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Your full guide to Notting Hill carnival

Notting Hill Carnival 2014 Photo: Matt Crossick/EMPICS Entertainment

Once a year the streets of W11 come alive with all the sights and sounds of carnival. Over the August bank holiday weekend one million people are expected at Europe's biggest street party - the Notting Hill Carnival. The event, now in it's 49th year, promises to be a riot of colour, beats and afro-carribean tastes. Expect a sensory overload from the minute you arrive.

Here's everything you need to know about getting around and what not to miss.

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The history

Originating in 1964, Notting Hill Carnival was a way for Afro-Caribbean communities to celebrate their own cultures and traditions. It now takes place every August bank holiday weekend as an array of music, processions and social solidarity.

Carnival highlights

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What's on: Sunday 30th August

Jouvert procession 6am - 9am

A colourful start to the carnival festivities. A time to get adventurous or just to dress in a comical or carnivalesque outfit. Jouvert allows music lovers to jive along the streets to African drums or steel bands.

Notting Hill Carnival 2014 Credit: Laura Lean/PA

Children's Day 10am - 8.30pm

Sunday is family day for the carnival. An Exhuberant Parade for Children will wind it's way along the carnival route with 38 sound systems playing music style from across the world with stage performances dotted around the carnival.

Notting Hill Carnival 2014 Credit: Laura Lean/PA Wire

What's on: Monday 31st August

Monday Parade / Grand Finale 10am - 8.30pm

The grand finale showcases a sea of vibrant colours as 60 bands in magnificent costumes dance to the tantalising rhythms of the mobile sound systems or steel bands. Enjoy the magnificent continuation of vocals on the “World Music Stage” at Powis Square.

Notting Hill Carnival 2014 Credit: Laura Lean/PA Wire
Notting Hill Carnival Credit: Laura Lean/PA Wire

Travel

Notting Hill Carnival transport map Credit: Transport for London

Roads and public transport in west London will be very busy on August Bank Holiday weekend.

Road users

There will be extensive road closures during the carnival in Notting Hill, Ladbroke Grove and Westbourne Park.

Road closure times:

  • Sunday 24 August from 06:00 until around 23:59
  • Monday 25 August from 06:00 until around 03:00 on the morning of Tuesday 26 August

Road closure area:

  • Harrow Road in the north
  • Notthing Hill Gate in the south
  • Clarendon Road in the west
  • Queensway in the east

Local parking restrictions will apply. Find out more from Westminster and Kensington and Chelsea councils.

Status updates and latest road closures information

Cycling

A small number of Barclays Cycle Hire docking stations in the Carnival area will be suspended from 21:00 on Saturday 23 August until 07:00 on Tuesday 26 August. These include:

  • Turquoise Island
  • Pembridge Villas
  • Chepstow Villas
  • Notting Hill Gate station
  • Hereford Road
  • Ladbroke Grove (central)
  • Landsdowne Walk
  • All Saints Church
  • Blenheim Crescent
  • All Saints Road
  • Westbourne Park Road (Powis Gardens)

Tube and rail

Tube closures

  • Ladbroke Grove (Circle and Hammersmith & City lines) will be closed on Sunday 24 and Monday 25
  • Latimer Road (Circle and Hammersmith & City lines) will be closed 23:30 on Sunday 24 and Monday 25
  • Notting Hill Gate (Central, Circle and District lines) will be exit-only between 11:00-19:00 and no interchange between District, Circle and Central lines on Sunday 24 August. On Monday 25 August this station will be exit-only and District and Circle lines will be non-stopping between 11:00-19:00. There will be no interchange between the District, Circle and Central lines all day. Customers are advised to use Bayswater or Paddington stations instead
  • Queensway (Central line) will be exit-only between 11:00-19:00 on Sunday 24 and Monday 25 August
  • Royal Oak will be exit-only between 11:00-18:00 and closed from 18:00 on Sunday 24 and Monday 25 August
  • Westbourne Park will be exit-only between 11:00-18:00 and closed from 18:00 on Sunday 24 and Monday 25 August

London Overground closures

No services between South Tottenham and Barking on Sunday 24 or Monday 25 August.

National Rail closures

On Saturday 23 and Sunday 24 August no First Capital Connect (FCC) and Southern Services call at London Bridge, and services will be diverted to Victoria or Blackfriars in London.

Stations with no planned closures:

Tube

  • High Street Kensington (Circle and District lines)
  • Holland Park (Central line)
  • Queen’s Park (Bakerloo line)
  • Shepherd’s Bush (Central line)
  • Bayswater (Circle and District line). On Monday 25 August, between 12:00-19:00, customers are advised to use this station as Circle and District line trains will not stop at Notting Hill Gate
  • Paddington (Hammersmith & City and Circle lines) on Sunday 24 and Monday 25 August – customers are advised to use this station instead of Notting Hill Gate or Royal Oak, as both these stations will have entry restrictions

London Overground

  • Queen’s Park
  • Kensal Rise
  • Kensal Green
  • Shepherd’s Bush

Buses

From 16:00 on Saturday 23 August until the end of the Carnival weekend, route 23 will be affected due to a road diversion in place for the Panorama event.

From around 02:00 on Sunday 24 August until 05:00 on Tuesday 26 August, buses in and around the event area will be on diversion or will terminate earlier than usual to avoid the road closures.

During these times, buses will start from the Prince of Wales on Harrow Road to the north of the Carnival area.

To the south of the Carnival area buses will start from Notting Hill Gate.

Bus stops within or adjacent to the area will carry displays about diversions or disruptions.

Bus routes affected include: 6, 7, 16, 18, 23, 27, 28, 31, 36, 46, 52, 70, 94, 98, 148, 187, 205, 220, 228, 295, 316, 328, 332, 390, 414, 436, 436X, 452, N7, N16, N18, N28, N31 N98 and N207.

  • Extra buses will run on routes 2, 205, 436 which will run as 2X, 205X and 436X
  • There will be extra day and night buses serving the Notting Hill Carnival, but buses in west London are expected to be busier than usual, so allow plenty of time for your journey