Taking place over the August bank holiday, this street carnival will get you dancing to the beat and munching on some delicious treats!

What is it?

Held every August bank holiday since 1966, the Notting Hill Carnival is a large celebration that takes place in the streets of Notting Hill in London. Led by members of the West Indian community, the festival is the largest of its kind in Europe and one of the largest street festivals in the world.

The first carnival started as a way to show the talent of the steel band musicians who played in the Earls Court of London. As the bands played in the street, local residents who came from the Caribbean were drawn outside by the music which reminded them of home.

Since then, the carnival has become a spectacular display of colourful sights and costumes, music and sounds, scrumptious food, and solidarity. It’s a huge street party to which everyone is invited, including you!

Sunday is Children’s Day featuring a shorter parade route and prizes for costumes. On Bank Holiday Monday, the main parade takes place. The parades are a feast for the eyes with their many extravagant floats and costumed dancers. In all, the festival is twenty miles of entertainment and fun!

The Music

There are over forty static sound systems in place, where DJs show off their talent playing the tunes of R&B, Reggae, Funk, and much more. Local bands and international musicians perform on live stages, producing an eclectic mix of music.

The traditional sounds of the Notting Hill Carnival are calypso, soca, and steel pan, so don’t miss the opportunity to discover these types of music, popular among Trinidadians for centuries.

The Food

The streets of the carnival are filled with the sweet smells of traditional Caribbean food. You have the chance to try out exotic cuisine such as jerk chicken, curries, and fried plantain. You can also taste a rum punch that is sure to provide a real kick.

Enjoy some of the sights from last year’s festival set to soca music to give you an idea of what may be in store at this year’s Notting Hill Carnival!

Wolfgang Huerst / YouTube


Photo credit: Silke Ebel (CC BY-SA 2.0)