One of our favourite times of the year, ask around the city when someone should visit London and it would be surprising if the vast majority didn’t say the summer. The winter is definitely quieter, which is a plus for some, and both spring and autumn have their own draws, but we can’t deny that London truly comes alive in the summer.
It’s summer time in the UK, which means it’s time for festivals and carnivals!
The Bank Holiday weekend towards the end of August sees one of the entire country’s biggest and best carnivals take place, when the streets of West London come alive as Europe’s largest street festival dominates throughout the city of London.
Notting Hill Carnival is a vivid spectacle representing London’s multicultural past and present, which attracts nearly one million visitors every year.
Since 1964 the capital city’s Afro-Caribbean communities have celebrated their culture and traditions with a two-day festival of live music – ranging from reggae to dub to salsa – soca floats, steel bands, uplifting beats, jerk chicken and fried plantain food stalls, plus much, much more
Ever since its inception the Carnival has grown exponentially, attracting ever more revellers to its unique spectacle of floats featuring calypso, mas and pan bands and a series of sound systems for alfresco dancing.
Approximately 500 people attended the very first Carnival, which was an offshoot of the Trinidad Carnival. Today, it’s one of London’s biggest cultural attractions, with over 50,000 performers taking part in the celebrations.
You can be sure of dense crowds and a vibrant celebration of music, movement and masquerade, and there are some amazing stalls of food to accompany the cultural celebrations.
Visiting the festival with family
We’d recommend the family-friendly Sunday as the best day to take your children to the Carnival, as the smaller crowds and the child-friendly floats create a fun vibe.
The main parade on Monday normally takes a winding path from Great Western Road, along Chepstow Road and Westbourne Grove to Ladbroke Grove.
In the evening, after the parade has finished, the floats leave the streets and people continue the festivities at one of the many Notting Hill Carnival after-parties.
It’s worth noting that Ladbroke Grove station is usually closed on both days, with other stations in the nearby area permitting exit only; if you do plan to visit the area on either of the days, we would recommend taking a look at the Transport for London website to plan your route – and make sure you manage to enjoy it as much as everyone else!
Stay with us for the festival
Here at DUKES London, we can certainly provide you with an amazing base to start off your Carnival day, as we are only a short journey from the route itself.
For more information on staying with us over that weekend, or at any time, feel free to contact us here. If you’re bringing the family for the Sunday, why not ask about our bespoke family getaways, and let our experienced concierge take the hassle out of your stay and organise everything you need for a truly memorable experience with your family in London?
Following on from the first blog post in a two part series, which can be read in full here, today we’re providing another five things you probably didn’t already know about London. Continue reading “10 things you didn’t know about London – Part 2”
First held in 1964, the Notting Hill Carnival has since become one of Europe’s diverse and largest street festivals, and it’s back this year from 25th-26th August.
The Caribbean theme inspired carnival in West London will be packed with steel bands, traditional Calypso music and tempting food stalls. As well as a day filled with great contemporary music, you can also take pleasure in tasting some of the best of West Indies-inspired food like jerk chicken, rice and peas and rum punch, as well as the odd taste of other exotic cuisines. This carnival is a celebration and a great way to get together and spend August bank holiday weekend in London!
You can expect to see 50,000 performers and around 2.5 million people over the Carnival weekend. For that reason, if you are planning on visiting the festival, please remember roads will be closed so transport to and from the carnival may have to be on foot! But don’t let that put you off as the carnival is well worth the few minutes’ walk!
After a long day soaking in the cultural atmosphere, take the time to wind down at our very own DUKES Bar? A relaxed setting, DUKES Bar is the perfect place to settle down for the evening, or you can head to our restaurant – ran by Nigel Mendham – where we can prepare a variety of mouth-watering dishes for you and your family.
Image courtesy of Cristiano Betta