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Notting Hill Carnival
It started off in 1964 as a street festival organised by the West Indian community in Notting Hill and now it’s celebrated every August bank holiday. It’s become a huge Caribbean carnival, which attracts over a million Londoners and tourists and, after Rio, is the largest street festival in the world. Traditionally steel bands, calypso and soca music were the sounds of the carnival. But now it’s more mixed with reggae, ska, drum & bass, hip-hop, and house music from static sound systems and live stages featuring local bands and international artists. There are dozens of West Indian food stalls cooking jerk chicken and rice and peas. Levi Roots’ ‘Reggae Reggae’ Sauce is made to his grandmother’s secret recipe and has been a Carnival success for years, and has now gone global since his appearance on the TV show, Dragons’ Den.
Latimer Road, Notting Hill Gate or Westbourne Park tube
Ace Cafe London
North Circular Road
Stonebridge NW10 7UD
The Ace Cafe was originally built as a roadside cafe in 1938. Bombed in WWII, it was rebuilt in 1949 and it soon became popular as a meeting place for bikers where they could drink tea, eat egg and chips and listen to Rock ‘n’ Roll on the jukebox. With its mix of motorbikes and Rock ‘n’ Roll, the Ace Cafe helped launch the careers of bands and racers. The motorcycle business boomed in the ’50s and ’60s but by 1969 it was in decline and the Ace Cafe closed. In the ’90s Mark Wilsmore organised a reunion on the old site to mark the 25th anniversary of its closure. Twelve thousand people turned up. And in 2001, after a complete makeover, Mark reopened the Ace Cafe, and now it hosts bands and classic car or bike events from Petrolhead Nirvana to Sidecar Saturday almost every night of the year.
020 8961 1000
Stonebridge Park tube