Notting Hill Carnival: the wisdom of crowds

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Notting Hill is a lively patch at the best of times, but during the annual Carnival in August the crowds go into overdrive. It is a spectacle not to be missed - a dizzying mix of pounding sound systems, wild dancers, rum and patties.

Location

Ladbroke Grove, Notting Hill, London, England

Dates

Last Sunday and Monday in August

Description

The British capital’s top summer knees-up, a celebration of the local Caribbean community, has enlivened this part of town since the 1950s. During the end-of-August bank holiday, the neighbourhood featured in the Hugh Grant film Notting Hill explodes with reggae sound systems and Rastafarians smoking ganja. Also featuring calypso and soca, samba dancing, sassy costumes and animistic sculptures, the display of vibrant Caribbean culture attracts two million party animals to West London, making it one of the world’s largest street festivals. A steel-band competition and Children’s Day are among the events reflecting the city’s multiculturalism and love of a good boogie. It all climaxes on Monday with a 3-mile parade of floats and revellers in feathered headdresses, Lycra suits and other costumes not normally spotted on London’s streets. Ravers can fuel themselves at stalls selling Jamaican patties, jerk chicken and curries.

Essentials

Make sure you have deep pockets for your dosh - street crime is a feature of the weekend.

Local Attractions

As well as the coolest bars found west of the city centre, narrow Portobello Rd has a market from Monday to Saturday. It’s the city’s best market for rummaging through antiques and curios, and for getting kitted out like a trendy Londoner.

More information

Check out the official website or for the best little guide to London, grab a copy of Lonely Planet's latest Pocket London guide - full of great ideas for your post-carnival recovery.