Tips for a stress-free Notting Hill Carnival

Published: August 24, 2016

The Notting Hill Carnival is the largest street festival in Europe. It’s taken place annually since 1964 on the streets of Notting Hill, Ladbroke Grove and Westbourne Park.

The event is a big, end of summer celebration during the August bank holiday weekend in London.

With such big crowds, Transport for London is forced to adjust the tube / bus routes and schedules to account for this.

The good news is that Moovit has made all the changes direct on the app. This means you can find the best route to and from the Carnival (or, if you are planning on skipping it this year, shows you how to get as far away as possible).

Here are some other tips and information about this weekend:

When and where does the Notting Hill Carnival take place?

The event takes place on Sunday August 28 (family day) and Monday August 29 2016.

What is there to do?

The vibe is friendly and fun, with street parades, food, drinks, music, and of course dancing. Think Caribbean-influenced sounds, including reggae, dub, dancehall, as well as steel bands, live bands and DJs. There is a variety of different types of food stalls, but you’ve got to try the jerk chicken if it’s your first time!

How much does it cost?

There is no entrance fee for the actual Carnival, but be sure to take cash with you to buy food, drinks and souvenirs as the cash points run out of money quickly in the area.

What tube or bus should I take?

Tube and rail are the best way to get around London during the Carnival, although stations in West London will be extremely busy, and some temporarily closed to prevent overcrowding.

Changes to services in west London on Sunday 28 and Monday 29 August include (source: TFL):

Ladbroke Grove: closed on Sunday and Monday.

Latimer Road: closed after 23:30 on Sunday and Monday.

Notting Hill Gate: on Sunday and Monday, the station will be exit-only between 11:00-19:00 and the Circle/District lines will not stop.

Westbourne Park: exit-only between 11:00-18:00 and closed at 23:30 on Sunday and Monday.

Royal Oak: exit-only after 11:00 and closed at 18:00 on Sunday and Monday.

The following stations nearby may also be busier than usual:

  • Bayswater
  • Paddington
  • High Street Kensington
  • Holland Park
  • Queen’s Park
  • Shepherd’s Bush

With all the road closures within the Carnival area, buses also can’t get directly into the event area, so there will be an element of walking when using the bus too.

Between 05:00 on Sunday 28 August and 05:00 on Tuesday 30 August, buses around Notting Hill and North Kensington 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.

Affected bus routes include: 7, 16, 18, 23, 27, 28, 31, 46, 52, 70, 94, 98, 148, 220, 228, 274, 295, 316, 328, 332, 390, 414, 452, N7, N16, N18, N28, N31, N98 and N207.

Extra buses will run on routes 2, 36, 205, 436. They can be found under the names 2X, 36X, 205X and 436X.

For the latest information on how buses are operating, go to the “More” menu in the Moovit app and tap on Service Alerts. Here you will be able to follow the latest alerts on Twitter by clicking @TfLBusAlerts.


What else should I take to the carnival?

As we know, London weather can be temperamental. It looks like it’s going to be a hot one, so be sure to pack the suncream. Knowing London though, it’s always worth taking waterproofs in case the heavens do decide to open. Finally, you’ll walk more than normal because station are shut, so keep the pretty new wedges for another outing.

Image credit: Leslie ArchardImage license.

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