1. Travel
You can opt-out at any time. Please refer to our privacy policy for contact information.

Notting Hill Carnival

Europe's Biggest Street Party

By

Background

Notting Hill Carnival has been taking place in London, on the last weekend in August, every year since 1964. Notting Hill Carnival was initiated by London's immigration population from the Caribbean, particularly from Trinidad. Back in the 1950s and 60s, these black immigrants were facing harsh racism: limited job opportunities and poor housing conditions were the norm. They decided to create a festival in the style so synonymous with the Caribbean, to bring people together after the race riots of the 1950's. What began as a small party now has up to two million revelers every August Bank Holiday weekend. They changed people's opinion of the Notting Hill area of west London – what was once considered dangerous and vulgar but is now one of the most fashionable districts in London.

Portobello Road Market in Notting Hill is one of the most famous street markets in the world. The area is also famous for being the setting for the film, Notting Hill.

Notting Hill Carnival is now such a huge event it takes the whole year to plan and needs thousands of people to bring it all together for the two day carnival.

Six disciplines make up the carnival:
  • Mas' (from costume/masquerade)
  • Steelband
  • Calypso (political, social and satirical commentary, set to music)
  • Soca (the traditional music of Carnival, a fusion of Soul and Calypso)
  • Static Sound Systems
  • Samba

When is Notting Hill Carnival?

Notting Hill Carnival always takes place during the last weekend in August, on the Sunday and Bank Holiday Monday.

The first day of the carnival (Sunday) is traditionally Children's Day, with the parade and events aimed at the whole family.

The second day (Monday) is for all ages to dance in the streets. The parade floats keep moving through the streets till about 9pm and then you can move on to the local clubs and bars. Pumping sound systems around the parade route vie for your attention. As well as music and dancing, authentic Caribbean cuisine is available, with jerk chicken, curries, and Jamaican patties at the top of the menu.

The Notting Hill Carnival is free to attend but just be prepared for the crowds.

Getting to Notting Hill Carnival

Use public transport, as most roads are closed to traffic for the weekend. Use Citymapper or Journey Planner to plan your route by public transport.

Note, some tube stations may close temporarily due to safety reasons if they become overcrowded. You can pick a leaflet from all tube stations with travel information for Notting Hill Carnival, including a map of the route, recommended viewing areas, plus tips on staying safe in the crowds.

Notting Hill Movie Location Walk
While in the area, you might like to try this self-guided Notting Hill Film Location Walk.

  1. About.com
  2. Travel
  3. London Travel
  4. London Events
  5. August Events & Festivals
  6. Notting Hill Carnival

©2014 About.com. All rights reserved.