Head for Notting Hill this August Bank Holiday and enjoy one of the biggest free carnival shows in the country. It is not only big, but colourful, lively and full of music.
Notting Hill Carnival has become a feature in the London social calendar. Thousands of people descend on the Notting Hill area to enjoy the music, the dance, the performers in their incredible costumes dancing through the streets for hours on end. So many people arrive to watch the carnival that tube stations are often closed for a while to allow the crowds to disperse, and there is no parking available in any of the roads nearby. Virtually everyone attending the Carnival arrives by public transport or walks to Notting Hill.
Allow plenty of time to reach Notting Hill from Edward Hotel Paddington, especially on Bank Holiday Monday which is the busiest day since this is when the biggest carnival procession takes place. Expect around 60 steel bands to take part, together with over 50,000 dancers and performers. For sheer colour, verve and atmosphere, the Notting Hill Carnival should not be missed. This is London Mardi Gras style!
Everywhere you look in the streets surrounding the main carnival parade route, there are impromptu parties, music systems playing and dancing in the streets. Countless street food vendors provide snacks and drinks. Visitors to the Carnival are welcome to take part in the impromptu street dancing. Many visitors dress up in colourful fancy dress costumes for the occasion. Notting Hill Carnival is an explosion of dance, calypso and reggae music.
Finding your way to the carnival parade route from Edward Hotel London is quite easy – just follow the music and look for the signs. By far the best places to see the process are around the Judges Platform in Powis Square for this is where all the performers do their most elaborate acts for the judges in hope of winning one of the highly coveted awards. Every performer is determined to make an impact not just on the judges but on the watching crowds. It does get very busy in this area, so if you plan to see this part of the carnival it is best to arrive early and be prepared to wait.
A smaller, and slightly quieter Children’s carnival procession takes place on the Sunday and this can be great fun to watch. It always creates a really lovely atmosphere which can be enjoyed by everyone.