Every August bank holiday weekend, west London becomes alive and colourful with a massive Caribbean celebration during Europe's biggest street carnival, Notting Hill Carnival. Thanks to Notting Hill Carnival, the streets of West London get filled with music, colours, and flavours. You can witness colourfully dressed performers weave their way through the streets, dance with everyone to the sounds of steel bands and calypso music, and visit the enticing food stands along the route.
Notting Hill Carnival in 2021 / When is Notting Hill Carnival?
Notting Hill Carnival Ticket prices: It's FREE (Main Carnaval)
What is Notting Hill Carnival?
The Notting Hill Carnival began in 1966 as a spin-off of the Trinidad Carnival, which also celebrates Caribbean culture and customs in London. About 500 people joined the Notting Hill Carnival when it initially began in Notting Hill. In 1976, the carnival had grown enough to get the attention of the whole country. However, this resulted in the carnival getting disrupted by riots in 1976 and a few following years, and during that time there were even debates about banning the event. Thankfully, the carnival is no longer disrupted by such unpleasant events, and it is loved and celebrated by everyone. The carnival has now grown to become Europe's biggest street festival, bringing hundreds of thousands of visitors to London, and it continues to get more popular. With over one million people attending throughout the carnival weekend, you can generally expect to witness 50,000 performers in the festival and at least 30 sound systems. Each year, the Notting Hill Carnival takes place on the final weekend of August, including the summer bank holiday Monday. The route of the carnival generally stays the same. It is held on the streets of London W10 and W11.
Notting Hill Carnival in 2020
Notting Hill Carnival was entirely online in 2020, with lots of music and entertainment provided by usual carnival performers, DJs, and artists all through the weekend. The 2020 Notting Hill Carnival included the following.
On Saturday, the Carnival Warm-Up began with Carnival Culture, followed by the Calypso, Steelpan Show, and Groovy Soca.
You may listen to three different channels: the Sound System Channel, the Parade Channel, and the Main Stage Channel.
Some of the greatest Notting Hill Carnival sound systems such as Volcano, Arts-A-Light, and Disya Jeneration will perform live sets.
Calypso, steelpan, and soca from artists such as Brown Sugar, Ms. Desire, and Panash.
Brazilian bands Baque de Axe and Tribo get a shimmy.
An afterparty on BBC Radio 1Xtra concluded the carnival.
As for the schedules of the following years, you can download the Notting Hill Carnival App for free and be up on the carnival.
What is the best way to go to the Notting Hill Carnival?
Because there are so many traffic restrictions during the festival, taking public transportation in London is the easiest method to get to the Notting Hill Carnival. Allow additional time for your travel if you plan to attend the festival since a number of local Tube stations will be closed or disrupted. During the carnival weekend, more buses are usually added; however, they are redirected away from the carnival route. You should check the Transport for London website for the most up-to-date Notting Hill Carnival transportation information before you travel.
What are some of the best tips for Notting Hill Carnival?
If you're traveling in a group or with relatives, make sure to schedule a meeting time and location ahead of time. On the streets, it can get rather crowded, so you may choose to split to explore different sound systems and food stands or go along with the carnival parade.
The cuisine is a very important part of every culture and in Notting Hill Carnival you have over 300 food stalls to choose from. ‘Jamaican Jerk Chicken’ may be the most popular and loved of all the meals, but you should also try Trinidadian ‘Roti’, and Guyanese ‘Pepper Pot’. You also don’t need to worry if you are a vegetarian or a vegan because a lot of the stalls have veggie options. Also, you don’t need to be worried about your safety as well because all stalls must comply with health and safety requirements and are inspected on a regular basis.
Because the carnival is in August, expect it to be hot and sunny, so bring a reusable bottle of water, a nice hat, and some sunscreen for your wellbeing.
Notting Hill Carnival is a joyful and inviting celebration, but like any major celebration, you should watch your back, be careful about pickpockets and keep your valuables out of sight. If you experience any problems with this issue, notify a police officer.
Above all, getting into the carnival spirit is the most important thing! Don’t forget to dance with everyone, check out numerous sound systems, eat some Caribbean food, and even stay for one of the several afterparties!
If you would like to attend or watch an even bigger event in the following years, you can donate to the carnival via their official website. Your help would be greatly appreciated.