Notting Hill Carnival is the largest event of its kind in Europe and has been held annually since 1966. Year after year the streets of West London come alive and attract hundreds of thousands of attendees. But ...
WHAT IS THE NOTTING HILL CARNIVAL?
What began as a local festival originated from the Caribbean communities in the area, has now become a real carnival with over 40 sound systems, hundreds of food stalls, more than 40,000 volunteers and hundreds of costumes full of light and color, bright bikinis, huge wings and costumes full of feathers. Is said to be the largest carnival after Rio ... I say no more!
And the costumes, music and food have an important role. You can enjoy Caribbean dishes with chicken, rice, peas, curry, ... all with a good rum punch. And as music is concerned you can listen from Calypso, soca and samba to funk, R & B, house ... There are even live performances than in previous years have seen international artists such as Jamiroquai, Eddie Grant and Wyclef Jean.
Held in late August to, in theory, take advantage of good weather, but you can imagine that in London is completely unpredictable ... So, this year marks the 29th and 30th August (Monday is a holiday in UK).
To start your engines, day 29 in Horniman's Pleasance Park marks the 31 th National Panorama Championship, one of the strengths of the carnival. This is a contest in which various steel bands compete to win the prestigious title of 'Champions of Steel. " The event hosts some 1,000 drummers and attracts nearly 5,000 spectators, who often get carried away by the festive atmosphere and an impromptu dance to the beat of drums.
Sunday is considered the "Children's Day", although perhaps not as spectacular parade, the atmosphere is very nice and lets you enjoy all the performances. All bands and all parade participants are under 21 years, and different activities for younger children can enjoy the event while learning about the cultural tradition that surrounds this carnival.
However, the main day, the "adult day" is Monday, and when they can be groups of South America, the Caribbean, Africa, ... all with great costumes pompous and full of color, characteristic of a real carnival. Some groups are professionals, others are amateurs who wish to take part ... but the end result is a show that will undoubtedly capture your attention.
In addition, the parade lasts from 10:00 until 19:00, so you'll have plenty of time for fun, dancing, eating, drinking, ... but always in moderation and be careful, that unfortunately not everyone attends parade to see the show ...
HOW TO GET THERE
The buses run on some normality to get to Notting Hill (obviously the route of the carnival is closed to traffic but the bus will let you get close to the noise). However, there are metro stations close or considered "exit only" (allowed to leave but not enter). Bear that in mind before you even leave your hostel and check the official website of public transport.
Ladbroke Grove: Closed
Notting Hill Gate: Exit only from 11:00 to 18:00 for the Central Line (District and Circle lines will not stop here)
Westbourne Park: Exit only from 11:00 to 18:00
Latimer Road: Closed from 11:30 am
Royal Oak: Exit only from 11:00 to 18:00 and closed from 18:00
Kensal Green: Exit only after 16:00
FOR THOSE WHO WANT TO GO TO AFTERPARTY ...
Although celebrations of Carnival end to 22:00, the afterparties do just begun at that time ...
If you want to exit without having to go very far in the Notting Hill Arts Club will find the authentic Caribbean spirit during the two nights of Carnival. On Sunday, get ready to see Secousse Special Carnival with Radioclit, AJ Holmes and Vamanos from 18:00 to 2:00 in the morning. Takes place on Monday, Tribe Carnival Afterparty 16:00 to 2:00, with resident DJs Matt Sepherin Saint and LS along with special guest Timmy Regisford.
Another very popular afterparty is The Garden Party at The Masons Arms. Go on Monday for public holiday Snowbombing 2011 Launch Party with artists such as Shy FX, Matthew Bushwacka, Plastician, Jon Carter, DRW, Black Rabbit's Guy Williams and Gus Cubin, to name a few. The restaurant is located opposite the station Kensal Green underground and open both days from 14:00 to 2:00.
TIPS AND WARNINGS
- At the Notting Hill area of London find different hostels, but if you want to be in full bustle 24 hours a day (when you want to sleep the noise and bustle can be a problem ...), we will seek options a little further as Paddington and Hyde Park.
- You'll be standing most of the time, so wear comfortable shoes and comfortable clothes. It is also important that you vistáis in layers so that you you can remove and replace clothing when you have heat and when it starts to get colder ... (yes, it's August, but London ...)
- If this is your first time going through the area, bring a map ... it is very easy to get carried away by the atmosphere and fun and when you will return, you will realize you do not know where you are.
- Try to bring up a few valuables (cash, keys and a little more ....) There are many people and, therefore, pickpockets and people who unfortunately do not attend the carnival to see the parade. Take care and keep your eyes open.
- If you want to meet someone, planeadlo beforehand. Between noise and the number of people you can not hear the phone and will be hard to see your friends.
- The queue to go to the baths are endless ... so apuréis not until the last minute. Better go now and then stopping.
- Sure you want to take pictures and capture the moment, but keep the camera always very controlled and monitored. You know what the "better safe than sorry", so a good option is to take one of those disposable cameras.
- Have fun, enjoy a lot, dance and delicious Caribbean of the various shelves. Sure you will like! Even to enjoy the carnival London is a good city ...