August is fast coming to a close, which means it must be almost time for one of the most spectacular events in the UK’s calendar: Notting Hill Carnival. Since the first parade in 1959, the carnival has grown into an incredible spectacle and is now known as the biggest street festival in Europe!
So what’s new for 2019 and what do you need to know to plan your visit?
When does Notting Hill Carnival take place?
It’s easy to remember when the carnival takes place as it’s always around the bank holiday weekend in August (the last one until Christmas!). This year, the festival kicks off at 6pm on Saturday 24th August 2019 and wraps up at 10pm on Monday 26th August 2019.
What’s on this year at Notting Hill Carnival?
The carnival is now such an established part of summer in London, they wisely stick with a winning formula of live music, steel bands and dancers in elaborate costumes. The streets are filled with both performers and members of the public joining in the fun and following the parade floats.
As has become tradition, the first part of the festivities is a competition of national steel bands, which takes place in Emslie Horniman’s Pleasance Park, and finishes with the Grand Finale on Monday.
Something different for this year will be moment of silence for the victims of the 2017 Grenfell Tower tragedy, at 3pm on Sunday and Monday. Rather than the usual minute’s silence, it will be for 72-seconds to remember the 72 people who lost their lives.
Caribbean food and drink at Notting Hill Carnival
Apart from the music and performers, the other main draw at the carnival is the Caribbean food! There will be plenty of opportunities to sample tasty street food from the many stands on the streets. If you’re a fan of spicy food then you have to try the Jerk chicken or pork: hot, smoky and slightly sweet.
Dumplings and meat-filled pasties are also a must. Wash it all down with coconut water straight from the green shell, or the very sweet-sounding Guinness Punch (Guinness, condensed milk, cinnamon, nutmeg and maybe a tot of rum).
If you’re visiting the carnival this year, have a fantastic time and remember to wear comfortable shoes!
The Let's Go Out Team
Where is Notting Hill Carnival held?
In and around the streets of the Notting Hill area of Kensington in West London. On carnival days there will be closures to public transport and very restricted parking, so your best bet it to plan your route ahead of time.
Most visitors travel to the nearest tube stop and then walk the rest of the way to the main carnival area, which will be well signposted.
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