Since 1966, Notting Hill has been bringing people from all over to one of the world’s biggest street festivals. If you’ve been before, or heard anything about it, you’ll know that it’s an enormous party, but also that it’s just enormous. Making sure you’re in the right place at the right time, (not stuck behind traffic), requires a bit of planning, and you’ll definitely want to stay in the city for the weekend to make the most of it. So check out our London Ealing Travelodge, a short trip from where it all goes down, and follow this guide to get the most out of Notting Hill Carnival:
The Carnival officially takes place on Sunday 24th August, and Bank Holiday Monday, 25th August. But things are already getting geared up on the Saturday, so if you want to see it all, make it a long weekend in London.
The Carnival route follows the Great Western Road to Chepstow Road, and then along Westbourne Grove before heading back down Ladbroke Grove, but the event stretches over the whole area north of Ladbroke Gardens, up to the canal.
The official part of the carnival is the procession and the floats. If you’ve not been before, that’s what you need to make sure you’re in prime position to see. If you have been before, you’ll know that the actual procession is only part of all the festivities, and that there will be hundreds of food stalls, music stands, dance displays, and general merriment going on around the carnival.
How to get the most out of the Notting Hill Carnival? Sleep well the night before, have lots of energy, don’t fight the crowds (go with them), and try everything – strange food, unfamiliar music, foreign dancing. A good costume is a great way to really get into it all, too.
The festival will be full of street performers, musicians, dancers, people celebrating Caribbean culture, hippies, and plenty of party seekers. While this can be a great event for families, and is generally full of good cheer all round, there are always the odd opportunists, so be vigilant, especially with valuables.
The carnival started as a combination of two celebrations – a Caribbean festival and a hippie party. While you’ll still find both traditions giving the festival its flavour, the event is bigger and broader than it ever was. Which means the only “why” you need is that it’s guaranteed to be a brilliant time!