The two-day festival is the most anticipated British street party of the year, when London’s Caribbean communities come together to celebrate culture and tradition in one of the most diverse cities in the world.
Expect steel bands, colourful floats, dancers and around 40 sound systems blasting bashment, afro beats and soca to spread the carnival spirit, as well as mouth-watering Caribbean cuisine alongside all that Red Stripe and rum.
As usual, 2019’s Carnival is expected to draw large crowds, having seen an estimated two million visitors join in recent years.
The outdoor celebration was founded in 1966 by Notting Hill resident Rhaune Laslett as a means of integrating the neighbourhood’s diverse community.
Trinidadian journalist and activist Claudia Jones, regarded as the “mother of the Notting Hill Carnival”, organised the “Caribbean Carnival” seven years prior, perceived as a precursor to Notting Hill Carnival.
Here’s everything you need to know about this year’s Notting Hill Carnival:
When does it take place?
Notting Hill Carnival is due to take place on Sunday 25 August and Bank Holiday Monday 26 August.
The Sunday, which is known as the “children’s day”, will include parade especially for children, ideal for those attending the event with young families.
The main festivities of the carnival will take place on the Monday, with a Grand Finale to close the Carnival.
The Grand Finale will showcase an array of bands, floats and colourful carnival celebrations as part of an exuberant, music-filled parade.
For the second consecutive year, a 72-second silence will be held on both days at 3pm in memory of each of the victims of Grenfell.
The Notting Hill Carnival organisers are distributing a poster about the period of silence to local libraries, businesses and traders, which can be seen below:
What time is the parade and what is the route?
The opening ceremony on the Sunday is due to take place from 10am until 10.30am.
Following the opening ceremony, the children’s day parade will commence at 10.30am and continue until 5pm.
The adults’ “Dutty Mas” is scheduled to be held on the Sunday from 10.30am from 8.30pm.
The “Dutty Mas” festivities traditionally signal the beginning of the carnival celebrations.
On the Monday, the parade and carnival will take place from 10.30am until 8.30pm.
While the official celebrations are due to end in the mid-evening, numerous after-parties are expected to be held following the procession.
The parade will pass through Notting Hill, North Kensington and Westbourne Green. A large part of the parade will go onto Ladbroke Grove road, with several toilets available along the way.
Between Westbourne Green and North Kensington the parade will go along the river by Kensal Road, passing live stages and food stalls on the way. A safety zone can be found on the Westway.
There will also be First Aid points along the route.
What are the nearest tube stations to the carnival?
During Notting Hill Carnival, the following stations will be exit only and are likely extremely crowded:
Holland Park – exit only from 6pm on both days
Notting Hill Gate – exit-only from 11am to 7pm. Circle and District line trains will not stop here during these times
Royal Oak – exit-only 11am to 6pm. Closed from 6pm.
Westbourne Park – exit-only 11am to 6pm. Closed at 11:30pm.
Ladbroke Grove will be closed on both days. Other nearby tube stations include High Street Kensington, Shepard’s Bush, Bayswater, Queen’s Park and Paddington.
Buses around the area will be disrupted, with many diversions likely to affect night buses.
However, there will be extra services on routes 2 and 36. Santander bike stations will be suspended
What food and drink will be available?
There will be over 300 stalls dotted around the route, with an emphasis on Caribbean food.
Stalls will sell dishes including “roti”, a wrapped flatbread which has become a staple street food item in Trinidad and Tobago, and Guyanese “pepperpot”, which is a stewed meat dish.
Last year saw an increase in vegan food stalls at the carnival.
Will there be toilets along the parade route?
There will be toilets placed across the areas of Carnival, varying from portaloos to urinals.
Accessible toilets will also be made available at various points across the parade route.
Some residents in the area allow festivalgoers access to toilets in their homes for a small fee.
For more information about the locations of toilets at Notting Hill Carnival, click here.
What safety measures will be put into place?
The organisers of Notting Hill Carnival state that the event has “amongst the lowest arrest rates of any other comparable events in the UK”.
Nonetheless, they ask that visitors attending the celebration act in a responsible manner.
The organisers advise that parade-goers refrain from wearing expensive items of jewellery, that they drink responsibly, plan their journey home in advance and stay in groups of no fewer than two people.
They also ask that those attending the event are respectful towards the police officers and stewards who will be monitoring the crowds on the day.
For more information about the organisers’ recommended guidelines, click here.
Who will be performing at the carnival?
There will be a variety of bands performing at Notting Hill Carnival, including Genesis, a Mas Band founded by Vernon Williams and Allyson Williams MBE in 1980; Batala, a Brazilian band formed in Paris in 1997 by Giba Goncalves; and Nostalgia, the only traditional “pan-around-neck” steel band in the UK.
There will also be range of sound systems, which emerged in Jamaican culture alongside reggae music.
They will feature established sound system Sir Valdez; Pineapple Tribe, which mixes the classic with new; Latin Rave Street Jam, bringing a taste of Latin music and salsa to carnival; and G.I. Roadshow, which has been performing in Austria and Germany recently.
For more information about the performers at this year’s Notting Hill Carnival, click here.
Notting Hill Carnival app
The organisers of Notting Hill Carnival have produced a handy app especially for the event.
For the first time, the app will allow users to vote in the annual Panorama steel band competition, which is due to take place this year on Saturday 24 August.
The Panorama competition is an annual contest where eight bands play a 10-minute composition from memory, the tickets for which are available to purchase on Eventbrite.
The app is available to download from the App Store and Google Play.