Carnival in Notting Hill, perfect. and unisono great Photos.
Notting Hill Carnival
Notting Hill, London
Notting Hill, London W11 1BW
- Westbourne Park Station (0.2 km)
- Ladbroke Grove Station (0.7 km)
- Contact us:
020 7243 2319
- Opening hours:
August Bank Holiday Weekend (letzter August-Sonntag und -Montag)
306 Earls Court Road, London SW5 9BA
“Dubbed "The Story Teller" Carmen Rose is a Singer|Songwriter| Dancer| Poet| Storyteller| Philanthropist and now an online distributor. Ms Rose is a "Soulful Rock" singing starlet, burlesque belly dancer, spiritual storyteller and a peculiar poet. ...” more...
18 reviews of Notting Hill Carnival in English
UPDATE: 27th August 2012
Every year when this Bank Holiday Festival comes along I say to myself, “Anne my girl, not again” “Have yourself a bad case of the vapours, the dreaded …X… disease or, if worse comes to worst, tell everyone you’ve decided to commit Hara-kiri,” but low and behold, every single year some sweet soul – usually a friend from the good old US of A – wants me to take them. So…being the jolly good sport I am, I masochistically allow myself to be pushed towards that West London area, where I pronounce myself to be brain dead or, at the very least, damn weak!
“This is a great place to come when you are young,” I sing out to my 53 year old female friend who has left me flat footed and rather hemmed in between two enormously, imposing West Indian males who are stripped to the waist, even though the sun she ’aint shining and who happen to be staring down at me energetically with ever increasing enthusiasm.
I sing out again, “AND YOU’RE WITH-IT” to the fading yellow dot in the distance who is now clinging passionately onto passing strangers as if intoxicated by the catchy rhythmic beat of the Caribbean music. Now I’m calling out to whomever might listen, “YOU CAN’T BE SERIOUS” and then in despair to myself…“I’m too old for this.”
When I was a teenager – and a wee bit smaller than I am today and an awesome amount more naïve, I loitered – without malicious intent, I might add – in the Notting Hill area, namely it’s quaint, yet rather sprawling market at Portobello Road. I introduced myself to the wonderful, colourful pubs, eateries and antique stalls and stood drooling, amazed at the pot-pourri of delights. However, sadly, in my ‘wide eyed and bushy tailed’ state, I fell foul to the old PPPP – known simply as the, Professional Pick Pocket Ploy. Undeterred, but much wizened for the experience, I began to study up on the history and beginnings of the market – and it’s now, very trendy, adjoining area known as Notting Hill Gate.
It’s origins go back to farmland and the name Portobello – having been named after Puerto Bello in the Caribbean. Consequently, there is nothing strange in the annual celebration that brings folks of various colours and creeds together for a massive three day street party of hedonistic proportions that emulates the carnivals one gets to witness in Trinidad and Rio – Brazil.
The focus of this August Bank Holiday Bonanza derives from the roots of the West Indian Community who got to settle in the West London Borough in the early 1950’s and as such, with it’s immense vibrant display of colour, intense characteristic food smells, rhythmic jungle beats and contagious party atmosphere. All attributed to those intrinsic Caribbean roots. Which is why the Notting Hill Carnival, with it’s international flavour, attracts those to it from all parts of the globe. Those who wish to soak up the abundance of joy that comes from unyielding exhibitionism and hedonism that is definitely untamed and only matched in their country of origin.
Many years ago, gangs of Down Under PPP’s ‘Professional Pick Pockets’ cleaned up big at this Carnival. It wasn’t over- policed in those days and as the British used to complain, “we once transported the buggers down there and now they’ve come back to haunt us!”
Beginning in 1964 this vibrant Festival has grown in strength and magnitude with gorgeously decorated floats, loud libidinous music and gyrating women who enjoy nothing more than showing off their ample bosom and girths for those who are hungering for a feast of flesh.
Although every year one will find a rather large police contingent, this year almost every Bobbie (Gendarme) in the Scotland Yard squad was on the beat and were given special permission to pat down – not so little – ‘Tommy and Tim’ checking to see if they were carrying anything they shouldn’t. Coming on the shirt tails of the horrific London riots, it is not surprising. And, while this is an altogether brilliant gathering of community and spirit alike, there are low points to be considered. Opportunism runs rife and my little scrape with those aforementioned PPPP (No longer from Down Under) those many years ago, still occurs in great abundance during festival time, so potential visitors best to check your STWW (Spectacles, Testicles, Wallet and Watch) at every opportunity.
Squashed to the seams with a vast array of people straining to get a glimpse of the highlights – is really not terrific fun, especially if you are petite. Smelling the body odours instead of the food aromas is neither great and pleasant either, particularly when you are, like myself – arm pit high. And, having lived in Holland Park in my youthful twenties, I can assure you, being so close to the aftermath festival bravado and raucous noise extending into the ‘wee’ hours of the mornings, isn’t that terribly invigorating either.
But still, as the photos detail, most enjoyed the vivacious celebrations that the Notting Hill Carnival had to offer and instead of sounding like a dinosaur, I shall leave it to the vibrant pictures to tell the story. At least one can say, that the usually cold and characteristically stark, West London suburban brick walls get to witness a much needed injection of life for three days of the year.
buskutscher8, 1 September 2011:
Jean K, 2 September 2011:
Thanks Anne ! The dances were very hot in 2010 ! Haha
Anne Hunt, 2 September 2011:
Thanks to you all for your comments. Limoncina, Exlenker and Jean, much appreciated.
I think however after seeing this rather ‘bawdy’ video I shall have to concur with our dear Mr Cleese, no matter how controversial his comments are. After he said in this morning’s paper that London is “no longer an English city”. The Fawlty Towers star was slammed after saying that the capital feels like a foreign city and that English culture is disappearing.
jurgenehre, 7 October 2011:
There is already for a long time that our beautiful AnneHunt disappeared?!! She was maybe kidnapped by kidnappers?
Jean K, 13 October 2011:
She is writing a book in her beautiful house in Bois de Boulogne, Jürgen. She needs silence.
Anne Hunt, 18 October 2011:
I was kidnapped by a mixture of plane flights, deadlines and computer key boards Jurgen and Jean my dear ones…the world she never sleeps and waits for no-one, not even me.
sheepfarmer, 16 December 2011:
Anne, what interesting review. Love to have a look. When you were falling Foul of the PPPP, i was more than likely in some English Field, Showing a Mare and Foal. August bank holiday Monday, was our Local Madresfield show, now no longer. For the literary amongst you, Madresfield Court, near Malvern, Worcs, is Brideshead, (not Castle Howard), only for ITV series, cheers,Martin.xx
Anne Hunt, 18 December 2011:
Thank you for that M. Yes, it is funny how television and film have creative licence when it suits. History and geography goes bye, byes..
Anne Hunt, 30 August 2012:
I can tell you Rog, a left hook from some of those Mamma’s would have floored me…possibly even a look the wrong way would have done that nicely enough!
barry james, 30 August 2012:
53 ! Annieyour still looking Hot……….
Anne Hunt, 5 September 2012:
I am thinking Barry that you should go back and read carefully my meanderings again.
barry james, 8 September 2012:
I went back and carefully meandered through your meanderings
sorry to hear you “got dipped” by the PPPP,s when you were a young girl
evrybody knows down in ladbroke grove
you have to leap across the street
you can loose your head under a taxi cab
you gotta have eyes in your feet
sorry about getting your age wrong Annie I should of known better
you only look about 25 or 30 mabye
I hope your friend has a happy 54th birthday
and goes to the notting hill carnavil to celebrate :)
If you’ve ever wondered what the sights and sounds of a New Orleans mardi gras would be like, you needn’t travel much further than the Notting Hill carnival for an insight.
Wonderful, boistrous, colourful with all manner of fabulous costumes, music and food - it’s everything a great party needs to be!
A definite must for all the family, guaranteed to entertain
Yes it’s crazy, yes it’s loud, yes it’s crowded and yes you have to go! Throngs of people line the streets like you have never before seen! Be prepared to spend a while stuck in crowds - keep your mobile phones handy in case you get split up from your friends! Music, costume, atmosphere, food, fun! That’s the carnival spirit in a nutshell. There are cafes and stalls available at the side streets which give you a welcome break from being on your feet all day (you will need this!) Check out the food on offer at the carnival - fantastic Caribbean fare and other unusual foods. Even if you go just once, you have to experience the bonanza that is the Notting Hill Carnival!
Fulled with beautiful costumes, spectacular music and wonderful food, Notting Hill Carnival is the place to go if you like to have fun. There’s a great vibe and you won’t forget it. However it’s packed with tourists so if you don’t like crowds you definitley should give this a miss.
The best day out in London. Better than NYE. Consistently captures the essence of London year after year. I first went to Carnival 10 years ago and was blown away by the atmosphere. So many people going crazy partying in the streets - it blew me away.
Contrary to popular opinion, the better day is the Sun, not the Mon. Everyone goes on Mon because they think Sun is for the kids, as it’s called “Children’s Day”. Mon, therefore, is much more crowded and that’s the day there’s generally more trouble. And on Sun, the sounds systems, like Sancho Panza play classic old school house attracting a more mature crowd. It is the perfect way to celebrate the end of the English summer.
Regardless of which day you go, the Carnival is a guaranteed fantastic day out - especially if the London weather cooperates. The keys to a successful day are knowing where to go, timing you entry and exit and sticking to a good area. So, it helps to have some inside knowledge. Otherwise use the map in the Time Out, which outlines all the sound systems location, type of music, etc.
When many years ago I would laze around in front of the TV, complaining to everyone that there was never anything to do – The Notting Hill Carnival was probably that something that I was dreaming of. (Picture a nerdy kid on a couch sighing and looking into the ether as a little thought bubble pops up filled with skimpily dressed dancing girls and massive dub blasting sound systems.)
This was my third free North London Summer festival this year, and it was the second year in a row I’d been to the Notting Hill Carnival. For me these events are the best part of the summer and demonstrate the very best qualities of Londoners. I can understand though if, for instance, you lived in the area, hated loud music, were intimidated by drunk people and felt trapped by the crowds, then this might well be the worst part of the summer and an example of everything wrong with life in the capital.
I arrived there on the Monday at about 3 pm at Kensal Rise Station. The train was full of Carnival goers, almost all of whom had got on in Dalstan. (I have a theory that as Notting Hill has gentrified and the Caribbean communities have moved east, this carnival is increasingly a Hackney/Brixton festival that is staged in Notting Hill – might be a controversial idea)
Leaving the train we were greeted by some thumping dance music, the smells and smoke of jerk chicken and no less than 40 police and transport workers. Dogs sniffed everyone and seemed to find everyone of interest. Which meant long body and bag searches. Now I’m not complaining about this though. I continue to be really impressed with the way that London police operate, and particularly at big events which is where I tend to get closer to them. I LIKE the idea that people are searched for weapons. And I think their attitude to drugs is really practical. It seems that large quantities or the higher class drugs will get you in trouble, but they unofficially aren’t bothered about small amounts of pot. The policeman searching a lad in front of me said to a colleague “I found a spliff on this one – what should I do?”
“Take it off him and tell him he’s lucky”
I love this attitude. Actually most of all I love the policeman calling it a “spliff”. Really getting into the spirit of the thing!
The crowds got denser as we approached the carnival area proper, although we were always able to walk at a reasonable pace. We were stopped for a few minutes when we ran into the main procession. The floats were amazing! So much work went into them. Along with the costumes and the dancers and the music. Just brilliant! I hadn’t watched the parade last year but this year we walked for an hour or more against the flow of the floats, drinking wine and taking photos. I sensed no agro at all in the crowd as Japanese and German and all other flavour of tourist posed for photos with the dancers, danced themselves and just soaked it in.
Last year we’d used a map to get around and this year I was a bit disorientated. My favourite part of the carnival is the soundsystems and I was a bit confused as to where they were. We had to double back along the path of the parade to find them and this took quite a while. Along the way police had blocked off different roads to manage numbers and we had that sense of being inescapably stuck in a really large crowd that moved very slowly.
We found the spot we wanted and spent three hours of so dancing and meeting people and generally mixing it with a flowing group of revellers in front of some very large speakers.
Around 7 the music stopped and the thousands of people all wandered off to the transport points or their after parties. I didn’t witness any trouble at all on the way out. We bought some chicken and sat on the canal for an hour or so till the worst of the crowds cleared and then caught a not ridiculously full train back home.
Going on my standard device for measuring crowds at festivals (the queue for the toilets) I thought there were less people this year than last; might have been the sunny weather last year that brought everyone out.
Whilst buying a kebab yesterday I read in one of the tabloids that there had been around 600 or so arrests or incidents at the carnival but that there was not a single stabbing or shooting or other major horrible drama. I think that’s a cause for a huge celebration. All we hear about in the media is how dangerous London is , about how terrible are the gangs and the stabbings and the drugs. But here we have the biggest street party in Europe, filled with all those young people we are told to be scarred of, and there is almost no crime.
bluesofty, 28 August 2008:
What a fabulous review!!
JasmineClara, 1 September 2008:
Lovely review :)
Andrew Hunter, 1 September 2008:
fcourt, 2 September 2008:
wow it looks like it was busy this year! Great review, the carnival is a wonderful event!
Andrew Hunter, 3 September 2008:
Must go next year! So annoyed i couldn’t find the time to go this year! Looks like good weather too!
Fro people in my age group or younger feared to go carnival as most gangs of youths went to fight or rob buti went never the less with a group of my mates and we enjoyed it the police calmed and volience before it erupted and where kindly stoppin and searching everyone they thought were suspicious which showed they where alert however they also got involed posing for photographs, dancing and that gave it a community feel as everyone was dancing and getting along
I usually go carnival every two years and I feel this year there was much more people to what I am used to and about 15% were police.
The floats were great as usual especially choicefm and rampage. This years carnival has to be one of my favourite because the one and only Kano acknowledge me and waved to me from the choicefm float which was my highlight of the carnival. Then he performed for a hot second which felt like ages, cause it was that good.
Then at rampage which is always over crowded, is actually my favourite part of carnival because its like a massive street rave. This year Lloyd performed which was ok if you like his music, Busy signal also performed which was great but the crowd got a little hype but i didnt mind cause I was in my own world anyway trying to create some space to dance. Also Sway performed.
Trying to leave carnival is the worst part of carnival. Hundreds and Hundreds of people moving in the same direction at different paces, some high and some drunk is very frustrating.
Update on May 29, 2008: I just started a German group about the NHC Qyper meeting we are trying to organize.
Original report (January 18, 2008):
For quite a while, I used to live in Cologne – which is one of Germany’s carnival capitals – but never really warmed up to the strange rituals performed by this city’s party people between November 11 and the day before Ash Wednesday each year. (More info at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cologne_Carnival.)
Two years ago, I finally encountered the kind of street party I can enjoy: the Notting Hill Carnival. I had wanted to visit it since I got into black music (funk, soul, hip hop, reggae, dancehall, soca, gospel, blues etc.). In 2006, I found a cheap flight to London which, as I found out months after I had bought the ticket, just happened to take me to town during carnival weekend.
And I became hooked instantly: 40 sound systems, hundreds of food stalls (many of them selling jerk chicken, my favourite Caribbean dish), up to 2 million people having fun (with very few altercations). What more can you want?
Since that magic August weekend, it’s one of my major goals in life to return to Notting Hill Carnival as often and as long as I can. :-)
For those who feel the same way, I started a Qype group dedicated to that event:
Maybe we can use the group to organize an international Qyper meeting around carnival time …
dolphin, 18 January 2008: Hm, mich interessiert eher die Gartentour, also die Nacht, in der die privaten Gärten für die Öffentlichkeit geöffnet sind. Weißt Du, wie man das rausbekommen kann, wann die ist?
PJebsen, 18 January 2008: Meinst du diese Aktion: http://www.ngs.org.uk ?
PJebsen, 18 January 2008: Does that mean you won't join me in singing "„Do simmer dabei, dat es prima, Viva Colonia!“?
Kontaktvoll, 21 January 2008: Ach war das schön letztes Jahr ;-)))
Went a couple of years ago having not been since a child. The crowds were so dense we saw only the tops of heads in the parade. It got really silly after a while and we got pushed and threatened. We tried to leave and moved along at a snails pace..lost half our friends and at one point I got incredibly scared..I was lifted off the ground by the crowd and was being carried along. I managed to stay with the last friend visible by hanging on to his backpack as I was carried along.
As I have lived in this area for 10 years now, I have lived through many wonderful carnival experiences. not only is it the biggest carnival in europe (i think im right in saying that?) its also the most fun. i love the cultural togetherness that it brings. you will meet all sorts of people on the streets, dancing, drinking, eating and generally having a good time. however, i think recently the origins of the notting hill carnival have been lost slightly, and it seems to be getting worse and worse. crime is an increasing problem, people seem to use it as an excuse for getting too drunk and causing trouble. not only that, but prices have soared, even street stalls selling traditional jamaican food have upped their prices to the point of absurdity. i do love it, and stay true to it as a local, but im just not sure that its all going in the right direction. i think in the following years it definitely won’t be as good as it used to be.
The Carnival began several decades ago as a celebration by West Indies immigrants in the UK. It continues to be a huge street party (between 1 and 2 million visitors over two days), and it was a lot of fun watching the parade, eating roast chicken, and listening to the DJ soundsystems scattered through the otherwise posh neighbourhood.
The crowds are insane, but the parade is a real spectacle. It’s entertaining to see all the mobile soundsystems and the fabulous costumes roll by (so long as you can see). Everyone should go at least once.
I enjoy walking through the streets just off the parade route, to hear some good dub tunes or locate some tasty jerk chicken. It’s a full-on party vibe for dozens of blocks in every direction.
The first day is “family day”, and not as mad as the second (family day was mad enough for me, thanks!).
Amazing costumes, music and Caribbean foods. You get a children's parade the one day and an adults the other. I really don't know how some of the children manage to carry their costumes around all day in the blistering heat, so impressed with them. If you wander to the food stands, you can even get a picture with the Reggae Reggae sauce guy and try his rice, peas and chicken! It's a long walk round but you're entertained all the way and it's a slow-moving parade, so you won't miss much. It's a wonderful weekend full of colour and smiles.
If you want a cultural day out full of colour, noise, drink, food and entertainment, not to mention lively crowds, you must get to the Notting Hill Carnival one year! It is overwhelming to all your senses in so many ways. There are SO many people, being one of the biggest carnivals in Europe, and so many performers that are in amazing costumes which some cost over £100 each to make. Don't go to the normal stores for food and drink during the day, there are so many stalls with an amazing variety of tasty food that really puts you in the spirit of the carnival. There are also street parties and different styles of music to dance to and such a huge mix of people that you will be totally entertained long into the night!
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