It's Notting Hill Carnival season! Here's what to expect and the essentials you'll need

Cue outrageous creations, bright colours, good food and even better music and you have all the ingredients that make up Notting Hill Carnival! Back again for its 50th Anniversary, Notting Hill is the only place to be this August bank holiday weekend. Held each year from the 24th-25th August, The Notting Hill Carnival is the biggest celebration of everything Caribbean, attracting hundreds of thousands of people to the streets of West London. Diversity and culture is at the heart of this annual event, where some of the most amazing costumes and floats from the Caribbean Islands weave and dance their way through the streets of Ladbroke Grove.

Experience sounds like never before with the musical beats of soca, calypso and steel drums transforming the area into a Caribbean haven. There is also a range of other musical styles from various stages around the routed area, which include 38 static sound systems that keep the lively, party atmosphere alive. But it’s not only the music that has a vibrant kick to it. Spectators can look forward to anything from jerk chicken, curry goat and tasty fired dumplings form the many stalls dotted around.

The Annual Notting Hill Carnival Celebrations Take Place

Packed full of cultural touches, there is literally something for everyone. Before carnival even begins the Saturday plays host to a panorama competition that crowns the best steel band. On the bank holiday Sunday, it’s all about family fun with the carnival parade focusing on children participating in the performances. With a more relaxed feel, the Sunday has just enough party to engage children and ensure they have an eventful day out. Just before the family day begins, J’Ouvert takes place to signal the opening day of the carnival, where dancing happens to the sound of steel bands and drummers.

On Monday everything is twice as bold and twice as extravagant. We’re talking bigger costumes, more pulsating dances and even bigger crowds. The grand finale provides the perfect atmosphere continuing on from Sunday and giving revellers a show to remember. With great crowd participation throughout and intimate surroundings, it is a fitting end great and end to the carnival festivities.

NHC-500-Lfamily carnival

Our tips to you to guarantee a great day out are to plan your journey beforehand as both tubes and buses to Notting Hill will have altered/cancelled destinations and congestion will be inevitable. Make sure you bring a bottle of water because if the heat doesn’t bring up a sweat (providing the weather holds up), then all the dancing definitely will. Sunglasses and a little bag are also part of AFRONOIRE's essential list but most importantly wear some comfortable shoes, bring your flag, or buy one, and have your whistles ready.

Whether you have come to rep your flag or witness culture at its best there is something for everyone at Carnival.

Click here for a useful Notting Hill Carnival Route Map

By Yasmina McNabb


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