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Every year the streets of West London come alive, with the sounds and smells of Europe’s biggest street festival. Twenty miles of vibrant colourful costumes surround over 40 static sound systems, hundreds of Caribbean food stalls,(make sure you visit Mama’s Jerk Station, on the corner of Portobello Rd and Oxford Gardens) over 40,000 volunteers and over 1 million Notting Hill carnival revellers.
Starting its life as a local festival set up by the West Indian community of the Notting Hill area, it has now become a full-blooded Caribbean carnival, attracting millions of visitors from all over the globe. With many astonishing floats and the sounds of the traditional steel drum bands, scores of massive sound systems plus not forgetting the hundreds of stalls that line the streets of Notting Hill. The Notting Hill Carnival is arguably London’s most exciting annual event.
The Notting Hill Carnival used to get under way on the Saturday with the steel band competition. Sunday is Kids’ Day, when the costume prizes are awarded. On Bank Holiday Monday, the main parade takes place. It generally begins on Great Western Road, then winds its way along Chepstow Road, on to Westbourne Grove, and then Ladbroke Grove. In the evening, the floats leave the streets in procession, and people carry continue partying at the many Notting Hill Carnival after parties.