Notting Hill Carnival takes place in London, this August bank holiday weekend, on Sunday 25 August and Monday 26 August.
A colourful, vibrant celebration of all things multicultural and especially London’s African-Caribbean communities. The streets of the West London neighbourhoods of Notting Hill, Ladbroke Grove and Westbourne Park will be filled with 38 booming sound systems playing dub, Afrobeat, reggae, Latin beats, funk, drum ‘n’ bass and disco.
The main parades are free, and carnival attendees with kids should head there on the first day, known as ‘Children’s Day’ as things tend to get rowdier on Monday.
Sunday morning opens with Jouvert ( “opening of the day” from the French Jour ouvert), a traditional procession before sunrise (6am-9am), where participants cover themselves in mud or paint. The procession begins and ends at Canal Way, Ladbroke Grove W14 next to Sainsbury’s car park.
Sixty bands will perform in Monday’s Grand Finale and there will be a world music stage at Powis Square. Although the parades wrap by 7pm each day there are plenty of official (and unofficial) parties to keep the carnival spirit going through the night. And of course carnival wouldn’t be complete without Afro-Caribbean drinks and eats as well as beats. Some local stations may be shut, so check travel info well in advance to avoid disruption.
Main stations for Notting Hill Carnival
Notting Hill Gate: Exit only, 11am-7pm both Sunday and Monday. District and Circle line trains will not be stopping at the station.
Ladbroke Grove: Closed all day Sunday and Monday.
Latimer Road: Closed after 11:30pm Sunday and Monday.
Royal Oak: Exit only after 11am Sunday and Monday, and closes at 6pm on both days.
Westbourne Park: Exit only from 11am-6pm Sunday and Monday, closing at 11:30pm both days.
Queen’s Park, Shepherd’s Bush, Holland Park, High Street Kensington, Bayswater and Paddington will be open—but may be busier than usual.
It’s also worth noting that if a station is too crowded, you might not be able to touch out on your Oyster card or contactless—but your fare should be auto-corrected after, you can claim a refund if not.