The Ultimate Notting Hill Carnival Guide 2023

The legendary Caribbean festival, Notting Hill Carnival, is just around the corner on the August Bank Holiday weekend, and we’re struggling to contain our excitement. 

If you’re studying in London and are all about that vibrant mix of music, culture, and community, this is an event you absolutely can’t miss. 

To help you, we’ve got an ultimate Notting Hill Carnival guide to make sure you’re ready to groove and have a blast with your friends this year. 

We’ll be focusing on the history of the annual event, where it’s taking place, what’s on for 2023 and tips for attending, so stay tuned! 

Notting Hill Carnival guide

History Of Notting Hill Carnival 

The Notting Hill Carnival is a celebration that showcases the vibrant heritage, music, and traditions of the Caribbean islands and dates back to 1966. 

What started as a small local event organised by London’s West Indian communities has now become Europe’s largest street festival, and one of the most well known across the globe. 

Every year millions of people from around the world come to experience its electric energy over the August Bank Holiday weekend. 

To find out more about the history of this amazing event that brings people of all backgrounds together, head to the official website.

history of notting hill carnival

Where Is Notting Hill Carnival Taking Place? 

The Notting Hill Carnival takes place in West London (W10), spanning across Notting Hill, Ladbroke Grove and Westbourne Park. 

If you’re planning to attend in 2023, make sure to check out the travel information for the event from Transport for London.


What’s On Notting Hill Carnival 

The Notting Hill Carnival is set to take place over the August Bank Holiday weekend, meaning the festivities will be in full swing from the 26th to 28th. 

So, grab your festival outfits and make sure your energy levels are high because this year’s carnival promises to be an unforgettable experience!


1. Adults Parade 

The Adults Parade is the heart and soul of the carnival and is taking place on Monday 28th of August. 

Be ready to dance your heart out to the infectious rhythms of steel bands and the thumping beats of reggae music. 

The adults parade is free to attend and features vibrant costumes, fantastic floats, and an atmosphere that’s impossible to resist. 

It’s basically a massive moving party that you’ll want to be a part of, but we recommend getting there early as it will get super busy.


2. Sound Systems 

Imagine stages spread throughout the carnival, each blasting out a different genre of music to dance along to? 

From rare groove to house to samba to dancehall to drum and bass, these sound systems will keep you grooving non-stop and this year there’s 36! 

So whether you’re a fan of old-school classics or modern hits, there’s a sound system with your name on it.

You can find out all about the line-up of artists playing the sound systems this year on the official website.


3. Steel Band Competition Day 

Despite the Notting Hill Carnival officially starting on Sunday, on the 26th of August at Panorama, the UK’s largest steel band competition will be taking place. 

From 4pm until 12am at Emslie Horniman Pleasance Park on Bosworth Road, the family-friendly event will see 7 bands play a ten minute composition from memory. 

Expect a variety of traders offering food and drinks, large screens and NHC DJs throughout the day. 

You do need to purchase a ticket for this event which costs £20, and we recommend purchasing in advance. 


4. Street Parties 

One things for sure, as the sun sets, the party doesn’t stop at Notting Hill Carnival. 

Various streets around West London will turn into open-air dance floors, with DJs and live performances keeping the energy high until the early hours of the morning.

There’s also plenty going on at bars and pubs after the parade dies down, so you’re sure to have an unforgettable time! 


5. Food & Drink 

Get your taste buds ready for an explosion of flavours from the Caribbean at Notting Hill Carnival 2023. 

Whether it’s jerk chicken, patties, plantains, Guyanese pepper pot, Trinidadian ‘roti’, you name it, they’ve got it on offer.  

This year there will be over 300 stalls to choose from, so you’re bound to find something delicious, no matter your dietary preferences. 

Let’s not forget about the bars that will be serving up drinks to keep you refreshed as you dance and party the day away! 


Tips For Attending Notting Hill Carnival 

After discovering everything that’s taking place for this year’s event, who wouldn’t want to attend Notting Hill Carnival 2023? We sure do! 

To help ensure you have a fantastic festival experience, we’ve listed some tips below so make sure to check them out. 


Make Sure To Stay Hydrated 

It may be fun, but there’s no denying that dancing and partying for hours on end can be exhausting especially in the warmer weather. 

You can easily become dehydrated if you’re drinking alcohol alongside this, so remember to drink enough water regularly throughout the day to keep yourself hydrated. 

drinking water

Wear Sunscreen 

We cannot stress this enough, don’t be that person who forgets to apply sun cream, you’ll end up burnt considering all of the events are open air. 

It’s important to frequently apply sunblock throughout the day, especially if you’re sweating it should be applied every 2 hours. 

applying suncream

Plan In Advance 

As we said earlier, millions of people across the world come to West London to be a part of the Notting Hill Carnival, so it is incredibly busy across the weekend. 

Be sure to plan in advance, know your way around the areas and have a rough idea of the events and performances you want to go to. 

There is a full map available so you can see the route you need to take. 

planning in advance notting hill

Stay In Touch 

If you’re attending Notting Hill Carnival with your besties, make sure to have your phone on full battery and bring along a portable charger. 

It’s best to plan a meeting point in case anyone in your group gets separated and you need to meet back up with one another. 

The event will be filled with plenty of friendly people, so we’re sure you’ll be able to find someone to stick with if you do lose your friends for a short while. 

phone call staying in touch

Respect The Culture 

It’s important to remember that Notting Hill Carnival is ultimately a celebration of Caribbean heritage and culture. 

If you’re attending this year’s event, make sure to respect the traditions, music, and people who make it all happen.

A huge part of the event is dressing up in fun and vibrant outfits that reflect Afro-Caribbean culture, so dress to impress! 

notting hill carnival 2023

The Notting Hill Carnival is a celebration that brings people from all backgrounds together, and you’re sure to become a part of this iconic event’s history.

We hope you have the best time at this year’s unmissable celebration and are all prepared thanks to our guide, let the countdown begin! 

Read next: Best Laptops For University Students 2023.

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