Music, masquerades and dancing
Notting Hill Carnival is the largest street party in Britain, if not Europe, and takes place every August Bank Holiday weekend. The first-ever carnival in 1964 was held to showcase the talents of Caribbean steel band musicians. However, the music had such a profound effect on Caribbean residents of Notting Hill on that day that the event quickly evolved into much more. Notting Hill Carnival celebrates the abolition of the slave trade and social solidarity. The elaborate costumes, or masquerades, stem from the mimicking of fashions of former European masters.
Notting Hill Carnival is a two-day festival in London’s W10, where on day one the festivities begin with a children’s parade. On day two, some 60-plus bands take to the streets of Notting Hill for the adult’s parade alongside some 50,000 vibrantly-clad participants for the main event. The 5 aspects of the Carnival are masquerade, calypso, sound systems, steel pan bands and soca. Think 38 sound systems, world music stages and plenty of food and other fun to be had. Keep an eye out for official after parties! Tie your trip to London in with one of the city's finest festivals!
When is it?
Tips and tricks
Notting Hill Carnival is a hugely popular time to visit Notting Hill, if not London. Booking your flights, accommodation and transfers in advance is recommended. Ask Student Flights to hook you up.
Allow plenty of time to get there. Public transport will be extra busy and there will be road closures. Your closest tube stations are Notting Hill Gate, Holland Park and Ladbroke Park.
Check your itinerary for what is playing at the World Music Stage at Powis Square – from reggae to dub and beyond, you will be impressed.
Carnival Bands start the parades both days from around 9am and usually finishes around 7pm.
From Jerk chicken to beyond, don’t miss this opportunity to try amazing Caribbean cuisine. There are street vendors everywhere.
Wear comfy shoes and be prepared for English weather – pack for sun and rain!