NOTTING Hill Carnival is one of the biggest dates in the British cultural calendar – and Europe’s largest street festival.
Here’s what you need to know about when and where the annual event is taking place this year…
When is Notting Hill Carnival 2017?
Notting Hill Carnival always takes place on the August Bank Holiday weekend, which this year is on August 27-28 – which also means it will take place THIS WEEKEND.
Sunday is the “family day” with entertainment running from 9am to 8.30pm – while Monday is the busier of the two and runs on the same hours.
Saturday will see the Panorama event take place, which is a free, open-air party from 6pm to 10pm featuring performances by national steel bands and other entertainment.
There is a parade with dancing, colourful costumes, music and Carnival floats on both days and over a million people attended the weekend in 2015.
Performers dance through the streets as carnival-goers enjoy traditional Caribbean food and drink while soaking up the atmosphere.
Red Bull Music Academy will also be holding a free Sound System party in Emslie Horniman’s Pleasance Park, from midday to 7pm.
Where is the Notting Hill Carnival held?
The colourful event is held in the west London streets of Notting Hill, Ladbroke Grove and Westbourne Park.
The Grand Finale parade sees more than 60 bands, 38 sound systems and countless dancers on floats travel through the streets.
There will also be lots of music, food and dancing in the surrounding streets.
How do I get to Notting Hill Carnival?
- Ladbroke Grove: closed on Sunday and Bank Holiday Monday
- Latimer Road: closed after 11.30pm on Sunday and Bank Holiday Monday
- Notting Hill Gate: on Sunday and Bank Holiday Monday, the station will be exit-only between 11am and 7pm and the Circle/District lines will not stop
- Westbourne Park: exit-only between 11am – 6pm and closed at 11.30pm on Sunday and Bank Holiday Monday
- Royal Oak: exit-only after 11am and closed at 6pm on Sunday and Bank Holiday Monday
- Bayswater: on Sunday and Bank Holiday Monday between 11am – 7pm, you may want to use this station as Notting Hill Gate will be exit only and Circle/District line trains will not stop there
- Paddington (Hammersmith and City and Circle lines): on Sunday and Bank Holiday Monday you may want to use this station instead of Notting Hill Gate or Royal Oak, as both these stations will have entry restrictions.
- Other nearby stations: High Street Kensington (Circle and District lines), Holland Park (Central line), Queen’s Park (Bakerloo line) and Shepherd’s Bush (Central line).
From around 5am on Sunday – 5am on Tuesday, buses around the event area will be on diversion or will terminate earlier than usual to avoid the road closures.
During these times, buses will start from the Prince of Wales on Harrow Road to the north of the carnival area. To the south of the carnival area, buses will start from Notting Hill Gate.
Affected bus routes include: 6, 7, 16, 18, 23, 27, 28, 31, 36, 46, 52, 70, 94, 98, 148,187, 220, 228, 274, 295, 316, 328, 332, 390, 414, 452, N7, N16, N18, N28, N31 N98 and N207.
- Extra buses will run on routes 2, 205, 436 which can be found on journey planner as 2X, 205X and 436X
- There will be extra day and night buses serving the Notting Hill Carnival, but buses in west London are expected to be busier than usual, so allow plenty of time for your journey
The nearest London Overground stations are Willesden Junction, Kensal Rise, Queen’s Park and Shepherd’s Bush. All good services will be in operation on all routes.
Will Notting Hill Carnival be moved because of the Grenfell tower fire?
Sadiq Khan was asked to consider moving Notting Hill Carnival from West London – following the Grenfell Tower fire.
Chelsea MP Greg Hands asked the Mayor of London to consider whether it would be “appropriate to stage a carnival in the near proximity of a major national disaster”.
However, Sadiq rejected the request and said it would be a “mistake” to move the event – which has been taking place since 1964.
Organisers have announced that a minute’s silence will be held during this year’s event at 3pm on Monday in memory of the victims of the Grenfell Tower fire.
What controversy has surrounded Notting Hill Carnival this year?
The Met Police have been conducting raids ahead of the annual event.
They have been met with a backlash from the public, as well as grime star Stormzy who accused authorities of targeting “black events”.
The force has made 290 arrests, seized 28 firearms and 190 knives ahead of Europe’s largest street party.
What is the history of Notting Hill Carnival?
The Notting Hill Carnival is the largest street party in Europe.
It began in 1964 as a way for Afro-Caribbean communities to celebrate their cultures and traditions.
The carnival’s roots lie in the Caribbean carnivals of the early 19th century.
Carnivals were a particularly strong tradition in Trinidad and celebrated the abolition of slavery and the slave trade.
Five facts about Notting Hill Carnival
- Notting Hill Carnival is the second biggest in the world – behind only Carnival in Rio de Janeiro.
- The Notting Hill Carnival is estimated to contribute about £93million to London’s economy – policing costs are estimated as £6million.
- There are about 15,000 costumes on display at the carnival each year.
- Every costume is made by hand. Making them all is more than one million hours of work.
- About 30 million sequins, 15,000 feather plumes and 30 litres of body paint are used each year.
Having been forbidden to hold festivals during periods of slavery Trinidadians dressed in costumes that mimicked European fashions.
The first carnival held in west London aimed to showcase the steel band musicians who played in Earl’s Court.
As the band paraded through the street the Afro-Caribbean communities came out on the streets to listen.
The carnival has become bigger and more extravagant with each passing year.