It’s been a pretty rainy week so far here in West London…but I have no doubt that the sun will start shining come Sunday, just in time for the 2015 Notting Hill Carnival – right?

As the final week of August rolls around once again, it’s time to start preparing for the Notting Hill Carnival which takes this weekend! As ever, the Sunday (30th August) will be Children’s Day whilst the Main Parade will take place on the Monday (31st August). Of course, eager revellers will descend on the area on both days!

Notting Hill Carnival 2013
On Westbourne Grove

Events on each day will start around 10am, with parades finishing by about 7pm and sound systems stopping their music at 8.30pm. However, there’ll be plenty of after-parties in the area’s many bars, pubs and clubs so you’ll have no problem continuing the party until the early hours.

This year, there will be 38 sound systems pumping out the tunes in the Carnival zone, and of course plenty of the usual stalls selling tasty treats (jerk chicken – of course!) and refreshing drinks.

There’s even an official app to accompany the Carnival this year! By and large, its most useful feature is the map which will help you locate particular sound systems, as well as showing your nearby food and drink stalls (although these are everywhere) and toilets (less everywhere, but certainly no less essential!).

Do remember that the Carnival area will be very busy, as always (an estimated 700,000 people attend over the two days, each year) so take care and be aware that certain points in the Carnival zone can get very crowded indeed. Do also plan your route into (and out of) the zone as most of the Underground stations in and around Notting Hill will either be completely shut, or operating special entry/exit/interchange rules. The Transport for London guide to the Carnival is the best place to check for closures, and is also useful to help you plan alternative routes.

Rain or shine, this year’s Carnival will once again establish a proper party atmosphere to the streets of W10 and W11 – with plenty of elaborate, colourful costumes; exciting parades; top music; excellent parties; a festival mood and much more!

Useful links for the 2015 Notting Hill Carnival

  • Time Out have – as ever – an excellent guide to the Carnival, with plenty of info about the Carnival itself and a full listing of warm-up and after parties. They also look at the history of the Carnival, and there’s even useful tips on what to wear! It’s also worth picking up a copy of the free Time Out magazine (distributed on Tuesdays) if you can.
  • RBKC Council also have a useful guide to the Carnival for local residents (PDF), which details things like road closures, parking restrictions and what happens for the post-Carnival clean-up
  • The Notting Hill Carnival website provides information from the Carnival Enterprises Trust
  • It’s Notting Hill Carnival Time Again Okay, this is our post from last year – but there’s some useful Carnival-going tips on there that are worth a peruse!

2015 Notting Hill Carnival
Sunday 30th & Monday 31st August 2015

Following their February half-term workshop, the Notting Hill-based Creative Arts Club will be running another special event this month for May half-term.

This time round, half-term week will be dedicated to surrealism – a world of magic and mystery. With a little help from Dada and Dali, the Creative Arts Club will help budding young artists hop down the rabbit hole to escape into the unknown and the unknowable.

There will be no limit to the exploration of the imagination taking place during the workshop. For example, children will be asked to bring in photos of themselves that will be used to piece together with cutouts, creating wild and wacky photomontages that are also juxtaposed with surrealist objects. Likewise, as the Surrealists were obsessed with dreams, children will be asked to write and illustrate dream diaries at the start of each day.

Creative Arts Club May 2015 Half Term

This half-term workshop is aimed at kids from 4 to 7 years old, and costs £225 for the full week or £45 per day (all materials included). Morning sessions have already been fully booked up, but there are still spaces available for the afternoon sessions (1pm to 4pm each day). Drop off and pick up is in Notting Hill each day.

For more details of the workshop, or to book, please see www.thecreativeartsclub.com/holiday-workshops. You can also contact The Creative Arts Club by emailing info@thecreativeartsclub.com or calling 020 7205 2621.

The Creative Arts Club will also be running plenty of week-long workshops during the summer holidays, so do also check out details of these on their website!

The Creative Arts Club Half Term Surrealism Week
Monday 25th – Friday 29th May 2015

Now in its 13th year, the annual Notting Hill Mayfest returns to the streets and venues of the area next month, offering a full line-up of exciting events with something for everyone! What started as a small community festival centred around the popular May Fair is now a month-long, multidisciplinary arts festival – with music recitals, film screenings, children’s events, a tea dance, area tours, lunchtime concerts, talks and much more.

2015 Notting Hill Mayfest

One of the best known events of the Mayfest, as mentioned, is the May Fair which will take place at St John’s Notting Hill on Saturday 9th May, 1pm to 5pm. One of Notting Hill’s best loved events, which has taken place annually for over 25 years, the Fair is well known for its traditional village games and stalls, music, Maypole dancing, a fancy dress competition and dog show. A true family event with something for all ages – including a vintage coconut shy, face painting and even a bouncy castle!

On Wednesday 6th May, Dr William Taylor – Vicar of St John’s Notting Hill – will give a big screen presentation of his recent three-month journey along the Silk Road, during which time he travelled light and stayed with monks and hermits. The evening will include music, dance, food and drink inspired by Silk Road. This will also be the launch event for THE SPACE at St John’s, which will showcase the new community, arts and business facilities within the church. More details on THE SPACE and its use can be found at www.stjohnsnottinghill.com/thespace/.

On Friday 15th May, the silent classic Steamboat Bill Jr (1928), starring Buster Keaton, will be projected onto the big screen at St John’s Notting Hill with music accompaniment by the church’s recently restored organ. This follows a screening of the classic film Wings (1927) last year in what was a sell-out show.

Other highlights of the Mayfest include Love Your Local Market tours of Golborne and Portobello Markets (selected dates); the Bach to Baby classical concert for adults, babies and tots (19th May); the Flores de Mayo/Santacruzan Parade, a traditional festival of the Philippines (30th May); and a Tea Dance that will feature a number of different ballroom dancing styles (23rd May). The Mayfest will also see another opportunity to climb the tower at St John’s Notting Hill (16th May) for panoramic views across the area.

There’s of course plenty more happening during Mayfest as well, and many events are free to enter (or very affordable indeed!). The Notting Hill Mayfest also showcases some of the best known venues in the area, including St John’s Notting Hill, St Peter’s Notting Hill, St George’s Campden Hill, The Gate Theatre, and The 20th Century Theatre, and it’s a lovely chance to experience a variety of cultural events at these locations.

For a full line-up of all the events taking place during Mayfest (and to book tickets, where appropriate), please see www.nottinghillmayfest.org.uk.

2015 Notting Hill Mayfest
1st – 30th May 2015
various venues

The Creative Arts Club will be running an Animals and Nature Week Workshop for February half term, calling on youngsters to join them on a creative wildlife expedition!

They’ll be diving into the natural world at The Royal Geographical Society, where children will gather images and facts to work with during the week. Exploring the natural world through a creative lens, children will learn about different artists and techniques using collage, print, drawing, found objects and photos, and then creating their own masterpieces.

Creative Arts Club

At the end of the week, each child will bring home their own body of work which will include experimental prints, paintings and drawings, as well as a handmade tote bag and a collectors collage in a 3D box frame.

Half term workshops

The workshop is aimed at children aged 5 to 7 years old, and is run from 9am to 12pm each day with drop off and pick up in Notting Hill.

The workshop costs £225 for the week – £45 per day – and includes all materials.

To book, please email info@thecreativeartsclub.com or call 020 7205 2621.

Take a look at the Creative Arts Club’s holiday workshops page – www.thecreativeartsclub.com/holiday-workshops – for more details on this workshop and others that they’re running for the Easter Holidays and summer half term.

The Creative Arts Club, who are based in Notting Hill, also run a variety of themed parties, events and workshops that encourage creativity in children and help bring out their artistic creativity. They believe that there are lifetime benefits in developing the imagination and creative talents of children, who thrive when they are doing activities they enjoy and, as they discover their own potential, become increasingly passionate and motivated.

Animals and Nature Week Workshop
9am to 12pm every day, Monday 16th – Friday 20th February 2015