Notting Hill Carnival

Embrace the colour, sounds and cuisine of Europe's biggest street party

The biggest street festival in Europe, every August revellers take to West London for a celebration of tradition, culture and community. Notting Hill Carnival has now been running for over 50 years and sees around two million people dancing, drinking and coming together on the streets.

The first thing glimpse you'll get upon arrival is the parade. Starting early in the morning and running throughout the day until around 7pm, you can follow the floats and dancers and soak up the spirit that carnival runs on. As well as the parade, there are almost 40 soundsystems across the carnival, with a range of rich sounds to enjoy. From steel bands to the original soundsystems playing soca, dancehall, reggae, calypso and dub. You've also got a variety of stages spinning house, ska, funk, drum and bass and jungle. 

Something you have to do at Carnival is enjoy the food from one of the hundreds of stalls dotted about. There's no way you can turn down a tray of jerk chicken, but if you're feeling adventurous you can also sample a portion of goat curry. All of the stalls go through stringent checks, meaning you're pretty much guaranteed good grub. Most of the stalls serve up jerk chicken with fried plantain, coleslaw and rice and peas.  

It's worth doing some research before you go about where you want to end up, it's very easy just to get swept along with the crowds otherwise. You might also want to bear in mind that Sunday is labelled the family day and Monday is the main parade day. 

Our pointers? Bring cash with you, wear comfy shoes, pack some toilet roll and arrange to meet friends somewhere ahead of time. Phone signal doesn't happen for anyone and with the streets so busy you'll be really lucky to bump into your pals.

Notting Hill, Ladbroke Grove, Westbourne Park London W10