The Notting Hill Carnival Is Almost Here – And You Really Shouldn’t Miss It

It’s summer time in the UK, which means it’s time for festivals and carnivals. And the Bank Holiday weekend towards the end of August sees one of the entire country’s biggest and best carnivals, when the streets of West London come alive as Europe’s largest street festival takes place in the city of London.

Notting Hill Carnival is a vivid spectacle representing London’s multicultural past and present, which attracts nearly one million visitors every year.

Since 1964 the capital city’s Afro-Caribbean communities have celebrated their culture and traditions with a two-day festival of live music ranging from reggae to dub to salsa, soca floats, steel bands, uplifting beats, jerk chicken and fried plantain food stalls, plus much, much more

Ever since its inception the Carnival has grown exponentially, attracting ever more revellers to its unique spectacle of floats featuring calypso, mas and pan bands and a series of sound systems for alfresco dancing.

Approximately 500 people attended the very first Carnival – which was an offshoot of the Trinidad Carnival. Today, it’s one of London’s biggest cultural attractions, with over 50,000 performers taking part in the celebrations.

You can be sure of dense crowds and a vibrant celebration of music, movement and masquerade, and there are some amazing stalls of food to accompany the cultural celebrations.

We’d recommend the family-friendly Sunday as the best day to take your children to the Carnival, as the smaller crowds and the child-friendly floats create a fun vibe.

The main parade on Monday normally takes a winding path from Great Western Road, along Chepstow Road and Westbourne Grove to Ladbroke Grove.

In the evening, after the parade has finished, the floats leave the streets and people continue the festivities at one of the many Notting Hill Carnival after-parties.

It’s worth noting that Ladbroke Grove station is usually closed on both days, with other stations in the nearby area permitting exit only; if you do plan to visit the area on either of the days, we would recommend you taking a look at the Transport for London website to plan your route.

Here at DUKES London, we can certainly provide you with an amazing base to start off your Carnival day, as we are only a short journey from the route itself.

For more information on staying with us over that weekend, or at any time, feel free to contact us here. If you’re bringing the family for the Sunday, why not ask about our bespoke family getaways, and let our experienced concierge take the hassle out of your stay and organise everything you need for a truly memorable experience with your family in London.

Designs of the Year 2014

The seventh annual Designs of the Year exhibition comes to London’s prestigious Design Museum on the 26th March. The modern museum is located on the banks of the Thames and boasts two main galleries containing collections tracing the development of design, from its origins to contemporary works.

This year’s 76 nominees include not only familiar brands and well-known designers such as David Chipperfield and Miuccia Prada, but also smaller names and student projects. The exhibition offers something to suit a variety of artistic tastes with its seven different categories, which are architecture, digital, fashion, furniture, graphic design, transport and product design. A high-profile judging panel will choose the shortlisted nominations, which will then be exhibited in the museum from the 26th March.  The overall champion of the competition will be announced in May, and the winner will hold the ‘Design of the Year’ title for a full 52 weeks.

The exhibition opens its doors on 28th March, and runs until 7th July.  Tickets cost £12.40 for adults, or £9.30 for students or the unemployed, and are available from the Design Museum website. Why not come over to DUKES London after checking out the finalists at the exhibition, for a luxurious meal cooked by our talented chef Nigel Mendham? Reservations can be made via the DUKES London website.

Fashion Rules in Kensington Palace

This year, the picturesque Kensington Palace has added an exciting new collection to its existing exhibitions.  ‘Fashion Rules’ is a beautiful display of regal, designer dresses worn by Queen Elizabeth II, Princess Margaret and Diana, Princess of Wales throughout the years.   The exhibition follows the evolution of royal fashion starting from the Queen’s glamorous engagement dresses of the 50s, right up to the brightly-coloured ball gowns worn by Princess Diana in the 80’s.

The entire range of designer dresses is displayed alongside film and photography from the period to set the scene of fashion trends at the time.  Vogue covers adorn the walls alongside the 21 never-seen-before dresses showing how the outfits reflected the trends of the moment; being both fashionable and suitable for royal attire.  A firm favourite among visitors is the stunning red gown worn by Princess Diana in Saudi Arabia in 1986.

Whether fashionista, royalist or historian, this exhibition, named ‘the most interesting, elegant exhibition of Kensington Palace’ has much to offer all audiences, by giving an interesting and engaging insight into the history of royal fashion over the past 60 years.

After absorbing the art and culture of the exhibitions, come and relax in DUKES London beautiful conservatory and enjoy our delicious afternoon tea.  Or if visiting on a Sunday why not enjoy a fabulous Sunday Brunch at Restaurant Thirty Six?