Notting Hill Carnival 2016

Ever since most of us were just tiny tots, August bank holiday weekend has been --- by Britain’s biggest street party. In fact, Notting Hill Carnival has been hitting the streets of London’s W11 since 1964 and has always promised a fantastically diverse culture extravaganza. And this year is no different, as the festivities will be kicking off on the 28th-29th August this summer. So whether you’re a regular carnival go-er or you fancy going along for the first time, here’s everything you need to know about this year’s bash.

What you’ll see

Notting Hill carnival is based on traditional Trinidad carnivals, and gives the British Afro-Caribbean community a chance to show off their culture and all their traditions to the rest of us… and don’t us Brits love it! There’s no wonder it’s known as our biggest street carnival, as over 1 million people gather together in a sea of vibrant costumes to listen to some funky music and join in with the adventure. The carnival procession starts and finishes at Canal Way and carnival bands will take to the road around 9am, finishing its round at 7pm. Expect to see some of the finest African drums and steel bands around and keep your eyes peeled for the tantalisingly tasty Caribbean food and drink on each corner – jerk chicken anyone? Or is curried goat more of your thing?

What you can do

Sunday is the home of Jouvert – the perfect beginning for the carnival. This is the time to dig out your comical fancy dress or your best carnivalesque get-up and dance along the street. Sunday is also known as Children’s Day, where there will be plenty to keep the little ones AND all us oldies entertained. At the centre of it all is the World Music Stage in Powis Square where there will be calypso performances from the Association of British Calypsonians. There will also be 38 soundsystems playing various music styles and some more incredible stage performances from various acts dotted around the place. Monday, however, is where things begin to get even crazier with the Monday Parade and the Grand Finale. There will be over 50 different bands all in magnificent costumes, such as Bajan Revellers, Cocoyea, Flagz Mas Band, Masquerade 2000 and so many more, with a mix of both thumping soundsystems and steel bands. You will also see many calypsons whirling and twirling around, as well as soca artists, emerging talent and even some special international guests who are desperate to join in the fun. But the fun doesn’t have to stop when the sun goes down – there are plenty of pre-parties and after-parties being hosted by some of London’s most prestigious venues. The Gin and Juice roof party carnival special at Clapham Grande is highly recommended as pre-carnival bash, whereas the Jazz Café in Camden will be finishing off the festivities by hosting a Hip-Hop Karaoke special. There’s plenty going on around the city so find out what’s going on at your fave venue and carry on the celebrations!

How you can get there

If you are going to throw a huge party in the middle of London, there are going to be quite a few disruptions to public transport! The roads in West London will be very busy and you can bet there will be a whole lotta people trying to get to the same area, so be aware that travelling will be a bit trickier than normal. Tube and rail are the best way to get around and there are 6 stops nearby that will bring to close enough to the festival action, including Paddington and High Street Kensington. You can also check on the website the list of bus routes that will be effected by the carnival http://thenottinghillcarnival. com/visitor/. The folks organising the carnival have also suggested the taxis and private hire cars that will be available, Barclays Cycle Hire (burn off those jerk chicken calories before you even get there!) or even walking!

So whilst it may not be the easiest one to get to, the sheer about of people going should tell you one thing…. Britain’s biggest street party is something that you definitely don’t want to miss!  Check out some more info on their Facebook page now.


Emily Thursfield