Saunders 1865 Team Recommendation: Notting Hill Carnival & Real Food Festival
Ahh, Bank Holiday weekend.
While it may be a sign of summer’s impending end, there’s still time to squeeze in at least one last party and there isn’t another quite like it anywhere else in London. The annual Notting Hill Carnival, which first began in 1965 (though this is hotly contested), is Europe’s largest street festival and promises a colourful holiday weekend of food and live entertainment.
The carnival itself finds its roots in the early-19th century carnivals on Caribbean islands, which celebrated the abolition of slavery and the slave trade. One of the long standing traditions of the Notting Hill Carnival is Mas (from Masquerade), which also derives from the original Caribbean island celebrations. Islanders would don outlandish and lavish costumes to perform songs and dances as they celebrated their new freedom and parodied the European fashion trends of the time, mocking those who once oppressed them. The tradition is alive and well today as you’ll see exciting and exotic outfits throughout the carnival.
Kicking off on Saturday with the Panorama steel band competition, the Carnival continues throughout the weekend. On Sunday, take the kids to Children’s Day with the promise of smaller crowds and kid friendly floats on parade and on Monday, the crown jewel of the Carnival, the Bank Holiday Monday Parade, begins at 10am. The parade consists of 68 colourful floats and hundreds of costumed dancers travelling from Great Western Road to Chepstow Road and Westbourne Road before ending in Ladbroke Grove.
Do bear in mind while traveling that due to the influx of visitors to the Notting Hill area, some local stations may be closed to deal with overcrowding or temporarily exit only stations. For full details and to plan your journey, please check TFL.
Alternatively, if the Notting Hill Carnival isn’t your cup of tea, head to the Southbank where the Real Street Food Festival is on for the holiday weekend. Numerous street food vendors from around London will be converging upon Queen’s Walk to sell their fare to the masses. Promising a variety of choices, the Real Street Food festival will be hosting vendors dealing in Italian, Japanese, American, French, European, and other ethnic cuisines as well as craft breweries and dessert stands which promise cool treats for the summer’s day.
Notting Hill Carnival
When: 24-26 August
Real Street Food Festival
Nearest Tube: Waterloo
When: 23-26 August
Cost: Free entry
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