Notting Hill Carnival is one of the most talked about events in the London social calendar. This annual street event has been taking place in the capital since 1966, filling the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea with bright colours, eccentric costumes, plumes of feathers, and plenty of loud music and happy faces.
Ever since its beginning, it has taken place every August over two days – typically over the bank holiday weekend. For 2017 it will be taking place from 27th to 28th August throughout the W10 postcode, covering Notting Hill, Westbourne Park and Ladbroke Grove. The aim of the carnival is to celebrate the Caribbean community, culture and tradition that exists within London – from club and reggae to salsa and steel bands, the streets come alive.
So what shouldn’t you miss while attending the Notting Hill Carnival this year?
1.First of all, don’t miss the start of the carnival floats. They set off with the bands first thing (6am to 9am) on both the Sunday and Monday, so make sure you allow yourself plenty of time to get there early.
2. There are so many different types of food to try. From jerk chicken to fried plantain, make sure you don’t eat too much beforehand so you can take advantage of what is on offer. Be adventurous and open-minded! Not your style? see other London must-try food here.
3. Sunday is the ‘Children’s Day’, so is the best day to attend if you have a family. The crowds will be smaller and the floats are particularly kid-friendly. It will be a great way to introduce them to the fun of the carnival, but without the stress of when it gets particularly busy.
4. Head to the London Calypso Tent to see an array of fantastic performances from a range of UK Calypsonians and visiting international artists. Their performances cover political commentary, humour, poetry and story-telling.
5. On the “World Music Stage” at Powis Square you’ll get to see a wide range of vocals and emerging artists of all genres singing and performing.
6. There will be family workshops taking place at Emslie Horniman’s Pleasance where you will be able to try a whole range of Caribbean drinks, food and culture with your little ones.
7. In Emslie Horniman Pleasance Park there will be an entertaining and exciting open-air evening suitable for the whole family on 26th August, starting at 6pm till 10pm, with a range of national steel bands and other entertainment.
8. Don’t miss the grand finale parade on the Monday – it’s a magnificent combination of all the festivities, with over 60 bands performing.
9. There are 38 sound systems located around the carnival. Keep an eye out for as many as you can to sample all the different types of music and performances available.
10. There will be plenty of additional activities taking place around the carnival. Allow some time for mooching around and enjoying what’s on offer.
Travelling to Notting Hill Carnival
It always gets exceptionally busy, and public transport can become unbearable with constant disruptions and delays. You are also vulnerable to pick-pockets, who will be rife during busy times. Thus, many people like to get a chauffeur driver to take them to the outskirts, in which they can then walk towards the parade route. This means they can travel there in relative comfort with a chauffeur car and enjoy all the fun along the way.
Alternatively, You can get dropped off closer to the heart of the action, depending on road closures and restrictions. You should ensure you have your luxury chauffeur booked ahead of time, especially as there will be heavy traffic on the day. It is always best to ensure you have pre-arranged your chauffeur in London – it will guarantee you comfort, style, safety and the option to arrive on time so you don’t miss out on anything.