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!

2013 Notting Hill Carnival Information

There’s little over a week until the 2013 Notting Hill Carnival (how has it come around so soon?!) and there’s of course plenty of exciting Carnival-related events being lined up in addition to the main event. One of these is the next instalment of Oxjam Notting Hill’s live music events, following on from their launch party in late June – and in the run up to their big finale on 19th October. (You can read more about Oxjam Notting Hill – and the main aims of Oxjam as a fundraising scheme – in our previous post at Oxjam Notting Hill launches this Saturday, 29th June!)

Oxjam Notting Hill

On Monday 26th August, Oxjam Notting Hill will be hosting a Notting Hill Carnival Afterparty at the newly revamped bar The Playhouse on Kensal Road. (Seeing as it’s located right by one of the main entry/exit points of the Carnival, you won’t have far to go to carry on with the party!)

A fantastic line up of DJs will be spinning a variety of tunes and sounds, serving up some Afro Beats, Soulful House, Tech House, Dubstep and more. The line up includes DJ Afro Grooves who plays the best of Funk, Latin, Jazz, Salsa and Afro Beats – catch him on Genesis Radio; TomMacTom – fresh from playing at the Secret Garden Party – with some tech-house flavours; southeast London DJ/producer Kleva Keys with his mix of deep and soulful house; and international DJ LDGBASS, who established the Dubstep floor at London’s longest running and biggest rock club night, Voodoo Rock.

Join Oxjam Notting Hill and this awesome line-up of DJs for a night of top music and Carnival-style partying, raising money and bring awareness to Oxjam and Oxfam!

Tickets cost £12 + booking fee (18 and over only) and can be bought online at

Oxjam Notting Hill Carnival Afterparty
7.30pm – 3am, Monday 26th August 2013
The Playhouse
337 Kensal Road
W10 5DA

In celebration of the wonderfully restored organ at St John’s Church in Notting Hill, a special concert will take place at the Church on Carnival weekend that will combine the sounds of the organ with steel pan music and The London Gypsy Orchestra!

Taking place on 24th August 2013, the concert will feature this unusual combination of sounds and music, and will also include a specially composed piece for the occasion. Entitled One Day in Grunistan, the piece has been composed by Gundula Gruen, the critically-acclaimed violinist and leader of the The London Gypsy Orchestra, and tells the story of one day in an invented country. This concert will fully encompasse one of the aims of the now-restored organ – its use in new musical territories.

The 18th-century organ (shown below) at St John’s Church has been restored with the help of some generous support by the Heritage Lottery Fund. The Fund is also supporting the other activities that are taking place as part of the celebrations for the restored organ, the St John’s Organ Project – these include a history exhibition; a film project documenting the organ’s restoration; workshops for local schools; lectures and further concerts in the future.

St John's Organ Project - Notting Hill Carnival concert

The grade II* listed instrument is not only surely one of the most impressive organs in the whole of London, but also holds important historical value – particularly its association with William Wilberforce and his mission to abolish slavery.

The London Gypsy Orchestra is made up of 45 enthusiastic musicians from an assortment of backgrounds and cultures, performing music that is typically found in Eastern Europe and the Balkans. One of the orchestra’s aims is to provide opportunities for communities in London to engage with Roma music and culture. You can see an example of their music in this video:

The concert at St John’s Church will be a fantastic opportunity to see this wonderfully historic church organ back in action, as well as providing a very unique way of celebrating the Notting Hill Carnival!

More details on the St John’s Organ Project and the restoration on the organ can be found on the website

Further details on the concert can be found at

St John’s Church
Lansdowne Crescent
Notting Hill
W11 2NN

Is is just me, or has the Notting Hill Carnival rolled around incredibly quickly again? Perhaps it’s all the other excitement in London this year over the Jubilee and the Olympics, but the August Bank Holiday (i.e. public holiday for the non-Brits) weekend – and therefore the Carnival – really seems to have snuck up on us this year!

Notting Hill Carnival

The two-day Notting Hill Carnival (28th and 29th August) will once again see a children’s day take place on the Sunday, whilst the Monday reigns supreme as…well, not children’s day! Once again, the main part of the Carnival on both days will involve the parade which will proceed on a route from the Westway on Great Western Road, down Chepstow Road, along part of Westbourne Grove and then up Ladbroke Grove towards the Grand Union Canal (with a shorter and more child-friendly parade on the Sunday).

This week’s copy of Time Out has a superb pocket-sized guide to Carnival (perfect for being on the go!), featuring an all-important Carnival map that shows the location of pubs & bars and sound-systems. There’s also a listing guide to the sound-systems, as well as another on the assorted Carnival-related events in Notting Hill and elsewhere in London that are taking place this weekend. If you can’t get your hands on a copy of the magazine, then take a look at their online guide!

View London also has a decent guide to the Carnival, including additional recommendations for pubs and bars to party in long after the colourful floats and costumes have been packed up and the sound-systems have been switched off.

It’s also a good idea (yes, sorry – here’s the “serious and boring” bit) to take a look at Transport for London’s page on the Notting Hill Carnival, especially the information on the area’s Underground station restrictions (some local stations will be closed or have limited entry/exit) and diversions to some bus routes.

RBKC’s Carnival page also details some important information (including several useful maps), as well as plenty of advice for local residents.

Get your Caribbean- style glad rags on, your whistle primed and get ready to party through the Bank Holiday weekend!