5 Tips & Tricks To Help You Boss Notting Hill Carnival Like A Total Pro

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I love Notting Hill Carnival, in fact I’ve only missed it once in the last eight years, and I even played mas as child. As a British Jamaican, Notting Hill Carnival is one of my most cherished days, where I've made some wonderful memories, and get to be fully submerged in my family's culture.

Without a doubt, Notting Hill Carnival in West London, is one of the biggest events in the British cultural calendar. With over a whopping 1 million visitors spread over the course of 2 days in August bank holiday, Carnival is a true celebration of Caribbean culture in Britain. And it holds some historical importance. The Carnival started after race riots broke out in 1958, as a way to ease tensions.

From the sizzling music to colourful costumes, and drool-worthy food, Notting Hill Carnival isn’t an event to be missed. With all that said, if you don’t know the tips and tricks to make your Carnival experience the best, you might be left feeling overwhelmed or a little confused. Maybe you’re a newbie to Carnival and you have no idea where to start. Or perhaps every year without fail you still don’t understand how you end up losing all your mates, your bag, and missing all the good bits.

So, here are some tips and tricks to help you boss Notting Hill Carnival and make the most of the bank holiday weekend:

Choose What Day You Want To Go To

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Notting Hill Carnival is over two days, so it’s good to choose which one you want to attend. Traditionally the Sunday is children’s day, where the parades are mainly dedicated to kids; it’s seen as the more family-friendly day of Carnival. Monday is where you’ll see the adults in mas and it might be a bit busier, so decide which one to go to, or like me, go to both!

2 to 4 Are The Magic Numbers

If you want the most out of Notting Hill Carnival, I’d recommend you meet up with two to four friends prior to getting there, and stick together. Attempting to find a big group of friends in Carnival is excruciating, it’s loud, it’s busy, and you will waste hours going in circles. The less of you there are, means the less toilet trips you have to make, the less opposing opinions, and the more time to have fun!

Check Your Route In Advance

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You can’t leave anything to chance, and getting to Notting Hill Carnival is honestly half the stress. Make sure you check well in advance on TFL the best routes for you. It might be quicker to avoid some of the bigger stations, and TFL put on special buses that run directly to Carnival for all day for south Londoners. If you can, try and plan your route home too, you may end up leaving from a different entrance of the Carnival.

When Preparing, Treat It Like A Festival

In a way, you’ve got to treat NHC a bit like a summer festival (minus the tent and wellies ). It’s a good idea to bring lots of water, cash for the food stalls, something waterproof in case it rains, a portable charger, and some tissue for the partaloos. I’d go as far as downloading a map of the area too. Being prepared is key.

Follow The Floats & Immerse Yourself In The Carnival

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Having said that, Notting Hill Carnival isn’t your average British summer festival. There is way more to it than just heading straight to to one of the sponsored stages and staying put all day. Make the most of the culture on offer, follow the colourful floats, and see the beautiful costumes, eat Caribbean food, and hop from sound system to sound system. Have fun!