West London prepares to welcome over 50,000 parade performers next weekend as almost two million people descend on the technicolour roads of Notting Hill for London’s biggest street party.
Notting Hill Carnival is just a week away, returning for the second year after a two-year hiatus due to the pandemic.
The community-led celebration of history and Caribbean culture started in 1966 and the iconic parade champions a procession of dancing to soca and calypso music. Three days of live stages with a lineup of steel and mas bands, elaborate floats and dozens of sound systems greet carnival attendees sparkling in prints, patterns and neon brights.
Sunday’s family day draws crowds of excited children while Monday’s adult parade puts on the ultimate show – both events are free to attend.
Food stalls pepper the route with offerings of fiercely flavoured Jamaican jerk chicken and Trinidadian roti and pre and post-carnival parties keep the good vibes going well into the night.
Here’s our guide to the Notting Hill festivities including where to go, how to get there and where to stay.
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When is it?
Saturday 26 August
Saturday is the Panorama Steel band competition, a national contest to crown the best at making the sweet sound of the pan.
From 4-11pm at Emslie Horniman’s Pleasance Park, W10 3DH, tickets £20pp.
Sunday 27 August
J’Ouvert traditional celebrations start before sunrise to ring in the carnival with colourful paints and powders.
From 6-9am at Sainsbury’s Ladbroke Grove, W10 6HJ.
The carnival opening ceremony officially kicks off at 10am on Sunday at MAS Judging Point on Great Western Road.
Sunday is “family day” with a children’s parade, dancing the streets, Dutty Mas – a mayhem of brightly coloured paints or even melted ‘chocolate’ – and live sound systems of reggae and house music.
Sound systems from 12-7pm at Emslie Horniman’s Pleasance Park and Powis Square, W11 2AY.
Monday 28 August
Adults Day is on Bank Holiday Monday from 10.30am, when the traditional parade and intense carnival party kicks off.
Ticketed after-parties continue the festivities late into the night.