The annual street festival is the UK’s largest celebration of culture, diversity and inclusivity, featuring vibrant costumes, music, dancing, and food.
Here's everything all you need to know ahead of the carnival, which this year runs from August 27-29.
What is Notting Hill Carnival and what does it celebrate?
Notting Hill Carnival is the world’s second biggest carnival and Europe’s largest street event, bringing people of all backgrounds together to celebrate London's diverse heritage.
Each year, around two million revellers take to the streets of west London for a huge celebration rooted in Caribbean culture.
The outdoor festival first took place in the streets of Notting Hill in 1966, when resident Rhaune Laslett organised a street fayre for local children.
Today, although still proudly community-led, the carnival has grown to become one of the world's largest arts celebrations - second only to Brazil's Rio Carnival in size.
Which is the best day for Notting Hill Carnival?
The carnival is held on the last weekend of August, including the Monday.
This year, it takes place from Saturday 27 August to Monday 29 August, with most of the action on Sunday and Monday. Visitors can attend every day, or for just part of it.
These are some of the highlights:
Saturday 27 August - Panorama, the UK’s biggest steel pan competition, kicks off the carnival at Emslie Horniman's Pleasance Park from 6-11pm. Steel pans are a rich part of the carnival's tradition, and here you can watch some of the top players and bands showcase their skills. This event requires a ticket.
Sunday 28 August - This is family day. As is tradition, carnival will start before sunrise with J'Ouvert - a traditional festival known as 'break day'. This is immediately followed by the official opening ceremony at 10am and the children's parade at 10:30am.
Monday 29 August - Monday is the biggest and last day of festivities, featuring the main adult parade.
In total, 84 Mas Bands will take to the parade route to showcase their colourful and vibrant costumes. An estimated one million hours go into making all of the costumes for the event.
There are also live stages showcasing different artists, plus a stage for families featuring children’s entertainers and interactive performances.
Carnival-goers can enjoy music from 38 sound systems, playing everything from house music to hip-hop.
Where in London is Notting Hill Carnival and how do I find it?
The street party takes place in the W10 postcode in the west London borough of Kensington and Chelsea.
As well as Notting Hill, the carnival area also covers Ladbroke Grove, Westbourne Park, and Kensal Road, with the parade route around three-and-a-half miles long.
Those with smartphones can track the parade on the Notting Hill Carnival app, which is available on both Apple and Android.
If in doubt, follow the crowds or the sound of the music and you will soon find yourself at the heart of the action.
Is Notting Hill Carnival free and do I need a ticket?
Notting Hill Carnival is free to attend, although certain events and after-parties may be ticketed.
For example, Panorama, the UK’s biggest steel pan competition on the Saturday evening, requires a ticket.
It is free to watch the parades, as well as visiting the live stages, stalls and sound systems that are a focal point of the carnival.
It is always best to check the official website or app for guidance if you have your heart set on a particular event.
What is the full schedule for Notting Hill Carnival 2022?
UK National Panorama Steel Band Competition 6pm to 11pm (ticketed event). Emslie Horniman’s Pleasance Park, Kensal Road, W10 3DH
J’Ouvert 6am to 9am - the traditional celebration before the formal start of the carnival. It begins at Sainsbury’s, Canal Way, Ladbroke Grove, W10 5AA
Opening Ceremony 10am to 10.30am at the Judging Zone, Great Western Road
Children’s Day Parade and Carnival 10.30am to 5pm. Main event of the day – parade route
Adults ‘Dutty Mas’ 10.30am to 8.30pm. Extended J’Ouvert theme (see above) – parade route
Adults Day Parade and Carnival 10.30am to 8.30pm – parade route
SUNDAY AND MONDAY
Static sound systems will run from 12pm to 7pm
Judging Zone closes 8.30pm – Great Western Road / Westbourne Park Road Street
Street trading is from 10am to 8pm (Kensington and Chelsea) and 10am to 7pm (Westminster)
Which London Overground and Underground stations are near Notting Hill Carnival?
The London Overground stations closest to the carnival are Queen’s Park, Kensal Rise, Kensal Green, and Shepherd’s Bush. A Saturday timetable will run on bank holiday Monday.
Many Underground stations are open as usual. These include Bayswater, Paddington, High Street Kensington, Kensal Green, Queen’s Park and Shepherd’s Bush (Central line).
You may need to queue to enter at the busiest times.
A number of Underground services are restricted due to the carnival. Transport for London has published the following travel information for Underground services on Sunday 28 and Monday 29 August:
Ladbroke Grove – station closed
Latimer Road – closes at 11.30pm but may temporarily close for short periods of time to manage congestion
Notting Hill Gate – 11am to 6pm exit only. District/Circle lines will not stop. No interchange between Central line and District and Circle lines all day. May temporarily close for short periods of time to manage congestion
Westbourne Park – exit only 11am to 6pm. Closes at 11.30pm. During peak times the station can become exceptionally busy so it may be easier to use other stations
Holland Park – closes at 3pm
Royal Oak – exit only 11am to 6pm. Closes at 6pm
Queensway – exit only 11am to 6pm, then open for entry/exit.
It is advisable to consult the Transport for London website for the most up-to-date travel information before embarking on a journey.
Are bus services affected by Notting Hill Carnival?
Due to road closures between Saturday 27 August (10pm) to Tuesday 30 (early), day/night buses will be diverted away from the carnival area.
To the north of the carnival area, buses start from the Prince of Wales public house on Harrow Road. To the south of the carnival area, buses start from Notting Hill Gate.
Bus stops within or next to the carnival area will make people aware of any diversions or disruptions via their displays.
The bus routes affected by the diversions are: 2, 7, 16, 23, 27, 28, 31, 36, 46, 52, 98, 205, 228, 295, 316, 328, 332, 414, 452, N7, N16, N28, N31, N98, N205, N207.
London buses operate extra day and night buses to serve the carnival.
More than 1,000 bus drivers in London are set to walk out over the August bank holiday weekend over a pay dispute.
Trade union Unite said 1,600 drivers at bus company London United would strike on Sunday 28 August and Monday 29 August, adding disruption to services which could affect those attending the Notting Hill Carnival.
You can find full details of the routes affected by the strikes here.
Which road closures and parking restrictions are in place for Notting Hill Carnival?
A number of road closures and parking restrictions will be in place for the carnival, affecting Kensington and Chelsea, and Westminster residents.
Most roads within the carnival area will be closed from 6am on Sunday, August 28 to 6am on Tuesday, August 30.
Only carnival floats, pre-authorised event vehicles and emergency vehicles will be allowed into the area during these times.
There will also be localised road closures on Saturday, August 27 between 12 noon and 11pm in and around Kensal Road to facilitate the Panorama event.
Kensington and Chelsea also enforces waiting restrictions in Campden Ward and a small part of Pembridge Ward on Sunday and Monday.
In Westminster, parking restrictions will begin on some streets from August 24.
There are also parking suspensions for Kennet Road for the first time this year.
Why was Notting Hill Carnival cancelled for two years in a row?Notting Hill Carnival was cancelled in 2020 and 2021 due to the pandemic, with the event moved entirely online.
Speaking at the time, organisers said the decision to cancel the carnival was not an easy one, but that safety had to come first.
It will return in person in 2022 to celebrate its 56th anniversary.
Is Notting Hill Carnival family-friendly?
Children are encouraged to attend the carnival on the Sunday - when the Children's Parade takes place.
Emslie Horniman Pleasance Park puts on family-friendly activities, and live shows and music throughout the carnival are billed for the whole family to enjoy.
Where can I eat at Notting Hill Carnival?
With more than 300 stalls to choose from, revellers certainly won't go hungry.
The main focus is on Caribbean cuisine - Jamaican Jerk chicken, Trinidadian Roti and Guyanese Pepperpot, to name a few - but food is also on offer from around the world.
Most stalls also offer vegetarian options, and this year there is an increase in solely vegan food traders.
London's restaurant scene also boasts a number of Caribbean eateries, offering traditional and modern interpretations of dishes.
What is the advice for people visiting Notting Hill Carnival?
The Metropolitan Police has this advice for carnival-goers:
Do not attempt to drive there - road closures and restrictions are in place.
Plan your journey in advance - there are planned strikes in the area, and tubes and buses will be busy.
Go with the flow of the crowd, not against it.
Arrange a meeting point in case you lose your family or friends - don't rely on your phone.
Keep your belongings with you at all times.
Police have been working with event organisers for months to ensure everyone can safely enjoy the carnival.
This year there will also be outreach officers out and about, meeting the public and listening to any concerns.
Dr Alison Heydari, commander of local policing, said: "Being able to attend Carnival in person has been sorely missed for the last couple of years, so we are expecting large crowds in the Notting Hill area this weekend.
"We are looking forward to policing the event and being amongst the communities who visit year in and year out, contributing to the celebration across the bank holiday.
"We are also working to keep the area safe with the festival organisers implementing ‘safer spaces’ where women and girls can go and seek advice from specially trained professionals, as well as the police.
"Our officers are here to help you, if you feel like something doesn’t look right, please speak with us."