26 August 2023
London's Notting Hill district is usually home to the world's rich and famous. But on the last weekend in August, the district in west London becomes a carnival area. The Notting Hill Carnival is popular with locals and tourists. Check what's going on during this event below.
The Notting Hill Carnival is a multi-day event held on the August bank holiday weekend. Notting Hill Carnival traditionally takes place outdoors, which can cause surprises even in the middle of summer in the British capital ;) Every year, up to two million people attend the festival. This makes the Notting Hill Carnival the largest street festival of its kind in the whole of Europe. The event is characterized by the particularly large participation of people with African and Caribbean roots.
On these days, the metropolis on the Thames seems to want and be able to compete even with the carnival in Rio de Janeiro. The sounds of steel drums and other musical instruments can be heard everywhere in the parks, alleys and streets of the district. In addition, there is a great exuberance.
The carnival in the west of the English capital has been around since 1964, which is hard to believe for the otherwise reserved English. However, its origins were less celebratory, as the Notting Hill Carnival resulted from protests against attacks on migrants. Its founder was Claudia Jones, an activist who hails from the Caribbean. But even then, the protests resulted in a big party that took place at St. Pancras Town Hall. The idea was to use culture and celebration to draw attention to the fundamental right of inviolable human dignity and, above all, the right to equality. The motto of that time has not lost its validity even today: A people’s art is the genesis of their freedom.
The great success of the previous events led to the fact that the Notting Hill Carnival was now repeated every year. The celebrations became more and more popular and the halls in which it was held became larger and larger. Eventually, no hall was enough and the carnival was moved to the streets of Notting Hill. Since then, every year at the end of August, a huge colourful queue of people moves through the streets of the city.
London and the Caribbean. At first glance, that sounds more than contradictory. Not so with the Notting Hill Carnival. The Caribbean influence at the Notting Hill Carnival grew and the event became more and more lively and exotic. By the mid-1970s, the number of participants had already grown to more than 150,000 people. The event was also supported by the royal family. King Charles III (Then Prince Charles) was passionately committed to the carnival in Notting Hill, especially when it was threatened with a ban because of riots.
The festivities continue throughout the weekend. The start is made by the London steel bands on Saturday. The carnival opens accordingly with the Panorama. This is the name of the steelpan bands competition. The UK National Panorama Steelband Competition, as it is officially called, takes place at Emslie Horniman's Pleasance Park. This competition is the most famous and prestigious steel band competition outside the Caribbean. Steel bands from all around the UK take part in the competition. The special flair comes from the outdoor event. It is only here that the sounds of the steel drums come into their own.
The competition starts in the afternoon and does not end before midnight. There are stalls with regional and international cuisine, huge TV screens and DJs. Night owls hang out in the bars in Notting Hill and all this happens to the wonderful sounds of the carnival. Especially the afternoon well into the evening is worthwhile for the whole family.
On Sunday, the event is entirely in the hands of children. During the Notting Hill Carnival parade, the children (and adults) compete for the most beautiful carnival costumes and the best music. This is where the foundation is laid for future generations of carnival goers.
On Monday, which is the August Bank Holiday, a British public holiday, the main parade traditionally takes place. The carnival route of the parade leads more than five kilometres through the main streets of the west London district of Notting Hill. The steel bands pass through the parade route. In addition, there are mobile sound systems, exotically costumed groups and more than forty stages and installations on the entire area of the event.
The faces of the participants are adorned with colourful masks. In addition, one carries unusual costumes. Culinary exotic tastes also get their money's worth. It is reported that during the Notting Hill Carnival, up to 10,000 litres of beer from Jamaica run down the thirsty throats of the participants.
Even away from the carnival, West London has a lot to offer. For example, Kensington Palace. Princess Victoria was born in this royal palace. She later became one of the most famous queens of England. If you want to learn more about the queen, you can find interesting facts in the exhibition, for example, about the magnificent royal wardrobe of His Majesty.
The district of Notting Hill stands for culinary diversity not only because of the carnival. The district is famous for English lager beer. In a convivial and relaxed atmosphere, visitors to cosy and quaint pubs can enjoy typical English beer. In the pubs of the district, you can get classic English cuisine.
If you are looking for exclusive shopping and exquisite restaurants, Notting Hill is definitely the place to be anyway. The real shopping mile in the district is Portobello Road. Also, take the opportunity to participate in the huge antique market on Saturday and browse for unusual things. Another shopping mile is along Westbourne Grove. An insider tip is to visit the vintage stores and restaurants on Golborne Road.
Learn more about the Notting Hill Carnival
1. Go to the official website and double check the event availability, prices and regulations.
2. Check below the accommodations in hotels in London available during the the event. ⤵︎
2.1. Pick a hotel room by location and by price.
2.2. The search is done for 1 guest and the entire duration of the event. Click on the 'Filter', 'Guests', and 'Dates' buttons to adjust the search.
🏨 In the 'Filters' section, you can tell if you are looking for hotels or vacation homes. Here, you can filter the results by stars, review ratings, and budget.
👨👩👧👦 In this section, you can specify the number of guests (adults and children) and the number of rooms you want to book.
📆 Finally, you can change the date of your stay.
2.3. Save more money! Some hotel rooms are provided by multiple hotel booking websites. You will see them on the top of the hotel room details when you hover the mouse over the room.Be it Booking.com, Expedia, Trivago, Opodo, or other providers, select the best price provider for the room during the chosen period.
2.4. If hotel rooms are not available around the event location, you can zoom out or search by a nearby city/town name. If you have a specific hotel in mind, you can even search the particular hotel name.
2.5. Bonus tip: Switch to Experiences search. Perhaps you will find great tours and activities!
2.6. Pro tip: The map of the experiences may help you find the most vibrant areas in the city and the best locations where you can look for accommodations for your stay.
3. Check the flight, bus, and train travel options to the event location
4. If everything is fine you can buy all the tickets