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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

© David Tett
Notting Hill Carnival

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

The parade begins at 9am on both Sunday and Monday, and judging finishes at 7pm; floats, trucks and parade bands have to clear the streets by 8.30pm. Soundsystems play on both Sunday and Monday, with a strict noise curfew at 7pm. The main parade starts on Great Western Road, winding its way along Chepstow Road, then on to Westbourne Grove, and then down Ladbroke Grove.

Everything you need to know about Notting Hill Carnival 2017

When is Notting Hill Carnival 2017?
Carnival traditionally takes place on the bank holiday weekend at the end of August.

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

What happens there?
Cool stuff! There’s live music from traditional Caribbean bands, DJs, colourful street parades, dancing, costumes, food and drink, afterparties and more.

What’s the music like?
A patchwork of Caribbean-influenced sounds: reggae, dub, dancehall, soca and calypso. Plus house, funk, drum ’n’ bass, jungle, dubstep, ska, breaks and more. All blasting from 38 dedicated soundsystems. Oh, and there are steel bands and live bands too.

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

Notting Hill Carnival Dancer by David Tett

Will the tube be running and what station do I go to? The nearest tube stations without disruptions are Holland Park, High Street Kensington, Queen's Park, Shepherd's Bush, Bayswater and Paddington, while Notting Hill Gate, Royal Oak and Westbourne Park usually have amended operating times.

How about the bus?
While extra services will be in operation, no buses will enter the Carnival area from first thing Sunday morning until the first service on Tuesday morning. 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. Night buses in the area will also be subject to diversions.

Can I ride my bike?
Some local docking stations will be suspended or removed for Carnival, so don’t rely on space to dock your Boris bike. 

notting hill carnival dancers

What happens on the 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 Ladbroke Grove can catch the Jouvert procession, a traditional Caribbean event where revellers throw colourful powder paint at each other to a steel band soundtrack. Between 9am and 7pm, there’s a colourful parade for children and eclectic sounds from the World Music Stage.

What happens on Monday?
Monday is the big one. The main parade (or Grand Finale) sees more than 60 bands, 38 soundsystems and countless dancers on floats parade very slowly around W10. Check our route map for more information. There’s also plenty of other music and partying happening in nearby streets, bars, pubs and clubs.

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.

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

Photo:kids at Carnival

Should I take my children?
Lots of people do take their children, but remember that it can be very hard work. Weigh it up first and if you are certain you want to take the kids, make sure you go prepared. Here’s a quick checklist:

1. Go on '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. Write your mobile number on your child’s arm, so they can contact you if you get separated.
8. Don’t buy them a vuvuzela unless you want a perforated ear drum!

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?
Yep. It can get very crowded, very quickly. But there’s space away from the main action if you're feeling claustrophobic. Plan your route with our Carnival google map and remember the earlier you arrive, the less crowded it will be.

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.

Photo: crowd at Notting Hill Carnival

What do 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. For Carnival outfits and insipration, check out our what to wear to Carnival style guide. 

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

We'll be updating this page with details for 2017 as soon as they're announced. 


More Notting Hill Carnival

Route map

Navigate your way through this year's Carnival with our map of the main parade, bars, toilets and tube stops.

Read more
By: Hayley Joyes

Meet the carnival experts

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

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 

Read more


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
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. 


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
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.


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.


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!!!!!


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.


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".