August bank holiday weekend is time for Notting Hill Carnival, Europe’s biggest street party. It’s a colourful, vibrant celebration of all things multicultural, and especially London’s African-Caribbean communities. Revellers come from all over for the elaborate costumes, community spirit and cultural heritage. And of course, the carnival wouldn’t be complete without Caribbean drinks and eats as well as beats.
Be sure to read our full guide for all you need to know about Notting Hill Carnival.
When is Notting Hill Carnival 2019?
The main parades are free and carnival-goers with kids should head there on the first day, known as ‘Children’s Day’ as things will be a lot messier on Monday.
That said, things can still get plenty messy early on. Sunday morning opens with Jouvert ( “opening of the day” from the French Jour ouvert), a traditional procession before sunrise (6 am–9 am), where participants cover themselves in mud or paint.
The carnival parade begins and ends at Canal Way, Ladbroke Grove W14 next to Sainsbury’s car park.
The streets of the West London neighbourhoods of Notting Hill, Ladbroke Grove and Westbourne Park will be filled with 38 booming sound systems. Expect dub, reggae, Latin beats, funk, drum ‘n’ bass and disco. In total, sixty bands will perform in Monday’s Grand Finale, and there will be a world music stage at Powis Square.
What to wear
You’ll be pleased to know you can leave the feathers, sequins and tassles to the pros in the mas (masquerade) bands. That said, as with any festival, bright clothes, glitter and facepaint are par for the course. If reports are to be beleived, we can expect great weather For Notting Hill Festival 2019. Shade is scarce, so be sure to bring some kind of sun protection.
Notting Hill 2019 after parties
Although the parades wrap up by 7pm each day there are literally dozens of official (and unofficial) parties. So there’s every opportunity to keep the carnival spirit going through the night. They’re all over London, so you’re best off checking a decent map of after parties.
The official carnival after-party will be held at the Ministry of Sound in Elephant and Castle. It kicks off at 10 pm and goes till 6 am! If you’d rather stick around Notting Hill for a less intense night, there’ll be plenty on in local bars and clubs like Rum Kitchen and Trailer Happiness.
2019 carnival station and road closures
Some local stations may be shut, so be sure to check your route on TFL well in advance to avoid disruption. If you’re planning on driving, there’s a full list of road closures on the borough’s website.
First published August 2016 by Becky Matthews. Updated August 2019 by Felix Wilson