How to have fun at Notting Hill Carnival

How to have fun at Notting Hill Carnival

Notting Hill Carnival! Undoubtedly the best time of the year in London. Where else can you listen to different types of music, dance till you ache surrounded by people equally as happy as you, for free? Even the tube ride to Notting Hill Gate is hilarious in itself, with mini raves permitted on London Underground for one day only*

Notting Hill carnival has been going since 1966 over the August bank holiday Sunday and Monday, as an effort to improve race relations in London. For people today, it’s a way to celebrate our Caribbean culture with everyone. Before you object – ignore all the negative media attention given to carnival. Statistically it’s safer than the likes of Glastonbury and Reading festivals, despite receiving far more negative press. I could delve more into the smearing of Notting Hill carnival but that would be a whole new post in itself. Not to mention that it adds a net contribution to London financially. Carnival needs to stay!

Anyway, here is my guide on how to make the best out of Notting Hill carnival:

1) Wear glitter. In abundance. Honestly if you aren’t colourful and jazzy you’ll look out of place.
2) Bring snacks with you. You’ll find the best Caribbean food on offer here, but prepare for long lines, and drinking on an empty stomach isn’t wise….
3) Join a Mas band! Mas is the name for the Carnival bands, you get to wear beautiful costumes and parade VIP style through the streets. Here is a picture of me looking fabulous with Caribbean Sessions, you can usually sign up online and pick your choice of costume!
4) If you don’t want to go all out with a costume, there are t-shirt options instead. You can be part of the band for a cheaper price, and still have all the fun! Some t-shirt bands also get messy with chocolate, paint, oil and powder, like us on Sunday with Chocolate Mas!

 

5) If you have kids, take them on the Sunday. It’s children’s day, and less crowded than the Monday, reserved for the hardcore revellers.
6) Use the toilet before you leave the house. Portaloos are gross if you’re boujie** like me, and the only alternative that won’t get you arrested is to pay £2 or more to a resident or business to use their slightly better toilets.
7) Find an online guide beforehand so that you know which stages to go to, or which floats to look out for. There is very little mobile reception while you are out there, so better to be prepared in advance.
8) Plan your journey in advance! Many stations are closed and busses are diverted so to avoid stress find out beforehand the best way to get there.
9) Drink rum! Obviously. Rum is the drink of the Caribbean, so might as well get into the spirit…
10) Do your music prep. The floats will play 90% Soca music, so learn about the music and prepare to give your wickedest wine when your song comes up….
11) Bring a portable charger. Your phone will die very quickly when you realise how many great photo opportunities there are!
12) Bring your country flag! Easiest way to make friends, because you’ll have common ground, and plenty of songs require you to wave your flags in the air!

With all that said, I hope you’re ready for next year. It has been a week since I paraded and I’m still recovering. Don’t forget to look up Caribbean Sessions, they can be found at https://www.caribbeansessions.co.uk – I expect to see you playing mas in costume with us next year!

*probably not true. But everyone throws them anyway.
**Bad and boujie. I can’t really explain this very well. Here you go: Explanation 

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Lizzy shares her #Lblogger views and opinions whilst #TBlogging around the world. In Layman’s terms… she’s a Lifestyle and travel blogger. Not only is she a young career focussed professional, she’s Starbucks and Zara enthusiast. She’d like to settle down and have kids, but all in good time.
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9 Comments

  1. Sareta

    I love Notting Hill Carnival, I’m really gutted that I didn’t go this year. I’ve only been on kids day coz I’m old and I need to take it easy lol. Food, drinks, music, floats and atmosphere is the best.

    You looked AMAZING BTW x

    Reply
    • Lizzie

      Nope you need to upgrade to Monday, it’s so much better!

      Reply
      • Sareta

        Sounds messy… #RumPunch

        Reply
  2. Tamu

    I LOVED carnival this year! I always do but the weather made it extra spesh! Now can we get into Lizzie’s figure! That running has made you SNATCHED in all the right places! That costume is dope too!

    GLITTER IS ESSENTIAL!!

    Love your pics really captured the vibes

    Reply
    • Lizzie

      Thank you girl! Still got a long way to go but glad I had the confidence to wear a full costume this year. And yes – carnival was a dream, still can’t beleive how good the weather was!

      Reply
  3. Pree

    OMG this looks amazing. I’ve never been but I do live up north – gets a load of bad press though. Looks like you loved it though, did you always feel safe??

    Reply
    • Lizzie

      It was amazing! I’d say I felt safer than most, when you’re with a band you have security guys on either side of you and a rope separating you from the public so it’s deffo a better experience!

      Reply
  4. Zaralouu

    Firstly you looked AMAAAAAZING

    Secondly this looks AMMMAAAAAZIIIING!!!

    Thirdly? I’m gutted it’s hard for me to get to London! We have a carnival where I live too but I’m pretty certain its downsized since I was a teenager (gutted I loved the carnival here)

    This looks so much fun and I’m impressed there’s a dedicated kids day!!

    Zara
    X

    Ps. I’d be boujee too 🤢 Portaloos are rank 😷

    Reply
    • Lizzie

      Aww thank you! You have to come down and experience it one day! And yeh portaloos are grim, I had to suck it up though x

      Reply

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