One of the most colourful and exciting events on the London social calendar is the Notting Hill Carnival and visitors to the city will certainly not want to miss out on these annual festivities if they have the chance to head along.
Set to be held this year on August 30th and 31st, the event draws thousands of revellers to this cosmopolitan and attractive area of the capital, with live music, a wealth of street food and plenty to keep visitors entertained.
First organised in 1964, the Notting Hill Carnival was originally an offshoot of the local Trinidad Carnival and it has remained true to its Caribbean roots ever since. Just 500 people attended during that first carnival weekend.
However, over the years it has grown considerably and the organisers now expect to see more than one million visitors get into the carnival spirit during the full festival weekend in 2015.
Starting at 6am on August 30th and with scheduled events all the way through until 8.30pm each evening, revellers will be lining the streets of the Notting Hill area to celebrate the carnival atmosphere and soak up the charm of this fantastic event.
More than 50,000 performers will be taking part in parades as part of the Notting Hill Carnival weekend, with more than 30 sound systems being erected to ensure festivalgoers will never be far from some great music.
The annual tradition of J’Ouvert will kick off the fun and celebrations on Sunday morning, with a lively three-hour parade featuring dance, drummers and steel bands from 6am until 9am.
Visitors will then be treated to jam-packed days of much of the same, but added to that will be the sublime and often spicy street food that has festivalgoers coming back again and again.
How to get to Notting Hill Carnival
The massive number of revellers heading to the Notting Hill Carnival each year means public transport in the area is often put under considerable stress. This means anyone planning to head to the event should consider how they will get there in advance.
Several Underground Tube stations in the area will be closed for the duration of the festivities, with a full list of affected services available via the Transport for London (TfL) website in the run-up to the carnival.
Several local Tube stations are expected to be fully operational for the duration of the festivities though, including High Street Kensington, Holland Park, Queen’s Park, Shepherd’s Bush, Bayswater and Paddington.
Meanwhile, overground bus services can often be the best bet for individuals hoping to reach the carnival in plenty of time to enjoy the rousing atmosphere, live music and stunning costumes sported by many of the festival’s participants.
Additional bus services are traditionally put on throughout the day for the duration of the carnival, while extra night buses also run until 3am on each day.
For those wishing to drive, there are a number of local car parks that can accommodate vehicles, but motorists should be aware that traffic volumes in the vicinity of the carnival will be far greater than normal, while many roads will also be closed to all traffic for the festival weekend.
Closures will span from Harrow Road in the north of the area to Notting Hill Gate in the south and from Clarendon Road in the west to Queensway in the east.
Individuals planning to drive should leave additional time to reach their destination and adhere to all signposted diversions.