Notting Hill Carnival

  • UPDATED Sep 21, 2018

Carnivals are a great way for the people of the world to come together and celebrate a festival or an event with all the pomp and show. Notting Hill Carnival is the best example of this. The Notting Hill Carnival is one of the biggest carnivals in the world and is held annually on the streets of Notting Hill. If you are interested in knowing about the Notting Hill Carnival history, facts, parade information and its importance, this article will guide you. We have written down everything that should be known about the Notting Hill Carnival history, facts, parade information and its importance. So, read ahead.

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Notting Hill Carnival in a Nutshell

Notting Hill Carnival is a huge street festival that takes place on the streets of Notting Hill. Carnivals have always been a part of Europe’s history, and the Notting Hill Carnival is one such example. This is the second biggest carnival in the world where you will find music, food, street performances and much more, the costume parades are one of the biggest attraction of this carnival. Since this carnival is so special, people spend the entire year preparing for it and put up a great show every year. It is also one of the major attractions in London and attracts visitors from all over the world. The carnival is not just another show but has much history behind it. However, with the passing time, the carnival has become all about fun and enjoyment.

History and Origin

The history of the Notting Hill Carnival dates back to 19th century. During the 1950s the workers from the Caribbean islands were asked to come to the UK since the World War 2 had greatly impacted their economy. So, in 1948 over 500 workers arrived in the UK. Most of the Caribbean people started living in the areas of the Notting Hill and Brixton. Since they were a little different from the other people, racial discrimination started happening. In 1958 race riots happened and the white turned against the black. The need to end the fight and bridge the gap between the two communities lead to the starting of this carnival. Claudia Jones who was a Trinidadian Political activist started this event for the first time, and it was held at the St Pancras Town Hall. The carnival eventually got really popular and has reached the point of becoming one of the biggest carnivals of the century. This is a classic example of how peace and harmony can affect the society and bring people together.

The Celebration

The carnival is a huge celebration for the Caribbean community and attracts the people from all around the world. It is a two-day event filled with live music, dancing and lots of other kinds of fun. People of all communities unite to show that they are one community and no discrimination is done against the black members of the Notting Hill.

What’s On the Menu?

This is the best carnival for the food lovers since there are over 300 food stalls on the streets. You will find all kinds of foods especially the street foods such as chicken, corn cobs and much more. If you want to drink something in the hot sunny weather, go grab a beer or just a juice from the stalls all around the streets. Carrot juice is also a people’s favorite at this time.

Special Events

A lot of events take place during the Notting Hill Carnival. This is a two-day carnival that has everything for everyone. On Sunday the children friendly carnival is held where all the activities are toned down for the children. However, on Monday it is an only adult party. You can see the following events at the carnival:

Costume Parades

The major attraction of this carnival is the costume parades. People dress up in shiny, glittery costumes and dance around the streets to the music being played. Thousand of dance troops take part in the costume parades.

Caribbean Music

Since the carnival was initially started to promote the Caribbean culture, you will find a lot of Caribbean Music. Some of the most famous Caribbean artists come and perform at the festival. Many talented bands and signers have started their careers by playing at the festival and have become a success now.

Live DJ

For the attendees from all over the world, DJ booths are set all over the streets, and they play some of the latest tunes for the people to dance on. All the performers and the visitors come together on the streets of Notting Hill and dance the day away to the tunes of these DJs.


You will see numerous dance performances on the stages that are set up in different parts of the street. The dance troupes practice all throughout the year for this event and showcase the talent on the day of the carnival.


Over 2 million people attend the Notting Hill Carnival every year which makes it the second biggest carnival in the world. It is also the largest street festival in Europe.

Since the carnival is so big, there are over 40 static sound systems, 70 performing stages, and ten steel bands every year and it keeps increasing with each passing year.

The carnival gives a major contribution to the London’s Economy which is around £93 million. 20% of the crowd at the carnival is tourist crowd.

If you start to count, you will see 15,000 or more costumes being displayed every year. The performers use over 15,000 feathers, 30 million sequins and 30 liters of body paint.

The world famous bands, Pink Floyd, have also played one of their gigs at the festival.

Over 40,000 volunteers in addition to the 9000 policemen are responsible for managing the crowd in the carnival. The number has to be increased every year.

We are sure that after reading about the Notting Hill Carnival history, facts, parade information and its importance you must want to attend the event. So wait no more and be a part of this enormous carnival and at Notting Hill.