London’s Notting Hill Carnival is one of the largest street festivals found in the world and it definitely feels that way when you find yourself dancing in the middle of narrow alleys. The Notting Hill Carnival was originally created to help overcome the racial tensions found in the area, so this celebration of diversity was founded. What better way for everyone to forget their differences than by throwing a massive street party for everyone. Add in some culture into the mix through the music and everyone becomes friends.
40 years later and the Notting Hill Carnival is still going strong, it’s now more of a celebration of the culture with music, floats, dancers and of course some of the best street food available. In fact, Notting Hill has gone from poor to posh and is certainly regarded as one of the wildest carnivals outside of Rio. A little fact for you: Prince Charles has long been a supporter of the Notting Hill Carnival, which is estimated to bring in at least £100 million each year.
Be prepared to discover a fantastic day out with a mix of family friendly events which are usually held on the second day of the carnival, including fancy dress competitions for the children.
Monday is better known as ‘Adults Day’ (held on a bank holiday) where things take more of a sexy twist! The parade focuses on just four styles for the day: masquerade, steel drums, calypso, and SOCA (sounds of the Caribbean and Africa). The incredible amount of Jamaican style sound stages results in floats having a ‘battle of the bands’ where mash-ups of calypso vs. drum and bass, dance hall vs disco happen. This Jamaican mash-up definitely makes for some wild, full contact dancing.
Along with the intense music and street dancing, you’ll discover the sea of every bright colour possibly visible to the human eye. The sexy sequin covered outfits come with a copious amount of bare flesh, with plenty of booty shaking along to the sounds of samba. Feel up for a dance? Don’t have a crazy costume? Don’t worry! Usually for a small fee of around £10, you can get yourself a colourful tshirt and a spot to join in with the party behind the float 😉
Make sure you take a moment between dancing to sample some of the most amazing street food known to man. Yes I’m talking about jerk chicken and many other Caribbean dishes! – Yum!
Carnival Route & Getting There
Travelling to and from the Notting Hill Carnival will be restricted all weekend (29th – 31st August). It is well advised to work out your best route in advance as everywhere will be heavily congested. To avoid the peak congestion, it may be worth arriving early or late to the carnival.
You can find out the best travel advice and this years carnival route on the official Notting Hill Carnival website