Arts & Culture

Fascinating facts about the Notting Hill Carnival

Every year during the Summer Bank Holiday, the vibrant Notting Hill Carnival takes place in the charming Notting Hill neighbourhood and is one of the largest street festivals in Europe!

This year, expect a festive and handpicked programme with even more Caribbean cultural celebrations and visitors worldwide to Britain – lively music, together dances, delicious Caribbean food, and more.

If you’re curious to know more about this Summer Bank Holiday event, we picked some fascinating facts about Notting Hill Carnival:

  1. Notting Hill Carnival was first held in 1966 as a response to the racial tensions and riots that took place in the area during the 1950s and 1960s. It was first organised by Trinidadian activist and local resident Claudia Jones as a way to showcase Caribbean culture and bring communities together.
  2. It’s the second-largest street festival in the world! Only the Rio de Janeiro Carnival in Brazil surpasses Notting Hill Carnival in terms of size and attendance. With over two million visitors each year, it has become a major event on London’s cultural calendar.
  3. It’s Europe’s largest street festival, too! Notting Hill Carnival is not only the second-largest worldwide but also holds the title of being the largest street festival in Europe.
  4. Steelpan music is an integral part of Caribbean culture, and the carnival hosts an annual steelpan competition, attracting musicians from all over the world to showcase their talent.
  5. Every year, Notting Hill Carnival pays tribute to its founder, Claudia Jones, by holding a ceremony near her former residence in Tavistock Square.
  6. Notting Hill Carnival contributes around £100 million to the city’s economy yearly, supporting local businesses and creating job opportunities.
  7. The sound systems are legendary as they’re built on trucks as the heart and soul of the carnival, blasting infectious Caribbean music throughout the streets.
  8. To mark the end, a giant float called the “Judges’ Stand” celebrates the grand finale of Notting Hill Carnival, leaving participants with an unforgettable experience.
  9. Notting Hill Carnival is deeply rooted in the community. Local schools, community groups, and organisations actively participate in the carnival, showcasing their diverse talents and traditions.
  10. Planning this massive gig is very challenging and takes months, with many committees, organisers, and hundreds of volunteers working hard and ensuring everything runs smoothly.

The Notting Hill Carnival symbolises unity, multiculturalism, and celebrating diversity within London and beyond. Dancing until late at night, the Caribbean community create an inclusive and festive atmosphere for everyone to enjoy!

So, whether you attended it in the past or will experience it for the first time, make sure to check the event page to get all the necessary information on this busy weekend.

And if you stay longer after the event, why not explore Notting Hill on our Best of London private tour? Or escape London on one of our unforgettable Stonehenge tours.