Britain welcomes bank holiday with arms wide open as sun shines on Notting Hill Carnival

After a rainy start to the bank holiday, better weather has people dancing in the streets
  • @kunaldutta

Just as Britain steeled itself for the inevitable end of summer, London’s Notting Hill Carnival provided one last reprieve with the skies clearing and the sun beaming on performers. Bank Holiday Monday is forecast to provide one more burst of good weather that would make 2013 the hottest summer since 2006.

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In west London on Sunday, thousands of carnival revellers gathered in flamboyant costumes to take in the thumping basslines, sizzling meat and piercing whistles that filled the air as floats travelled from Westbourne Park underground station, up Kensal Road, along Ladbroke Grove and down Westbourne Grove.

One of the first groups to take to the streets was the youth engagement charity Kinetika Bloco, whose dancers wore pink, green and white costumes while a brass band played songs from The Clash’s “Rock the Casbah” to Daft Punk’s “Get Lucky.”

Up to one million people are expected to attend the Carnival, now in its 49th year, to experience Caribbean culture, food, music and dance.

The Metropolitan Police reported 45 arrests by the end of Sunday for various offences including carrying an offensive weapon, drugs, theft and drink-driving.

A spokesman for the force said 6,000 officers were on duty at the carnival and just under 7,000 would be attending on Monday. London Ambulance said by noon it had treated 41 people and taken six to hospital.

The sunshine was also a welcome relief in Leeds and Reading where the twin festivals drew into their final day. The swamp-like mud that had embroiled the festivals began to dry as warm and sunny weather broke through the crowds at lunchtime. Headliners Biffy Clyro, Green Day and Eminem were given a rapturous reception by festival-goers.

Meanwhile, it emerged that a family had to be rescued from their sinking car after it became trapped in floodwater as it was being driven under a railway bridge in Essex. Dramatic video footage captured the scene as the youngsters were pulled from the windows of the 4x4 vehicle after getting stuck under a railway bridge in Hockley, Essex, on Saturday.

Scott Swinford, 30, from Southend, was in the Mitsubishi Pajero with his eight-year-old son Reece, his niece Jessica, six, and nephew Alfie, four, when they became trapped.

“I’ve never seen anything like that before,” Mr Swinford said. “As I put the car into reverse the current of the flood water just lifted us further in. I quickly opened the windows so we wouldn’t become trapped but the water started coming in through the floor, air vents and windows.”

Mr Swinford eventually recovered his vehicle by tow truck at about 11.30pm on Saturday when the water had subsided.

Most of the country will be dry with the warmest temperatures in the south today. In Hampshire it could reach 27C, while London and the rest of the South East should get highs of 25C. The north of England and Scotland will see temperatures just beyond 20C. The coldest part of the UK will be 14C in western Scotland.

Traffic jams are expected on roads to the coasts, including the A23 to Brighton, M3 to Dorset and the M5 to Devon as sun-seekers hit the beach for the last warm day of the summer holidays.

VisitEngland said that 4.5 million adults taking Bank Holiday weekend short breaks will be spending £1.1bn, with 6.5m day-trippers spending another £200m.