Kings Road and Notting Hill Carnival
King's Road and Notting Hill Carnival
Chelsea's fashionable and hip King's Road begins at the Peter Jones department store's curved facade at Sloane Square. The well-known street gained fame in the 1960s, when fashion figures like Vivienne Westwood and Mary Quant could often be seen browsing the eclectic boutiques.
Today, King's Road remains one of the world's best shopping streets, with a great number of independent clothing and shoe stores and a good selection of contemporary furnishing shops. Visitors can buy sophisticated men's clothing at Gieves and Hawkes, browse gold charms at Dodo, get the latest men's accessories at Boggi, and find contemporary, feminine frocks at Hoss Intropia. More fashion-forward womenswear can be found at the Pinko Boutique, Comptoir des Contonniers, BCBG Max Azria, Whistles and Banana Republic. Other stores include Coccinelle, a premier handbag shop, Space NK, which offers innovative beauty products from across the world, and Cath Kidston, a chic store dedicated to home decor and fabrics.
Since 1965, King's Road has also played host to Europe's biggest street festival, the Notting Hill Carnival. The annual event, put on by London's West Indian community, attracts more than one million people each year. The street comes alive with colourful, vibrant costumes, hundreds of food stalls tempting visitors with the tastes and smells of traditional Caribbean dishes and more than 40 sound systems that amplify the music of steel drum bands.
Music is at the Carnival's heart, with both contemporary and traditional sounds echoing through the air for miles. Historically, calypso and soca rhythms have been most prevalent, but recent years have brought everything from R&B, house, funk, reggae, dubstep and more to the streets. Local bands rock live stages, and the eclectic lineup has also included international artists like Jamiroquai and Wyclef Jean in years past.
If music is the heart of the Carnival, food is its backbone. The streets are filled with the intoxicating aromas of Caribbean foods like jerk chicken, rice and peas, fried plantains, curried goat and other exotic cuisines. Visitors can wash their feast down with a shot of strong rum punch, another Caribbean tradition.
The celebratory spirit is evident in the costumes worn by participants. It is not uncommon to see festival-goers outfitted in colourful costumes complete with elaborate masks, layers of feathers, sun-catching sequins and plenty of glitter.
For shopping and celebrating, King's Road can be reached by the Sloane Square tube station, numerous bus lines and via the Imperial Wharf railway station. The street is also accessible via the river bus services at Chelsea Harbour Pier. There are plenty of hotel's near to Kings Road and Notting Hill Carnival, which means that there is never far to walk with you heavy bags, or with your feet exhausted having walked all the way around Notting Hill Carnival! Also worth a visit is London's Camden Market, which guarantees fashion, food and music on an international every single day except December 25.
Where is Notting Hill?
London's famous Notting Hill Carnival takes place here