The annual street festival – the biggest one in Europe – will bring colour to the streets of Notting Hill again. With the crowds reaching two million people every year, it’s one of the unforgettable, unique experiences that only London can give you. Here’s our quick guide to this year’s Notting Hill Carnival, boiled down to absolute essentials.

notting hill carnival 2018
Photo source: Kalexander2010 on Flickr, Creative Commons license.

Saturday, 25th of August: steelband performances

On Saturday, a family event Panorama kick-starts the celebration. With a history dating back to the 1978 and a worldwide reputation, Emslie Horniman Pleasance Park will welcome a steelband competition. This year, six bands will compete for the title: Croydon Steel Orchestra, Ebony, Mangrove, Metronomes, Phase One and Reading All Steel Percussion Orchestra (RASPO). There’ll be plenty of Caribbean food stalls to choose from, too.

The tickets cost £5 and can be purchased at Eventbrite.

Take a look at one of last year’s performances below:

Sunday, 26th of August: Children’s Day

There will be paint and chocolate thrown in the air as the African drums and rhythm bands play in Ladbroke Grove. At 10am, Children’s Day parade will kick-off; as the first day is much less busy than on Monday, so if you’re planning to go with children, it’s your best bet. The carnival route starts on Great Western Road and continues all the way to Ladbroke Grove.

Monday, 27th of August: main parade

It’s the big parade day – up to 60 bands will parade through the streets, starting at 10am, accompanied by mobile sound systems. There’ll be 30 static sound systems all around Notting Hill, too, continuing from the day before.

notting hill carnival 2018

How to get around?

Notting Hill Carnival is the biggest street festival in Europe, so the only way to finding a good spot is arriving early and checking in with your friends beforehand – unless you want to take a chance of trying to find them in a crowd of two million people.

The official map, courtesy of Transport of London, details available public transport routes. Click on the map below to see the enlarged version.

notting hill carnival 2018Public transport around the area is naturally adjusted so that the events could go smoothly. Check beforehand for planned bus route diversions, train and Underground service amendments and road closures.

Make your day out easier – Notting Hill Carnival app

There’s also an official app to help you navigate the festival – you can download it from Apple Store and Google Play.

The event app includes the map that outlines all the official food stalls, bars, toilets, sound systems and live stages complete with a full line-up. You’ll be able to favourite what you want to see most beforehand and get a notification before it starts.

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