This weekend sees the return of the Notting Hill Carnival and all of its colourful, glittery madness. First held in 1966, it was born out of the fusion of two different events, the Caribbean Carnival and the London Free School-inspired festival in Notting Hill. Now, it’s become something of a London institution, with thousands of people hitting the streets to join in with the celebrations – 1million people attended last year’s two-day festival! Having nearly reached its 50th anniversary, the Notting Hill Carnival is widely recognised as the second largest street festival in the world (after the Rio Carnival) and it’s well worth stopping by, whether you’re a first time visitor or a regular.
As a celebration of Caribbean culture, the event sees an impressive procession of floats, dancers and musicians – as well as many bystanders swept up in the spirit of Carnival! The gorgeous costumes are particularly eye-catching, with sparkles and feathers and headdresses all common sights along the route. Whatever the weather, you can count on the performers to be decked out in their finest, with body paint and glitter everywhere. While the weather may not encourage most spectators to bare their flesh and dress up to quite the same level as the performers, we’ve still come up with some fun ideas to blend in with the crowd:
On top of the visual displays, one of the main draws of the Notting Hill Carnival is its music. Every street corner seems to have huge sound systems in place, blaring out everything from reggae to house to Dubstep – so there’s really no excuse not to join in on the party. Steel bands can be found as part of the procession and small stages along the route also host live performances, making them a great stop-off point during your visit if your feet are getting a little tired.
Lastly, there is plenty of opportunity throughout the event to grab some food, meaning there’s no excuse not to stay for a few hours! As can be expected, most of the stalls focus on Caribbean favourites, with the most popular offerings being jerk chicken, curried goat, and rice with peas. Highlights of this year’s Carnival include Boom Burger and The Rum Kitchen, although if you’re feeling like something different then maybe stop by gastropub The Cow, Paradise for street food or The Portobello Organic Kitchen, which will serve takeaway pizzas on both Sunday and Monday.
So this bank holiday, why not grab one of our vibrant Whistle and Wolf prints and join in the Carnival? It sure beats a regular Monday at work!
- Maddy xx