Every August bank holiday, Notting Hill turns into a familiar collage of fluorescent colour as the largest street festival in Europe proudly roams the roads.
Yes, it’s the Notting Hill Carnival.
From 9am to 7pm on both Sunday and Monday, hundreds of revellers will unleash their wild side and take to the neighbourhood's streets, masquerading bright costumes and eye-catching floats whilst parading and performing past the hoards of onlooking crowds.
True to the carnival’s roots (its Caribbean origin dating back to the 19th century as a celebration of abolition of slavery), the rhythmic sounds of the West Indies’ Soca and African’s Calypso and steel band traditionally fill the air, while more contemporary Reggae, R&B, Funk, House beats also play through static sound systems.
But the music and aesthetic displays aren’t the only partakers in this sensory festival. Swallowing down some jerk chicken or chicken wings with a cup of rum punch is a must and all part of experiencing the exotic delights of traditional Caribbean cuisine.
‘Children’s day’ is traditionally on Sunday, while ‘Adult’s Day’ takes place on Monday. Though there’s not much difference between the two (the children parading is shorter on Sunday and the after-parties longer on Monday), it is worth bearing this in mind if you’re planning to take your family.
Like for most events, getting the tube to the carnival is your best bet. Take the Central line or District and Circle line to Notting Hill Gate, but be aware that this is EXIT ONLY and many nearby stations are restricted. See here for to plan your journey to and from the carnival.
Please note that Transport for London have announced the following advice:
For safety reasons, some stations may close temporarily to prevent overcrowding. It may be worthwhile waiting until the station reopens instead of going to a different station.