Notting Hill Carnival - Not to be missed

by Wolf and Whistle


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.

 Last year's performers feeling the carnival spirit

Last year's performers feeling the carnival spirit

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:

   1.     Denim Jacket - Rock 'n' Roll at   Scotch & Soda  , £66, 2. Long Owl and Leaf Feather Dreamcatcher Necklace at   Claire’s Accessories  , £7, 3. Bobbi Brown 'Crazy for Color' Lip Color Candied Red at   Nordstrom  , £16, 4. Even&Odd Ankle boots at   Zalando.co.uk  , £29, 5. Waffle Bra Top at   Miss Selfridge  , £18, 6. Blossom Print Skirt at   Whistle & Wolf  , £45, 7. Bead And Metallic Bracelet Set at   Body Central  , £4.81 8. Vero Moda Folly Singlet at   Nelly  , £14, 9. Tropical Floral Tailored Shorts at   Whistle & Wolf  , £55, 10. Urban Decay Lip Junkie Lip Gloss, Trashed 0.34 fl oz at   Beauty.com  , $5, 11. Glitter Pot in Space Cowboy at   Topshop  , £4, 12. Isabel Marant Bekett Calfskin Velvet Leather Sneakers at   Forwardforward.com  , £420, 13. Deborah Lippmann Nail Lacquer - Glitter at   Sephora  , £12, 14. Triangle Neon Earrings at   Hugssy  , $10, 15.   Yellow art print bomber jacket   at   River Island  , £30

1.  Denim Jacket - Rock 'n' Roll at Scotch & Soda, £66, 2. Long Owl and Leaf Feather Dreamcatcher Necklace at Claire’s Accessories, £7, 3. Bobbi Brown 'Crazy for Color' Lip Color Candied Red at Nordstrom, £16, 4. Even&Odd Ankle boots at Zalando.co.uk, £29, 5. Waffle Bra Top at Miss Selfridge, £18, 6. Blossom Print Skirt at Whistle & Wolf, £45, 7. Bead And Metallic Bracelet Set at Body Central, £4.81
8. Vero Moda Folly Singlet at Nelly, £14, 9. Tropical Floral Tailored Shorts at Whistle & Wolf, £55, 10. Urban Decay Lip Junkie Lip Gloss, Trashed 0.34 fl oz at Beauty.com, $5, 11. Glitter Pot in Space Cowboy at Topshop, £4, 12. Isabel Marant Bekett Calfskin Velvet Leather Sneakers at Forwardforward.com, £420, 13. Deborah Lippmann Nail Lacquer - Glitter at Sephora, £12, 14. Triangle Neon Earrings at Hugssy, $10, 15. Yellow art print bomber jacket at River Island, £30

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.

 Procession of steel drummers during the parade, 2013

Procession of steel drummers during the parade, 2013

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.

 The Rum Kitchen, interior

The Rum Kitchen, interior

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