Visitors Guide to Notting Hill Carnival: Everything you need to know




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Visitors Guide to Notting Hill Carnival: Everything you need to know




July 22, 2019

Ready for fun, music and glamour? Then Notting Hill Carnival is the place to go this summer. 

Taking place over summer bank holiday 25/26 August, this is Europe’s biggest street festival, attracting not just thousands of spectators but thousands of performers too! 

Book a stay at hotel South Kensington and head to the carnival where you can party and dance the whole day through.  Everywhere you go, there are pop up parties centred around the countless sound systems set up on almost every corner.  Anyone can join in.  All you have to do is find the music you want to dance to.  Stroll around the streets and seek out your chosen music from reggae to calypso, soca to house music.  It is a great way to discover new sounds and new styles. 

Dress casual or dress up with lots of sequins, glitter and feathers, whatever your choice you will not look out of place for this is one of the greatest, most vibrant and lively festivals in the world.

Carnival has been a feature of August life in Notting Hill since the early 1960’s when it arrived as an offshoot of the Trinidad carnival in the West Indies. Since then it has steadily grown and expanded into neighbouring areas like Westbourne Park and Ladbroke Grove. Now there are over 50,000 performers taking part every year, and the event gets ever more colourful, exuberant and spectacular.

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The highlight of the Carnival is the parades that snake their way through the streets.  The performers have been practising their dance routines and making costumes for months, and you can expect lots of dancing, steel bands, marching bands and more.  There are several parades taking place each day, including a special children’s parade. Everyone wants to impress the judges, and the performance standards are very high.

Search out the various local street vendors when you are hungry or you can also get a portion of delicious food at Kensington hotel restaurant. On offer are lots of authentic Caribbean specialities such as jerk chicken.  There is plenty of choice and the amount of food sold over the weekend is staggering – over 16,000 coconuts, 10,000 litres of Jamaican stout plus a ton of rice and peas! 

Be warned – go early and walk or use public transport.  All the roads in the area are closed to traffic. So popular is the event that underground stations can often be closed temporarily to allow passengers to reduce congestion.

Above all, be prepared to party until late at night.  The music never stops at Carnival!