With an expected two million or so attendees, Notting Hill Carnival is Europe’s biggest street festival and a vivid spectacle representing London’s multicultural past and present. It’s also a vital date in any party lover’s diary. But, whatever you do, don’t go anywhere without reading our guide, which includes invaluable information, tips and travel details about Notting Hill Carnival 2017.
A free celebration of the capital’s Caribbean communities, their culture and traditions, which has been taking place since 1964, featuring two days of fantastic live music ranging from reggae to dub to salsa. The celebration includes 37 static soundsystems, soca floats, steel bands and a whole lot of jerk chicken and fried plantain. This year, Carnival is going ‘Green for Grenfell‘, celebrations will come to a halt for one minute’s silence at 3pm on both Sunday and Monday in memory of the 80 people who died in the blaze at Grenfell Tower in June.
Spread throughout W10 in west London, the celebrations take over the areas of Notting Hill, Ladbroke Grove and Westbourne Park. The main parade starts on Great Western Road, winding its way along Chepstow Road, then on to Westbourne Grove, and then down Ladbroke Grove.
Carnival traditionally takes place on the bank holiday weekend at the end of August. This year it’s on 27-28 August 2017. The parade begins at 9.30am on both Sunday and Monday, judging finishes at 6.30pm; there’s a 7pm sharp noise curfew which gives all the floats, trucks and parade bands time to clear the streets by 8.30pm.
Many tube and bus services in the area are subject to disruption over Carnival, so consult our guide to travel here to make your arrival and departure as easy as possible.
Of course, with some preparation, lots of people take their kids, particularly on ‘Family Day’ which is traditionally quieter than the Monday. Arrive early to beat the crowds. Bring travel potties, snacks and water because queues and kids aren’t the most compatible combo. Top tip: Write your mobile number on your child’s arm, so they can contact you if you get separated.
1. Go on ‘Family Day’. It’s still busy (and noisy) but it’s much more kid-friendly than the main parade on Monday.
2. Arrive early. You’ll beat the crowds and can get a good, comfortable spot.
3. Bring ear defenders for the little ’uns.
4. Plan your travel route beforehand and check which tube stations are closed – see above for travel info.
5. Bring travel potties for very young children, as portable toilets at Carnival will have long queues.
6. Bring some easily transportable food and water for them in case you can’t buy anything suitable.
7. Don’t buy them a vuvuzela unless you want a perforated ear drum!