Notting Hill Carnival is having its 50th anniversary this Bank Holiday weekend, which means one thing- it'll be bigger then ever! Carnival is a lot of fun, a celebration of London's diverse cultures and a time where we all come together. However, with 2 million people attending every year, it pays off to be in the know and organised.
1. When is it on?
Carnival starts on Sunday the 28th of August (known as 'children's day') and continues into Monday the 29th of August.
2. Where is it?
If you can't tell by the name, Notting Hill. It spreads through W10 from Notting Hill, Ladbroke Grove and Westbourne Park.
Transport to Carnival is tricky, so pay close attention. Notting Hill Gate is exit only from 11am-7pm, so arriving isn't difficult but getting home can be. Royal Oak is exist only from 11am-6pm, and closed after 6pm on Monday. Westbourne Park is exit only from 11am-6pm. Bayswater and Paddington operate normally, but are a little further away. Other stations nearby at High Street Kensington, Holland Park, Queen's Park, Kensal Rise, Kensal Park and Shepherd's Bush.
There are no buses entering the Carnival area from Sunday until Tuesday morning, but the operate from Prince of Wales on Harrow Road and beyond.
4. Which day should I go to?
Sunday starts off a little more relaxed, with the Jouvert procession happening early from 6am until 9am. If you have children this is the best day to go to, but don't be fooled, the carnival still gets very rowdy so if that isn't suitable for you then leave in the early evening.
Monday is the main day, with the main parade moving slowly around the area. This is the full-on party day, so be prepared for a little chaos but a lot of fun!
As to be expected with such a massive horde of people, crime happens. So try not to carry a load of cash on you, or atlas keep it safe. That being said, the cash machines run out very quickly, so be prepared so you're not stranded. Or worse, sober.
Carnival food is incredible, with a plethora of Caribbean stools. There are veggie options around, so don't worry if you're not a meat eater.
7. Is it dangerous?
Every year there are stories of crime, but really it isn't that dangerous. With 2 million people there will be some crime, but the police patrol the area very well and the crime rate is generally very low. Just be street wise, don't take valuables, keep your phone/money/cameras in a bag that isn't accessible and stay with friends. This is the biggest tip, don't lose the people you came with- as you probably won't find them again. The signal is bad, and there are so many people that it's a nightmare if you split up from the group. To be safe, arrange a designated meeting point with your friends!
8. Is it super crowded?
Yup, it's extremely crowded. And rowdy. And fun. If you get anxious or claustrophobic, there are areas that are less busy- or arrive earlier when it's less crowded.
9. What do I wear?
Something bright and fun. We've got you covered for this, scroll down and shop our ultimate carnival edit...
10. Pre and after parties
There are loads, like Boombox Carnival special at The Horse and groom on Saturday, Faded at Coronet on Monday , the Shoreditch Carnival after party at Canvas on Sunday. If there's one thing you won't need to worry about, it's partying.
Photo Credit: Pinterest, David Tett.
Video Credit: MOOFBulleh
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