Notting Hill Carnival has returned in spectacular fashion to the streets of west London, with millions expected over the bank holiday weekend.
It is the first time the carnival has been held since 2019 because of Covid, which put the famous event on hold in 2020 and 2021.
Roads are once again closed around Ladbroke Grove and Westbourne Park as the major cultural celebration gets underway in the capital.
Revellers described feelings of excitement and positivity, seeing their creations come to life.
Bhavini Goyate, 29, who lives in Harrow, said: ‘To come back together is so special because a whole community are coming together again.
She added: ‘To convene this way means a lot anyway, but especially after everything we have been through, it means a lot more.
‘I think it’s going to be an amazing emotional weekend.’
Aaron Williams, 28, who plays in the Mangrove Steelband, said it feels like ‘Christmas’.
He said: ‘This is my Christmas, this is my favourite part of the year.
‘I’m very excited about it coming back, I’ve missed it a lot. It is good to have the vibes back and to see everyone out enjoying themselves.’
Sadiq Khan urged everyone attending to arrive early amid a west London bus strike which is set to last for 48 hours.
‘This community-led celebration of Caribbean history and culture has become one of the world’s biggest street festivals and part of the very fabric of this city,’ he said.
Metropolitan Police officers are on duty to keep the public and revellers safe during the bank holiday weekend.
Commander Dr Alison Heydari said: ‘Being able to attend Carnival in person has been sorely missed for the last couple of years, so we are expecting large crowds in the Notting Hill area this weekend.
‘We are also working to keep the area safe with the festival organisers implementing ‘safer spaces’ where women and girls can go and seek advice from specially trained professionals, as well as the police.
‘Our officers are here to help you, if you feel like something doesn’t look right please speak with us.’
The carnival takes place each August bank holiday in west London in Notting Hill, Westbourne Park and parts of Kensington.
The music, dancing, food and drink is rooted in Caribbean culture and is influenced by the Windrush generation who largely settled in Notting Hill.
It was set up by Rhaune Laslett, who lived in Notting Hill and wanted to celebrate the diversity of the area.
After 55 years, it is now the second biggest carnival in the world, only behind Rio carnival in Brazil.
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