In Depth

Notting Hill Carnival 2016: The route, weather, transport and what to expect

A guide to the celebrations in London's Notting Hill this August bank holiday weekend

This weekend plays host to Europe's biggest annual street festival, with hundreds of thousands of visitors expected to descend on Notting Hill in London for the party.

Here's everything you need to know about the carnival and the parade:

What is the Notting Hill Carnival?

The carnival first took place in 1964 as a cultural celebration for the British West Indian communities in the capital. It grown each yea, with people flocking to W10 and its surrounding streets to sample Caribbean food and drink as well as listen to the many live music acts, from calypso and soca to reggae and dub. The carnival aims to foster unity between communities and champion the creativity and diversity of the capital.

When is the Notting Hill Carnival?

This year it runs from Saturday 27 August to Monday 29 August - the busiest day when the main parade takes place.

Events kick off on Saturday with Panorama, a steel-band concert at Emslie Horniman Pleasance Park from 6pm until 10pm. The event is a "a fabulous, free open air evening for the entire family, steel band lovers, general music lovers or anyone looking to enjoy a great evening in a Caribbean style atmosphere," the Daily Mirror says.

Sunday is Children's Day and is usually the quieter of the two main parade days. For those who like their Sunday mornings filled with live action and loud music, proceedings start with the official opening of the parade, featuring dance, drummers and steel bands from 6am until 9am. The Sunday Parade gets under way at 9am and finishes around 7pm. There are also family workshops at Emslie Horniman's Pleasance Park.

The majority of the big acts will perform on the Monday. Floats leave the streets in procession in the evening so people can continue the festivities at after-carnival parties across the capital.

What route does the parade take?

The parade will start on Great Western Road, winding its way along Chepstow Road, on to Westbourne Grove and down Ladbroke Grove. Judging finishes at 6.30pm; floats and parade bands have to clear the streets by 8.30pm.

Here's a map with all the sound systems as well as the route so you can catch your favourite DJs and performers and still see the main parade.

Lots of seasoned carnival-goers have their perfect spot planned, but most try to get near the judging area for the main parade, so get down early if you're most interested in the floats and dancers. Carnival king Norman Jay's Good Times sound system has long been one of the most popular events but this year, the veteran DJ is uprooting his party and heading east, with an event at Oval Space in Bethnal Green.

How do I get to Notting Hill Carnival?

Transport for London (TfL) has provided lots of information on its website to help people travelling to Notting Hill Carnival. Extra buses have been put on to take people from across all parts of London. Tube stations close to the Carnival, such as Ladbroke Grove, Latimer Road and Notting Hill Gate, are often closed or become exit only and there will be no Night Tube on Sunday and Monday nights, so it's worth checking on the TfL site to plan your journey.

What is the weather forecast?

Perhaps the most important question is: what the weather will be like? Saturday is likely to be a mixed bag, according to the Met Office, with showers expected between 9am and 2pm. Sunday looks less wet, with just a short burst of rain around 7pm, while Monday is expected to be cloudy but rain-free. Carnival-goers are advised to check the forecasts on the day before they depart, but the carnival will continue regardless of the weather, subject to minor alterations.

There is a Notting Hill Carnival app to help locate sound systems, food stalls and toilets on the day, and you can read more about the entire programme on the official website.

Where should I go for the best music?

There are 38 static sound systems sprinkled around Notting Hill, so here's where to go to find your favourite music.

Reggae and soca

GI Roadshow - Adella Street

Channel One Soundsystem - corner of Leamington Road Villas and Westbourne Park

Gladdy Wax Road Show - 304 Portobello Road

High Grade - corner of Oxford Gardens and St Lawrence Terrace

Killerwatt - St Luke's Road and Tavistock Road

I'Spy - corner of Southern Row and West Row

King Tubby's - outside Clydesdale House

Mangrove Sounds - 3 All Saints Road

Metro Glory - Westbourne Park Road and Ledbury Road

Saxon Sound - Chesterton Road and St Lawrence Terrace

SSP Soundsystem - Talbot Road and Ledbury Road

Virgo International - Oxford Gardens and Portobello Road

Drum and bass

CMC/Matrix Soundsystem - All Saint's Road

Different Strokes - corner of St Luke’s Road and Lancaster Road


Gaz's Rockin' Blues - 103 Talbot Road


Latin Rave Street Jam - 318 Portobello Road 


Disco Hustlers - east side of Powis Square

Mixed genres

Mayhem Crew - corner of Middle Row/Conlan Street

Platinum Soundsystem - corner of Bonchurch Street and Portobello Road

Lord Gelly's - 47 Cambridge Gardens

Rampage - Colville Square

Rapattack - 23 All Saints Road

Rough But Sweet - Hazelwood Crescent

Sir Valdez - Golborne Road


The Fun Bunch - Sutherland Place and Talbot Road 

Mastermind Roadshow - Canal Way

Sir Lloyd - Leamington Road Villas


Aba Shanti4 - corner of East Row and Southern Row

Blackstar Showtime - corner of Southern Row and Bosworth Road

Funky house

4Play - West Row and Kensal Road junction

KCC and the Rocking Crew - Wornington Road


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