First off you’ll want to know where to go, of course! Well here’s a map of the parade route, soundystems, toilets and more. Download the map below as a pdf or click here for a swanky interactive version.
We’ve also made a mega guide to Notting Hill Carnival, compiled a list of the best Notting Hill Carnival warm-up and after parties, chosen our top 10 Carnival anthems and figured out 50 things you didn’t know about Notting Hill Carnival.
And if you’re too busy sewing feathers on your bikini to click through, here’s the essential info:
PARADE AND TIMES
The parade begins at 10am on both Sunday and Monday, and judging finishes at 6.30pm; floats and parade bands have to clear the streets by 8.30pm. Soundsystems play on both Sunday and Monday, with a strict noise curfew at 7pm.
Journeys to and from the area around Notting Hill will be heavily restricted, so work out your best route by using the journey planner on www.tfl.gov.uk. Consider making an early or late entrance to avoid the crowds.
TUBE: Notting Hill Gate will be exit-only between noon and 7pm on Sunday and all day on Monday. Circle and District line trains will not stop here between noon and 6.30pm on Sunday and all day on Monday. Ladbroke Grove will be closed on Sunday and Monday. Queensway will be exit-only between 11am and 7pm on Sunday and Monday. Royal Oak and Westbourne Park will be exit-only between 11am and 6pm, and closed from 11.30pm on Sunday and Monday. Bayswater and Paddington will be operating normally. Stations may temporarily have to shut due to overcrowding, so be patient if you’re waiting to get on the tube or Overground. Other nearby stations are High Street Kensington, Holland Park, Queen’s Park, Kensal Rise and Shepherd’s Bush.
BUS: While extra services will be in operation, no buses will enter the Carnival area from first thing Sunday morning until the first service on Tuesday morning. On both Sunday and Monday, bus services begin from Notting Hill Gate in the south and from the Prince of Wales on Harrow Road (close to Elgin Avenue) in the north. Night buses in the area will also be subject to diversions.
BIKES: Some local docking stations will be suspended or removed for Carnival, so don’t rely on space to dock your Boris bike. The earlier you arrive, the less crowded it will be.
Wear comfy shoes and give flip-flops and open-toed footwear a miss, unless you want your feet to get crushed by the galumphing masses. Set off with more than a muscle tee if you’re out for the duration, and bring plenty of money as cash machines tend to run dry early.
Don’t try to walk against the flow of the crowd – you won’t get far. Many of the big soundsystems become too crowded to get near by mid-afternoon, so plan your route ahead of time.
Plan your toilet stops to avoid queues, and bring your own loo roll and hand sanitiser if you’re so inclined. Drink plenty of water on the day, especially if the sun makes an appearance.
Phone signals at Carnival are notoriously patchy, so prearranged meeting points aren’t a bad idea even for grown-ups.
Find out everything else you need to know about Notting Hill Carnival!