Notting Hill Carnival: 7 Interesting Things to Know

Notting Hill Carnival
Image by Steve Bidmead from Pixabay

Notting Hill is situated in west London and is popular for its Portobello Road Market and Notting Hill Carnival. Yes; you heard it right.

Notting Hill Carnival is an event of joy and pleasure celebrating rich Caribbean culture.

The carnival is the world’s second-biggest carnival of its kind and the third-largest street festival in Europe.

1. History of Notting Hill Carnival

Notting Hill Carnival has always been a part of street culture in  Kennington since 1966. It’s an event of joy and a colourful celebration full of Carribean Culture.

It all started back in 1956 when Claudia Jones, a Trinidadian Human Rights activist started this event in St Pancras Townhall to celebrate Caribbean culture and alleviate racial issues to maintain harmony among clans.

Notting Hill Carnival
Courtesy: Notting Hill Carnival

Another reason was the death of Kelso Cochrane, a racially oppressed lawyer who was killed for certain racial agenda. All these threads of events lead to creating a strong fabric of the local culture of rage and outbursts.

The first outdoor event and formal meeting point and the start of this carnival took place in 1966 and since then it has never stopped.

2. The Carnival Weekend

Notting Hill Carnival is an annual event featured for two days. Sundays are usually family days and the traditional celebration of J’ouvert takes place.

It is also the official opening ceremony of the carnival followed by the Children’s Day Parade.

Notting Hill Carnival
Courtesy: NHC

Monday on the other hand is for party animals and has a much more chilled experience. Monday has an adult’s day traditional parade which runs till dark.

3. Parade Route of the Carnival

The parade is the soul of this beautiful event. It starts at 10 am and wraps up by 6:30 as London observes a strict noise curfew by 7 pm. The Notting Hill Carnival parade route must be taken care of while visiting there.

The main parade course covers around four miles and continues along Chepstow Road after initiating from Great Western Road, and ends at Ladbroke Grove after crossing Westbourne Grove.

Notting Hill Carnival
Courtesy: NHC

You will see Mas bands, one of the key features of the carnival where people are wrapped in opulent and colourful costumes, dancing and performing to the music as they march on the streets.

4. Eateries at the Carnival

Marching this long will for sure make you a hungry beast and the food culture is one of the major parts to relish. Engage yourself in something authentic Caribbean dishes to satisfy your taste buds.

The Caribbean people cook food with so much patience which makes the dishes flavorful and scrumptious and this could be your perfect corner for perfect fast food.

You can try something new like jerky chicken, pork and salt fish fritters, curried goat, rice, Jamaican patties, peas, and whatnot!

Notting Hill Carnival
Courtesy: NHC

Plantains are their staple and it’s served with curry and rice. They also have a caramelized fried banana dish to cherish after your meals. No doubt it’s a perfect blend of all the savoriness, spices, and sweetness in one plate.

5. How to Reach the Carnival

The carnival route can be covered through public transport. However, one must take care that there can be many road closures due to festivities.

If you have planned to visit the carnival area, extra buses are put by government officials to help the people.

Notting Hill Carnival
Courtesy: Notting Hill Carnival

Bayswater, High Street Kensington, Paddington, Queen’s Park, and Shepherd’s Bush are the closest tube stations to the carnival, however, several are exit-only throughout the carnival weekend.

Before heading towards your carnival route destination, one must check Transport for London website.

6. What to Carry at the Carnival

Pack your carnival essentials as it’s a hot time of the month. Hours of parading will tire you off in this heat.

Carry a reusable water bottle and some energy drinks to sustain. You can also carry some sunscreen, tissues, and wet wipes.

Notting Hill Carnival
Courtesy: NHC

Make sure to carry your cash because ATM couldn’t be easily found and also it will be filled with people. J’ouvert is a huge part of the festival and is very crowdy.

You will be covered in paint and chocolate for sure as it’s part of the fun. It happens at sunrise and is highly recommended. You’ll find usage of your tissues here.

At last but not least, please do not litter around the streets and dispose of your boxes/bags in dustbins.

7. Things You Can do After the Carnival

If you still feel like spending a little more time in the venue, after the carnival is over, we have got you covered because there are a lot of things to check out in Notting Hill.

Notting Hill Carnival
Image by Jonathan Wilkins from Pixabay
  • Coronet Theatre serves good drinks and grand piano and has this 80’s vibe all around the place.
  • St. Sophia’s Cathedral is beautiful beyond words. This church has a calming environment and a sophisticated vibe.

Final Note

Join London’s biggest street party, Notting Hill Carnival and have a gala time with friends and family. Pack your bags and carry all the essentials, munch all the yummy delicacies, and unleash that carnival spirit in you!

Also, don’t forget to visit the official app of Notting Hill Carnival.


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