds of thousands of people using the station that day. FYI: there will be no interchange between the Circle and District line and Central Line on both days.

Royal Oak and Westbourne Park will be ‘exit only’ from 11am to 6pm, with Royal Oak closing thereafter and Westbourne Park closing after 11.30pm. Also don't forget: Latimer road will be closed from 11.30pm on both days. Avoid Ladbroke Grove and Holland Park as they're both closed on Sunday and Monday. 

Want a Carnival hack? Don’t forget to pick a meeting point in advance for when you inevitably lose your mates in the crowd. 

Photograph: David Tett

When is family day for Notting Hill Carnival?

Family day is on Carnival Sunday August 27 2023. The official opening ceremony will take place from 10am to 10.30am on Great Western road, before the children’s day parade and Carnival Parade kicks off and runs until 5pm. 

Which is the better day at Carnival?

If you’re after a more chilled NHC experience, go for family day on Sunday, or if you like the sound of a hard-partying parade, make sure to go on Carnival Monday. The festivities kick off with an opening ceremony on Sunday morning, with the parade starting at 10am. Monday’s adults day parade starts at 10.30am and afterparties run until after dark. There’s nothing stopping you from going both days, of course.


Photograph: David Tett

What’s in store for Notting Hill Carnival 2023? 

As ever, the parade will be a celebration of Caribbean history and culture with warm-up and afterparties setting the mood over the August bank holiday weekend. The line-up isn't typically announced in advance, so just turn up and immerse yourself in a weekend of dancing, joy and community.

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