Notting Hill Carnival is considered as one of the largest carnival celebrations in the world. Every year it attracts around 1 million visitors to the quaint and famous streets of West London’s favourite neighbourhood, Notting Hill. Certainly, you have a chance to get to experience the colourful and vibrant culture of the Caribbean in Europe.
A Feast of Caribbean Culture at the Notting Hill Carnival!
The Caribbean has long been renowned for its colourful culture, tasty cuisine, and friendly people, and since 1964 some of this culture of music, dance and food has been shared with the people of London, the UK and the rest of the world at the Notting Hill Carnival.
The carnival came about thanks to the Caribbean’s top carnival event, the Trinidad and Tobago Carnival, when many immigrants came from there to London in the 1950s and 1960s. Despite racial tension and poor living conditions the immigrants looked forward to a day when they could celebrate their culture out in the streets of Notting Hill, side by side with people from many different cultures and backgrounds. In 1964 that happened for the first time, and the carnival has gone from strength to strength in the decades following. Now you can expect to be jostling for a good space on the carnival route along with a million or so other spectators, making this one of the most popular carnival festivals in the world.
The Notting Hill Carnival Parade
Though there are events taking place before the main carnival parade, it’s the parade that really attracts the big numbers to the streets of Notting Hill. Hundreds of floats pass spectators by and they are filled with the most amazing and colourful costumes you will likely ever see! And then there’s the music – vibrant Caribbean music gets most spectators dancing on the streets, but if that doesn’t then the sound systems set up around the parade route probably will!
If you’re making a weekend of it make sure you catch the steel pan band competition that usually takes place on the Saturday in Hyde Park. You’ll get to experience some stunning musicianship as bands compete for the coveted Champions of Steel title! And if you’re visiting with children make sure you go along to the Carnival Children’s Parade on Sunday. This is a very family friendly event that’s smaller and safer for children than the main Notting Hill Parade, and it’s specifically geared towards children with children parading in some wonderful costumes and playing music as they go.
Visiting the Carnival
The carnival takes place around the streets of one of London’s most famous and popular districts, Notting Hill. This bohemian neighbourhood is a great place to visit at any time of the year but really comes alive during the carnival which takes place every year over the August Bank Holiday weekend. Enjoy attractions like the famous Portobello Road Market, and this area’s many excellent restaurants.