Have you heard of Notting Hill Carnival? Find below some information about this lively celebration!
Notting Hill Carnival
Notting Hill Carnival, one of the largest street festivals in the world, is a vivid spectacle representing London’s multicultural past and present.
This celebration of diversity was founded in 1959 to help overcome racial tensions. Claudia Jones, an immigrant from Trinidad, had a vision to throw a mixed celebration to repair cultural differences, celebrate diversity and also to introduce culture through something everyone can enjoy: music.
More than 50 years later, Notting Hill has gone from poor to posh, and this carnival is considered one of the wildest outside of Rio.
When and where does Notting Hill Carnival take place?
Carnival traditionally takes place on the bank holiday weekend at the end of August. The celebrations take over the areas of Notting Hill, Ladbroke Grove and Westbourne Park.
What to expect at the carnival?
The best way to get in the mood for the carnival is the Panorama steel band competition, which precedes the official carnival start. The best steel bands from across the UK prepare a music piece and compete for the title of “National Champions of Steel.”
Children’s parade: Sunday is the day of the children’s parade and is also the day when the costume prizes are awarded. The parade starts at around 9am and marks the beginning of the carnival parades. It is perfect for all those who want to enjoy the street party in a less busy environment.
Sunday Main parade: The main parade takes place on bank holiday Monday, starting at 9.30am and finishing at around 8.30pm. Expect to see amazing costumes, which are beautifully decorated, and hundreds of food stalls selling delicious cuisine from many places around the world. Also, get ready to dance to the tunes of the many sound systems filling the streets with Caribbean music.
During the carnival weekend there are more than 300 stalls lining the streets, with the majority selling delicious authentic Caribbean food. Caribbean cuisine has many influences including French, Spanish, Dutch, British and African. This diversity is reflected by the range of dishes available. The list of delicious food is endless, so be adventurous!
As well as the spectacular parades, there is plenty of fun to be had at the 40+ sound systems placed around the Notting Hill area. You will find sound systems playing everything from reggae, hip hop, jazz, swing and blues to drum ‘n’ bass. The carnival officially ends at 8.30pm on both days, but there are lots of after parties throughout London to help you keep the party going late into the night.
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