Notting Hill Carnival (NHC), the world’s second biggest carnival and Europe’s largest street event is rolling into London for an incredible 53rd time during the August Bank Holiday weekend (25 and 26 August 2019). Read our lowdown on what to expect and what you need to know!
Notting Hill Carnival is an event that contributes £100 million to the London economy. It is the UK’s biggest celebration of culture, diversity and inclusivity, with an estimated million Londoners and tourists attending each year. After a full year of painstaking planning and organisation from the NHC committee, we can all once again look forward to an event full of vibrant colours, costumes, incredible music, dancing and delicious food.
“Every single costume is made by hand and it takes 1 million man-hours to make and decorate them all”
Notting Hill Carnival is proudly a community-led event, and whilst it is rooted in Caribbean culture, with its Windrush-generation influence remaining strongly evident, it is at the same time characteristically a ‘London’ event, reflecting today’s modern London.
This year, the organising team has launched a new campaign called #NHCisMe to celebrate and introduce the carnival community to the world. Comprised of a series of videos that demonstrate why the Notting Hill Carnival is so important to the people who make it, the people who attend, and to British culture as a whole.
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NHC Press Launch 2019. Lots happened in the garden at @tabernaclew11 ….. Our Executive Director, Matthew Phillip greeted our host for the evening @claireclottey and our Ambassador, @official_levi_roots mingled with the community and met media to help tell our story. #NHCisMe #NHCisWe #NHCisUnity Pic credit: @eddhorder Claire Clottey wears @melissasimonhartman Make up by @yasmin.skeete
Enjoy Children’s Day
Fully inclusive, the first day of Notting Hill Carnival (Sunday 25 August) is traditionally regarded as ‘Children’s Day’ or ‘Family Day’. All are of course welcome, but as is customary, the bands on this day are dominated by children.
“Five million hot and cold drinks are served over two days, including 25,000 bottles of rum and 70,000 litres of carrot juice”
Even on the Monday, parents who wish to give their children a calmer experience of the carnival can take then to The Tabernacle – Nice place to chill and a calm Oasis – indoor and outdoor seating £5 on the day or Powis Square Stage – to enjoy live music and performances.
There are traditionally three at Notting Hill Carnival. The Horniman’s Stage, which on the first day of Carnival (Sunday) is taken over by Red Bull, the Powis Square Stage, based opposite the Tabernacle and the Meanwhile Garden Stage which concentrates on children’s entertainment.
“There are around 300 food stalls on the streets, which serve five tons of chicken, 30,000 corn cobs and a ton of rice and peas”
Planning for the Notting Hill Carnival is a year-long process. Pictured Executive Director of NHC, Matthew Phillip and Presenter/Host Claire Clottey at the recent press launch of the Notting Hill Carnival
Get The Official App
Once again, the Official Notting Hill Carnival App – (Apple & Android) is where to get the most reliable and up-to-the-minute information on what is happening at carnival and it also has a GPS map to making getting around really easy. Top Tip – Download it here – iTunes / Android before you arrive at the carnival.
“The carnival route is 3.5 miles long”
For the first time, every one of the carnival’s many vibrant stalls will be listed in-app; their delicious dishes identified for any dietary requirements. Find the stalls that sell vegan and vegetarian meals in the app, and then easily navigate to them.
The app will also feature a newsfeed for carnival goers to meet and share up to the minute videos and photos.
A Practical List of Things to Do at NHC
Whether this will be your first time at carnival, or you need a reminder, we’ve put together a practical list of what to do, and what NOT to do!
Wear comfortable shoes
You will do a lot of walking and your feet will thank you at the end of the day.
Be prepared for all weather
From sun cream to raincoats, all should be packed!
Meet friends before you get onto the carnival footprint
Mobile phone signal is not always great and it’s extremely hard to find someone in a million-strong crowd!
Keep to the essentials
Forget the elaborate jewellery, expensive hat and designer outfit. Comfy and practical is the moto to live the carnival by
Check out TFL.gov.uk for travel advice in advance
It might sound logical to go to Notting Hill or Ladbroke Grove Tube Stations but those areas will be extremely busy, it could be quicker getting off two or three stops earlier and walking.
Definitely DON’T DRIVE
You won’t be able to go anywhere and all the roads will be closed off
Make a plan
Check out www.NHCarnival.org and choose a sound system or stage that you think will appeal to you
Pack some tissues and wet wipes
You never know when a portaloo might run out or perhaps you’ll need wash your hands after some delicious street food!
For more information, visit the NHC website