Notting Hill Carnival is an annual festival that takes place in the Notting Hill neighborhood of London, usually on the August Bank Holiday weekend.
The carnival is the largest street festival in Europe and attracts over a million people every year. When it comes to summer events and things to do in Summer in London, this is up there among must dos in London.
It celebrates the culture and traditions of the Caribbean community in London and features colorful parades, lively music, and delicious food. In this post, we will explore some fascinating facts about Notting Hill Carnival.
The carnival also attracts tourists from around the world, who come to experience the vibrant culture and energy of the festival.
Facts About Notting Hill You Probably Didnt Know About
There are plent of things to do in Notting Hill and we have covered everything from cafes, pubs, bars, cute cinemas, markets, delicious fish and chips in Notting Hill, restaurants, amazing brunch spots and much more but when summer comes, this is the place to be!
If you want to stay close to the action we have also shared tips on the best Airbnbs in Notting Hill or these hotels perfect for Notting Hill Carnival.
The Carnival Was Started By Caribbean Immigrants
Notting Hill Carnival was first held in 1966 and was organized by Caribbean immigrants who wanted to showcase their culture and traditions.
The carnival was a way for the community to come together and celebrate their heritage, and it has since become one of the most popular events in London.
It Is A Two-Day Event
Notting Hill Carnival is a two-day event that takes place on Sunday and Monday of the August Bank Holiday weekend.
Sunday is usually designated as “Family Day,” with activities and entertainment geared towards families and children. Monday is the main event, with the spectacular parade and live music performances.
The Parade Is The Highlight Of The Carnival
The Notting Hill Carnival parade is the highlight of the festival and features colorful costumes, floats, and music.
The parade starts at Great Western Road and travels along Chepstow Road, Westbourne Grove, and Ladbroke Grove. It is a dazzling spectacle of Caribbean culture and attracts thousands of spectators every year.
The Costumes Are Works Of Art
The costumes worn by the performers in the Notting Hill Carnival parade are works of art and are painstakingly made by hand.
The costumes feature intricate beading, feathers, and fabrics, and are designed to reflect the colors and traditions of the Caribbean. Many of the costumes are inspired by the traditional Carnival costumes of Trinidad and Tobago.
The Carnival Has A Long History Of Social And Political Activism
Notting Hill Carnival has a long history of social and political activism and has often been used as a platform for protests and demonstrations. In the 1970s, the carnival was a response to racial tension and discrimination in London.
It was also used as a way to raise awareness about issues affecting the Caribbean community, such as police brutality and housing discrimination.
Second Largest Carnival In The World
Behind the carnival in Rio de Janeiro, Notting Hill is the second largest in the world.
Contributes £93 million To London Economy
Notting Hill Carnival is not just a cultural event, but also a major economic boost for London. It generates millions of pounds in revenue for local businesses and creates thousands of jobs.
Notting Hill Carnival is definitely a big supporter of the city’s economy. It’s estimated that Carnival contributes £93 million to London.
Might want to be careful if you don’t want to be accosted with sweets on Sunday of Carnival. It’s a festival tradition for Carnival-goers to slap each other with chocolate on this day.
Requires A Serious Number of Volunteers
It requires 40,000 volunteers and 9000 police officers to man the parade each year.
The Music Is A Fusion Of Caribbean Styles
The music at Notting Hill Carnival is a fusion of Caribbean styles, including calypso, soca, reggae, and steelpan.
The live music performances are held on various stages throughout the carnival route and feature both established and up-and-coming artists. The music is one of the main draws of the festival and keeps the crowds dancing all day and night.
Food Is A Big Part Of The Carnival
Food is a big part of Notting Hill Carnival, with vendors selling a wide range of Caribbean dishes, including jerk chicken, fried plantains, curried goat, and rice and peas.
The food is as colorful and flavorful as the costumes and is a reflection of the diverse culinary traditions of the Caribbean.
Thousands Of Customs On Display
Every year there are around 15,000 costumes on display. Of all shapes, sizes and colours.
Roots Date Back To Lent Festivals
The reason that the Notting Hill Carnival takes place in August is really a practical one. As mentioned, Notting Hill Carnival has roots that date back to Lenten festivals, usually organised around February in the Christian calendar. However, as the UK is not known for its winter sun, the event is always at the end of August.
Also, while the Caribbean, Central, and South America are a good bit warmer in February, the UK is still pretty cold. Thus, the decision was made to hold the festival towards the end of summer.
Overall, Notting Hill Carnival is a vibrant and colorful celebration of Caribbean culture and traditions. It is a testament to the diversity and multiculturalism of London and is a must-visit event for anyone who wants to experience the city’s vibrant culture and energy.
From the dazzling costumes to the lively music and delicious food, Notting Hill Carnival is a celebration of life and community that is not to be missed.