Notting Hill Carnival
For many people, carnival is the one time they come to Notting Hill, and it's true that the event has a little something for everyone. Plus it's a reminder that neighbourhood has not always been overrun by film stars, antique stalls and tourists. Despite becoming more commercial over the years, there's still a real Caribbean feel to the occasion, and everyone from the area joins in to create what has become a world-famous spectacle. There are the mas parades with dancers, calypso singing competitions, steel pan bands, plenty of extraordinary costumes, the soundsystems playing Drum & Bass, Salsa, Dub, Reggae, Ska, Jazz and everything in between, and of course stalls selling roti, rice, and jerk chicken, which smokes out all the streets and adds to the atmosphere. If you're arriving for the Carnival, your best bet is to walk to the area from Paddington or Kensington, rather than trying to take the tube. In spite of trouble which sometimes makes the news (typically at the end of the weekend), it's generally a peaceful event, particularly on children's day. At times the crowds can get a little claustrophobic, and the streets crushed, so plan to take a breather now and then and escape to the edges, and bring plenty of water.