Notting Hill Carnival

The Notting Hill Carnival, Europe’s largest street festival, takes place every August Bank Holiday when the whole of West London comes alive. On the Sunday and Monday of the August Bank Holiday weekend, over 1 million Londoners and tourists will join the street party, which every year becomes bigger, brighter and wilder.  

There are over 40,000 Carnival volunteers and participants in the parades – with a myriad of floats, masquerade bands in costume, steel pan bands, calypso music and sound systems, plus an assortment of street food and craft stalls dotted around the neighbouring streets. It is a huge celebration and illustrates London’s multicultural population at its best. Over the years, the costumes have become more vibrant and creative and rival those seen at the world’s largest Carnival in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil during Mardi Gras.

The roots of the Notting Hill Carnival began in Trinidad where the first carnival was held in 1833 to mark an end to slavery in the Caribbean. It is said that the Notting Hill Carnival began life in 1964 as an offshoot of the Trinidad Carnival  to showcase the many steel band musicians who played in London every weekend. During those days, West London was home to a large Caribbean population who had emigrated to London during the 1950s and these bands would walk and play along the streets of Notting Hill drawing the residents, both black and white,  out of their houses.  The parade of steel bands soon progressed to people dressing up in colourful costumes alongside the bands. By 1976, the Notting Hill Carnival was already attracting around 150,000 people.

Be amazed by the colours, sights, sounds and smells of the Notting Hill Carnival! Will you be joining the crowds at the Notting Hill Carnival this year? Send us your photos of the Best of the Notting Hill Carnival!

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