A Guide to Notting Hill Carnival 2014
Date Posted: 22/08/14
If you’re lucky enough to be heading to London on a weekend break this Friday, you’ll be able to join in the revelry of Notting Hill Carnival, one of the most colourful and eclectic events to hit the city’s streets each year.
The festivities run over two days - Sunday August 24th and Monday August 25th - and there is always a lot going on beside the main parade. If you’ve never been before, check out our handy guide to make sure you get the most out of your Notting Hill Carnival experience.
There are actually two parades as part of the Notting Hill Carnival, although the biggest and best is the one that takes place on the Monday. On the Sunday, it’s the Family Day Parade, which is designed to be a child-friendly celebration that everyone can get involved in.
This procession begins at 10am, with organisers aiming to see it finish by 7pm - you really do have all day to catch the colourful floats and dancers! Before the main parade, the J’ouvert procession, which follows a circular route beginning and ending at Canal Way, hits the streets from 6am until 9am - great if you’ve got youngsters who are up and about early.
It is the parade on Monday that is the most exuberant though, with this known as Adult’s Day. As with the Sunday, proceedings kick off at 10am, although this moving party isn’t expected to end until 8.30pm.
In 2014, the route will see the procession of floats, dancers and performers travel the along Great Western Road, turning onto Chepstow Row and then Westbourne Grove, finally finishing at the end of Ladbroke Grove.
You will need to turn up early if you want to get a good view of proceedings.
As you’d probably expect, the majority of roads along the carnival route are closed to traffic throughout the weekend, so your best bet is to use public transport to reach Notting Hill. However, do note that some of the Underground stations near the parade route will either be closed all weekend (Ladbroke Grove), or will have restrictions on services and will be exit-only for at least part of the weekend - Latimer Road, Notting Hill Gate, Royal Oak and Westbourne Park fall into this category.
Bus services will also be restricted or diverted during the carnival, so if you plan to use any of these to make your way to or from this part of the city, check with Transport for London to find out what services are running and where from.
Visiting Notting Hill Carnival is a real feast for the senses - aside from the sound of the steel drums and upbeat music from the parade, and the sight of the dazzling and elaborate costumes of the performers, you’ve got plenty of delicious food to sample too.
You won’t fail to notice the distinctive smell of Jamaican jerk barbecues floating on the air, with this classic West Indian cuisine on offer at various pop-up stalls around the carnival. Mama’s Jerk Station, which is on the corner of Portobello Road and Oxford Gardens, is one of the most popular places to get a flavour of the Caribbean.
Jerk chicken, jerk pork sausages and even a jerk veggie bean cake are all on offer at this particular outlet - expect queues but it’s worth it for the mouth-watering flavours you’ll enjoy.
Other Caribbean specialities to look out for at the various food vendors’ stalls include curried goat and rice and peas - although this may not sound that exciting, there’s a wicked kick to this dish, so it’s worth sampling for yourself.
As if all of the excitement of the parade and delicious food was not enough, organisers of Notting Hill Carnival also set up a stage where a host of local and international acts perform throughout the course of the weekend.
Among those due to appear in 2014 are Katy B, Chase and Status, Becky Hill, Youngsta, Metalheadz, Basement Jaxx, Ms Dynamite, Skream, Protoje, Tropkillaz, and The Heatwave.
There are also a number of after parties at some of London’s top clubs and bars, so you can keep the festive mood going well into the evening and the next morning if you want to.
Posted by Vikki Stathers
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