The Notting Hill Carnival is a spectacular celebration of Caribbean culture in the multicultural Notting Hill neighborhood of Kensington, west London. This colorful and noisy festival is held annually on the last Sunday and Monday of August, which is a bank holiday in the UK.
The Carnival began in the second half of the 1960s, when it was celebrated by Caribbean immigrants living in the area. Today, the holiday is celebrated by all Latin American groups in London, and people from all over the world come to the capital of Great Britain to take part. From 1 to 2 million people take to the streets of Notting Hill every year – many of them dressed in Afro-Caribbean costumes, playing national instruments, and dancing rumba, samba, and other Latin dances. Huge platforms with dancers move along the streets. Caribbean and Latin American snacks are also sold along the route of the festive processions. The British visit the Notting Hill Carnival with their families to watch the fascinating spectacle from the rooftops and balconies, or to dance in the streets while eating traditional Jamaican, Brazilian, and Barbadian dishes.
Learn more about the Notting Hill Carnival celebration:
- The first Notting Hill Carnival was held on January 30, 1959 at the town hall of the St. Pancras area, which later became part of the Camden urban district.
- The event was organized by Claudia Jones, editor of the West Indian Gazette, and Edric Connor from Trinidad and Tobago, who was a singer and performer of music in the Afro-Caribbean calypso style.
- At the inaugural event, a beauty contest Carnival Queen was held!
How to take part
The best way to appreciate the Notting Hill Carnival is to get out to London and experience it firsthand. If you can’t make it to London, you can watch the broadcast and order Caribbean dishes!
When is Notting Hill Carnival celebrated in 2024?
Notting Hill Carnival is observed on the last Sunday of August each year.