Notting Hill Carnival: Five insider tips

Get ready for the biggest street festival in Europe as Notting Hill Carnival returns for another epic year of Caribbean culture, food, music and dance. Unleash your party spirit and watch as London bursts into colour during the August bank holiday parade.

Here’s everything you need to know to have a great carnival experience, including five top tips to help you plan ahead.

Book train tickets to London in advance and take the hassle out of travel on the day.

What is Notting Hill Carnival?

Did you know that the very first London Caribbean Carnival was held indoors at St Pancras Town Hall in January 1959? Notting Hill Carnival next launched onto the scene in 1966 as a traditional British fete. Since then, it has become one of the most iconic street festivals in Europe, with more than one million people set to attend over the course of the carnival weekend this year. Now, that’s a party!

When and where

Held on 25–26 August, Notting Hill Carnival will take over W10 in West London: primarily Notting Hill, Ladbroke Grove and Westbourne Park.

What to expect

The streets of Notting Hill will come alive with thumping music, incredible steel bands, vibrant outfits, spectacular parades and insane street food that’ll fill you up yet leave you hungry for more.

It’s totally free to attend, so with this in mind, prepare for huge crowds (we cannot stress the crowds enough – it will be busy). Sunday at the carnival is best known for being the ‘family day’; the main event being the children’s parade with lots of kid-inspired floats to get little ones excited; there will also be plenty of live music and Caribbean-inspired food.

For grown-ups, Monday is the main event, with all-day entertainment and the Notting Hill Grand Finale Parade to look forward to.


Many nearby stations will be closed or running restricted services due to congestion, here’s an overview of what’s what:

  • Ladbroke Grove – Station closed on Sunday and Bank Holiday Monday.
  • Latimer Road – On Sunday and Bank Holiday Monday the station will close at 11.30pm.
  • Notting Hill Gate – On Sunday and Bank Holiday Monday the station will be ‘exit only’ between 11am and 7pm.
  • Westbourne Park – On Sunday and Bank Holiday Monday the station will be ‘exit only’ between 11am and 6pm.
  • Royal Oak – On Sunday and Bank Holiday Monday the station will be ‘exit only’ between 11am and 6pm.
  • Bayswater – Open as usual.
  • Paddington – Open as usual.
  • Other nearby stations – High Street Kensington (Circle and District lines), Holland Park (Central line), Queen’s Park (Bakerloo line) and Shepherd’s Bush (Central line).

Five top tips

To make sure you have a fun and stress-free carnival experience, here are five top tips to keep in mind:

  • Get money out in advance and keep change on you too. You’ll take one look at the cash point queues and regret having to join the line.
  • Portaloos are dotted around but the queues are heavy. Some locals will open their doors and charge revellers for the use of their lavatory. Bring a pack of tissues, just in case!
  • Wear comfortable shoes – you could end up dancing into the early hours of the morning.
  • Bring water and snacks to sustain yourself through the party period.
  • Choose a meeting point and stick to it. If one of your gang gets lost among the crowds, you’ll have a base to return to.