5 Tips to Stay Afloat at Notting Hill Carnival 2017

It’s the final weekend of August, which means Notting Hill Carnival is amongst us.

It’s that time of the year where a three-day street party ignites the streets of West London, and an explosion of celebration captures the city. In the mid-1960s, London’s West Indian community pioneered the carnival as a means to overcome racial discrimination, encourage unity and celebrate the Black diaspora. For many, the carnival is a statement of the black community’s established presence, while people from a myriad of cultures flock to join the celebration. With over one million people from across Europe, attending the carnival annually, it is, without a doubt, an iconic party to remember.

So, you’ve decided to join one of the world’s largest street festivals this weekend? Whether you’re a seasoned attendant or a first timer, we have a few tips to ensure the party’s smooth sailing.

  1. Pace yourself.
    Notting Hill Carnival kicks off on Saturday evening, and then runs for around 12 hours straight on Sunday and Monday. The weekend is jam packed with captivating floats, unmissable DJs, and incredible steel bands. With a constant soundtrack blaring from the multiple sound systems throughout, it’s tempting to dance non-stop, but taking regular breaks throughout, to take it all in with a side of Caribbean cuisine, will have you partying all weekend without passing out!

  2. Stay hydrated.
    Despite London’s recent absence of sunny weather, Notting Hill Carnival will have you sweating and panting for some H2O. After wading through the crowds, trailing behind a float, and searching for a toilet that’s actually available, you’ll most definitely need some water. Staying topped up with a bottle or two per day will serve you well.

  3. Stay together.
    Yes, it sounds like something you’d say to a group of children, but with over one million people at the carnival, losing your friends is ridiculously easy! A tight group, who are aware of each other, avoids the stress of spending hours (yes, hours) trying to find people! Make the most of your Notting Hill crew, by making sure they’re by your side.

  4. Carry cash.
    Many of the food vendors are cash based, and it will make your life a lot easier to come prepared. Despite the painful queues, the abundant and diverse range of food on offer at Notting Hill will make your day, but the local ATMs that charge to withdraw are not so pleasant. 

  5. Have fun.
    Typical, but so important! Let’s remember, that regardless of some not-so-positive press coverage of Notting Hill Carnival, it’s a weekend of celebration and unity that lifts the heart of London. Joy abounds in the streets, dancing never ceases, and memories are made. Let’s make this year a great one.