Indulge into Festive Revelry at Notting Hill Carnival while in London

Want to immerse your senses into authentic Caribbean flavour while you are staying in London this summer? Then, Notting Hill carnival is the apt platform for you. Considered as the biggest street festival in Europe, Notting Hill Carnival is a full-fledged Caribbean extravaganza that goes on for two days. This year, the festival will take place on 25th and 26th August. If you have plans of visiting London during that time, do make sure that you book yourself an accommodation at a hotel near Notting Hill as soon as possible. This festival attracts hordes of tourists each year. Therefore, it might be possible that you might not grab a room during the carnival.

Notting Hill Carnival - A Brief Overview

Started in 1966 by local Caribbean community in Notting Hill, this carnival is now one of the major carnivals of the world. Last year, around 1 million people attended the festival. Everything about Notting Hill Carnival evokes Calypso magic, be it food, music or revelry. Extravagantly dressed dancers, gigantic sound systems, Calypso and Soca musicians adding heavenly abandon to the atmosphere, this carnival is truly one of the most exciting annual events of London.

The main parade usually starts on the Great Western Road. Afterwards, it goes along the Chepstow Road and then progresses towards Westbourne Grove before ending up at Ladbroke Grove. The main procession usually closes down by 7 pm the same day. However, you can attend numerous after carnival parties that take place way beyond wee hours.

Notting Hill Carnival 2013

This year the festival will open on 25th August at around 9 am when the parade hits the roads of London. Day before the carnival (i.e. Saturday) will be designated for Steel band competitions. 25th August i.e. Sunday will be children’s’ day with the parade going on a shorter route. It is on the first day that prizes are awarded to kids donning extravagant costumes. Whereas on 26th August, the main parade will hit the streets with celebrations resonating all around the Notting Hill.


It is the soul of this festival. Traditional West Indian music dominates the scene as Calypso, Reggae, and Soca music fill the atmosphere with unprecedented festivity. In recent times, various genres like R&B, Funk, House and others have been incorporated to suit the music buds of travellers from different parts of the world. Apart from the static sound systems, live performances by various artistes like Wyclef Jean, Courtney Pine and Eddie Grant are added attractions of the festival.

In addition to the static sound systems and live performances, Steel Bands’ performances and Samba dancers spice up the Caribbean flavour at the festival.


As with the music, food also reflects the Caribbean touch at this festival.  West Indian specialities like Jerk Chicken, rice and peas, curried goat, rum punch and other delicious cuisines are the prime cuisines of the festival. In fact, food stalls are set up at various locations during the Carnival with delicacies like patties, curries, friend plantain and jerk chicken served on the platter.

Using Public Transport: Some Guidelines:

  • There will be additional buses in operation for the carnival. However, buses will not enter the carnival area from the first bus on Sunday morning until Tuesday morning.
  • If you are planning to use public transport, brace yourself for some delays.
  • Services of some of the night route buses will be affected during carnival period.
  • Tube stations too will have certain changes in terms of routes and services. For more information, visit

Notting hill Carnival is the biggest street extravaganza in UK. Visit London this August and be a part of this Caribbean party.
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