The main part of this year’s Notting Hill Carnival takes place over the bank holiday weekend from Sunday the 27th to Monday the 28th of August. Sunday is billed as being the family and children’s day, with Monday being the adult’s day. On those days, the carnival is free to attend though there is a further steel band competition day on Saturday the 26th of August for which tickets have to be purchased.
Every year, around 1.5 million people enjoy the parade and associated entertainment. This year’s celebration includes the usual array of live acts, parades, and sound systems (a group of DJs and MCs) playing some fantastic reggae and Jamaican music. Calypso also features prominently and acts perform at The Tabernacle, a venue originally built as a church. Also, check out the Brazilian bands, which have been a fixture of the carnival since 1984.
It’s not all just music and dancing though. There will be around 300 stalls serving all sorts of Caribbean food from Jamaican Jerk Chicken to Trinidadian ‘Roti. Don’t worry if you’re vegetation though; there are going to be plenty of non-meat options for you to savor instead.
The Notting Hill Carnival began in 1966 though it would take a few years before it morphed into the celebration of Caribbean culture that it is today. Initially, it started off as an event to promote inclusiveness and diversity in the local community. Within 10 years, after an infusion of Caribbean culture, it had become the carnival parade and musical event that we see today.
The Carnival has been held most years from its inception. Sadly, the carnival, like many other events at the time, fell victim to Covid, which prevented the 2020 and 2021 celebrations from going ahead. However, in 2022 it made its triumphant return and 2023 looks sure to be another fantastic year.
Where is it and how do I get there?
The carnival is sprawled across the W10 and W11 postcodes and covers Notting Hill, Ladbroke Grove, Westbourne Gardens, Westbourne Park, and Kensal Road.
It’s best to travel there by public transport with the tube being the easiest way to go. Notting Hill Gate, Bayswater, Paddington, Shepherd’s Bush, and Queens Park are all located in the vicinity. It’s best to check before you set off on your journey though as, throughout the weekend, some stations are exit only. Take a look at TFL’s website, or apps like Google Maps or CityMapper for more details.
However you get there and whatever you’re there to see, you’re sure to have a brilliant time at the Notting Hill Carnival. It’s a great way to celebrate the last UK holiday of the year before Christmas and you’re sure to make memories there that will last a lifetime.