Party atmosphere as carnival begins

Exotic dancers, vibrant music and the smell of Caribbean food have livened up London as Europe's biggest street festival hit the capital.

Thousands of people cheered Notting Hill Carnival's colourful procession through the sunny streets to the beat of steel drums and sound systems.

Lines of traditional floats and brightly costumed dancers paraded along the three-and-a-half mile route during the event which marks the carnival's 48th year.

The party atmosphere saw face-painted children and families dancing on the side-lines and even police officers showed off their moves in front of the crowds.

Sunday is the carnival's family day and children and young people travelled on many of the floats from schools, community groups and sports clubs which were decorated with flags, flowers, feathers and jewels.

The celebrations continue an unforgettable summer for London, coming between the Olympic and Paralympic Games.

By 8pm on Sunday, the Metropolitan Police had arrested 49 people during the course of the day.

Officers were staying in the area as people began dispersing after dark.

Eighteen of the arrests were for drug-related offences; six were for suspected robberies; five were for criminal damage; five were public order offences, and and seven were assaults, including two for grievous bodily harm.

A Metropolitan Police spokesman said the most serious incident happened at about 5.15pm in Golbourne Gardens in Kensington, west London, when a 14-year-old boy was slashed with a sharp object.