With an expected two million or so attendees, Notting Hill Carnival is Europe’s biggest street festival and a vivid spectacle representing London's multicultural past and present. It's also a vital date in any party lover's diary. But, whatever you do, don’t go anywhere without reading our guide, which includes invaluable information, tips and travel details about Notting Hill Carnival 2017.
What is Notting Hill Carnival?
A free 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 celebration includes 37 static soundsystems, soca floats, steel bands and a whole lot of jerk chicken and fried plantain.
Where does Notting Hill Carnival take place?
Spread throughout W10 in west London, the celebrations take over the areas of Notting Hill, Ladbroke Grove and Westbourne Park. The main parade starts on Great Western Road, winding its way along Chepstow Road, then on to Westbourne Grove, and then down Ladbroke Grove.
When does Notting Hill Carnival take place?
Carnival traditionally takes place on the bank holiday weekend at the end of August. This year it's on 26-27 August 2018. Timings for the parade (which takes place on both days) will be announced closer to the time.
What's the best way to get there?
Many tube and bus services in the area are subject to disruption over Carnival, so consult our guide to travel here to make your arrival and departure as easy as possible.
Should I take kids to Carnival?
Of course, with some preparation, lots of people take their kids, particularly on Sunday's 'Family Day' which is traditionally quieter than the Monday. Arrive early to beat the crowds. Bring travel potties, snacks and water because queues and kids aren't the most compatible combo. Top tip: Write your mobile number on your child’s arm, so they can contact you if you get separated.
Here’s a quick checklist if you're going with kids:
1. Go 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. Arrive early. You’ll beat the crowds and can get a good, comfortable spot.
3. Bring ear defenders for the little ’uns.
4. Plan your travel route beforehand and check which tube stations are closed – see above for travel info.
5. Bring travel potties for very young children, as portable toilets at Carnival will have long queues.
6. Bring some easily transportable food and water for them in case you can’t buy anything suitable.
7. Don’t buy them a vuvuzela unless you want a perforated ear drum!
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