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Notting Hill Carnival information

Plan your day at Carnival now – here's all you need to know about travel, visiting with children and staying safe

If you're heading to Notting Hill Carnival this year, be sure to check out our Notting Hill Carnival information guide. Crammed with everything you need to know about the floats, trucks and soundsystems, plus advice on how to stay safe over the weekend and details on entertaining the kids at the event. Our info guide is a must-read before attending Carnival 2017.

RECOMMENDED: Read the full Notting Hill Carnival guide

Everything you need to know about Notting Hill Carnival 2017...

1. THE BASICS.

When is Notting Hill Carnival 2017?
The parade begins at 9.30am on both Sunday August 27th and Monday August 28th. Judging finishes at 6.30pm. Soundsystems play on both Sunday and Monday, with a strict noise curfew at 7pm, giving floats, trucks and parade bands time to clear the streets by 8.30pm.

Where does it take place?
On the streets of W10: Notting Hill, Ladbroke Grove and Westbourne Park.

Do I have to pay?
Nope. Notting Hill Carnival is completely free, but most after-parties and warm-ups at bars and clubs do charge.

Notting Hill Carnival Dancer by David Tett

What’s the music like?
A patchwork of Caribbean-influenced sounds: reggae (old and new), dub, dancehall, soca and calypso. Plus soul, afro beat, house, funk, drum ’n’ bass, jungle, dubstep, ska, breaks and more. All thumping from 37 dedicated soundsystems. Oh, and there's steel and mas (short for masquerade) bands on the main route and African drumming at Powis Square too. 

What happens on Sunday?
Sunday is ‘Children's Day’ – a more relaxed start before the hard-partying main parade on Monday. Between 6am and 9am, early visitors to Canal way, Ladbroke Grove W14 can catch the Jouvert procession, a traditional Caribbean event where revellers smother each other in colourful powder, paint and melted chocolate to a steel band soundtrack. Between 9am and 7pm, there’s a colourful parade for children and eclectic sounds from the World Music Stage at Powis Square.

What happens on Monday?
Monday’s the Grand Finale, when more than 60 bands, 37 soundsystems and countless sequin-covered dancers on floats parade very slowly around W10. Check our route map for more information then hit up the surrounding streets, bars, pubs and clubs to continue the party.

What can I eat there?
As you’d expect, many food stalls sell traditional Caribbean food. But there are other options, including BBQ and veggie food, if jerk chicken and curried goat ain't your thing.

Can I still party once Carnival is finished?
There are loads of great after parties on Sunday and Monday, plus warm-up parties on Saturday. Take a look at our list of Notting Hill Carnival warm-up and afterparties.

notting hill carnival dancers

3. IMPORTANT TRAVEL INFO.

Carnival always leads to major changes to the local tube and bus services. We definitely advise planning your journey to and from Carnival before you set off. 

TUBE

Some stations around the carnival site will be exit-only or close early on Sunday and Monday. Stations may shut temporarily to prevent overcrowding. Be patient and consider strolling to a station a bit further away as part of your journey home. Here's info on some key stations:

Ladbroke Grove
Station closed on Sunday and Bank Holiday Monday.

Latimer Road
On Sunday and Bank Holiday Monday the station will close at 11.30pm.

Notting Hill Gate
On Sunday and Bank Holiday Monday the station will be exit only between 11am and 7pm. Between 11am and 7pm Circle and District line trains will not stop at this station on Sunday or anytime on Bank Holiday Monday.

Westbourne Park
Exit only between 11am and 6pm on both days. The station will close at 11.30pm on both days.

Holland Park
Exit only from 7pm on both Sunday and Monday.

Royal Oak
Exit only between 11am and 6pm on both days. The station closes at 6pm on both days.

Bayswater
On Bank Holiday Monday between noon and 7pm, it may be advisable to use this station as Circle and District line trains will not stop at Notting Hill Gate.

Paddington (Hammersmith and City and Circle lines)
On Sunday and Bank Holiday Monday, it may be advisable to use this station instead of Notting Hill Gate/Royal Oak as both these stations will have entry restrictions.O
Other nearby stations that aren't affected
High Street Kensington (Circle and District lines), Queen’s Park (Bakerloo line) and Shepherd’s Bush (Central line).

OVERGROUND

Queen’s Park, Kensal Rise, Kensal Green and Shepherd’s Bush stations will be running a normal timetable as will the majority of the London Overground network on Sunday. A Saturday timetable will run on Bank Holiday Monday.

BUS

While extra services will be in operation on routes 2, 36, 205, 436, 2X, 36X, 205X and 436X, no buses will enter the Carnival area from first thing Sunday morning until the first service on Tuesday morning.

Night buses in the area will also be subject to diversions. On both Sunday and Monday, bus services begin from Notting Hill Gate in the south and from the Prince of Wales on Harrow Road (close to Elgin Avenue) in the north. Bus stops within or adjacent to the area will carry displays about diversions or disruptions. 

CYCLE HIRE

Some local docking stations will be suspended or removed for Carnival, so don’t count on there being space to dock your bike.

Photo:kids at Carnival

3. HELPFUL TIPS AND SAFETY ADVICE.

Should I take my children?
Of course, Carnival is most kid-friendly on Sunday, known as ‘Family Day’. 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.

Is it dangerous?
Don’t be put off by the scare stories. Carnival is well policed and the crime rate is generally very low. As long as you take basic precautions – leave valuables at home; don’t flash phones, cameras or expensive gadgets around; stay with friends – then the whole thing will be a blast.

Doesn’t it get really crowded?
With up to 2 million attendees (that’s the equivalent of 11 Glasto festivals FYI), things are bound to get a little crowded. If you’re feeling claustrophobic there are safe zones to give you a breather from the main action (marked in yellow on our map).

How much money should I bring?
Enough for the whole day. Local cash machines tend to run out of dosh very quickly.

Will I be able to get phone signal?
Probably not. It’s a large festival and that means spotty phone coverage. So make sure to agree on a meeting point with your friends.

What should I wear to Carnival?
Something fabulous and something waterproof. Wear comfy shoes (that you don't mind getting dirty) and give flip-flops and open-toed footwear a miss, unless you want your feet to get crushed by the galumphing masses. Set off with more than a muscle tee if you’re out for the duration.

And finally, watch our video of last year's parade to get you in the party mood...

More Notting Hill Carnival

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Ms Dynamite, The Heatwave's Gabriel, Gaz Mayall (Gaz's Rockin' Blues) and more share their advice for having a ball over the August bank holiday.

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By: Time Out London Music
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Warm-up and after parties

Carnival's exotic outfits, banging music and strong Caribbean liquor are a perfect party combination. Here are the hottest pre-and post-Carnival parties this August bank holiday 

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Comments

10 comments
Zoe F tastemaker

I love the lively atmosphere of Carnival - the day drinking, the Caribbean food on offer, the variety of music, carefree dancing and outrageous outfits on offer. We were very lucky with the weather this bank holiday Monday, it felt like being on holiday, though the only downside meant that being on public transport or in amongst the crowds was not that pleasant!!

FloA tastemaker

I have been to Notting Hill carnival three times now and it has always been a great day of colorful celebrations and dancing.


Few things to know though... 


1) the best day is the "family day" (sunday)


2) it is going to be busy (First of all, this is London, and who wants to go to a non busy carnival?!)


3) if you want to catch a bit of the parade, it is worth going early


4) get some cash for the day (if you don't want to queue up for hours), don't forget your ID, but apart from that, travel light!


5) Stay away from trouble, get your dance moves + Red Stripes ready and ENJOY ;)

De B

Well I suppose the only solution is to move out and shut up shop. Because there have been so many reports of revellers herding into the homes of respectable Portobellians and murdering them. Let's be honest. People are just out to have a good time and you are occupying the flea ridden title of 'party-pooper'. London is better without monotonous personalities taking a two day event to the apocalyptic 'n'th degree. This year maybe try to join in with the festivities instead of sitting up in your whitewashed bedsit complaining about them. 

arron

i live in portabella and its great to have some music festival however this is based on a very old celebration surely which the youngster may not be aware off. I am not sure it makes sence to blast different music at the same time? first of all it sounds like a mess and you loose the interest. secondly the beauty of listening to music or even appreciating it is impossible. Can anyone see the sense of the smell of nasty food being fried and smoke and people walking around like they are following a farmer. Im sorry but does not seem very organised and why cant they be held in a park why the streets of london?

Michael c

@arron what gets me is that a lot of people move into nottinghill gate as some gentrified trend setting place after the movie with huge grant demanding change.Iam sure the nottinghill carnival was there before you arron and iam sure it will be there after  our lives leave this earth.if not Iam sure you could move to south of the river if you hate or dislike it that much.

Rachel

I wasn't sure what to expect, when asking friends if they had been so many bad reviews, however still decided to go for it. I chose the Monday as didn't fancy being surrounded by children on the Sunday being as it is family day but in some ways think that would have been the better option. It was exceedingly busy as expected but almost got crushed in a mass of people contained on one side of the road whilst the pavement on the other side was empty, however the police wouldn't let anyone cross, even though they were concerned about the safety aspect. I am not sure I would go again.

gee

saska, im sure when you moved in the area u know of the flipping carnival don't be a party poopa!! stay off the drugs!!!!!

W11tiredout

After another day for my thirty seventh Carnival in a row, yet again avoiding pretending to have standing sex with a drunken stranger - sorry I mean dancing - I have just realised the reason I find carnival so boring. The loud yelling thunderous voices blasting through my flat from sound systems from all directions, are 100% male. Women's role in Carnival is to allow men to mime humping them from behind, while they stick out their bottoms and try to stay upright on the high heels they've walked ten miles in. Carnival nowadays is like being shouted at really loudly by mad sexist men who have all their friends along playing backing music. Loved the steel pans and months of build-up that was Mas in the Old Days. Now it's a horrible racket with no purpose. As if all the problem neighbours in the world have congregated to play crap music around my home.

Saska

I live along the route and I am fearful of the crowds in the evenings and the weird frenzy that I don't understand on Monday. Sad to be afraid of a carnival, but oh well. It would be nice if the council would offer hotel vouchers for the carnival so us "locals" don't interefere with someone's flipping Carnival. I just don't have the cash to get out of town, but would if I could. I'll just try to enjoy what I can if I'm STUCK here. Hope I don't get murdered?!?! Don't get me wrong, I hope everyone enjoys that can enjoy, but I'm somehow "not allowed".