It can’t have escaped the notice of many of you that this weekend is a Bank Holiday weekend in the UK. A three day weekend. Three days! THREE WHOLE DAYS! Hurrah!
Of course, this August Bank Holiday weekend – the last public holiday we get until Christmas (ssh! Let’s gloss over that before we get too gloomy!) – also means something else to us West Londoners, something rather important. The Notting Hill Carnival is here again! And with a lively summer so far, and great weather forecast for the rest of the week, this year’s is surely to be one of the funnest Carnivals yet!
As ever, the children’s parade is on the Sunday, and the main parade on Monday (both kick off at 9am on each day). There’s thirty-eight sound systems thrown into the mix, and the regular food and drink stalls dotted around – for all your jerk chicken and Red Strip needs – so there’s practically everything you could want, Caribbean style, to have a good time. (If you’d like to read more about the Carnival, in particular its history, see our permanent page on the Notting Hill Carnival.)
Here is a great map (courtesy of Visit Britain Shop) which shows the parade route and the sound system locations:
View Notting Hill Carnival Guide in a larger map
There’s of course an amazing array of accompanying events and afterparties in many of Notting Hill’s pubs, bars and clubs – the Evening Standard has a great guide to the Notting Hill Carnival parties. It’s these events that really keep the party going, long after the parade has packed up and gone home, so you’ll really be able to party away to your heart’s content for the whole weekend.
The main thing to point out, of course, is that the Carnival area does get very busy indeed. With around one million people expected to attend, things can get a little hectic and crammed when you’re walking down particular streets. It’s nothing to worry about too much, but do expect a lot of people of Notting Hill’s streets this weekend!
Many of the Underground stations in Notting Hill will have special restrictions in place (some will be exit only; others won’t see certain lines stopping between some hours). Transport for London have their own guide to the Carnival which features assorted travel information for the weekend. You’ll of course spend your entire time in the Carnival area walking around on foot (no buses will operate within the Carnival zone), but because transport to the area will be busy, it is worth getting off a stop early (for example, at Holland Park, Bayswater, Queensway or Latimer Road) and then walking to the Carnival as well.
We hope you enjoy the 2013 Notting Hill Carnival!