Notting Hill Carnival – The Weekend London comes to life!
Notting Hill Carnival - the biggest carnival in London and one of the biggest in the world – is 51 years strong, and in our opinion the few days that London truly comes to life. It’s the weekend where everyone comes together to dance, eat and have fun whilst celebrating the diversity of London. For us, this is what makes London, London.
We’ve been going to carnival ever since we were teenagers, and haven’t stopped doing so year after year (unless we happened to be on holz..). Although there is usually a wave of negative media around carnival, it really doesn’t dampen the mood of those who are there raving it up on the streets, trying the variety of food stalls and listening to great music.
The weather at Notting Hill carnival was perfect this year-round! As Notting Hill Carnival is 90% outdoors, there have been times when London was being London and poured down with rain, trying to kill the mood of everyone. But honestly, it doesn’t make a difference – come rain or shine – people will still be on the streets having a great time. With the great weather on our side, we decided to double the fun and attended two days running! In the past, Sunday’s are usually held for ‘children’s day’ where it is a little more reserved and more family friendly. Over the last few years however, we’ve definitely noticed a trend where more adults are attending the Sunday carnival too LOL! Twice the food, Twice the fun!
Let’s talk about food. There. Is. So. Much. Choice. If you go carnival and don’t eat the food, more fool you. There are hundreds of Caribbean food stalls to choose from, and it can be a bit overwhelming because you want to make sure 1) the food is actually tasty and 2) you don’t get ripped off. Our tips?
- Sniff a few out but don’t feel like you have to stray too far – most stalls sell the same type of food
- Seek the smokiest stall - a good sign to find the smokiest BBQ jerk chicken
- Look out for a crowd – longer wait, but it’s popularity must be good!
You will usually find a good mix of jerk chicken and pork, rice and peas, curry goat, festival dumplings and patties to keep your energy up and stomachs lined for the day. Drinks wise, you’re definitely get a lot of fresh coconut water, sugar cane juice, stalls selling rum punch, Guinness punch and couple cans of Red Stripe! On the Sunday, we obvs opted for the staple jerk chicken, rice and peas, dumpling, coleslaw – and it did not disappoint. On the second day, we had curry goat, rice and peas, dumpling, coleslaw and also some sick vegan food from a stall called ‘Eat to Live, Live to Die’. This was the first time we had vegan food at carnival, and it was delicious! The smoky smell of jerk chicken in the air always tempts us, which is why we have been sleeping on the vegan options – never again. All of this food was washed down with Rum Punch…! We aren’t heavy drinkers, so you know this was a wavy mix for us LOL! The combination of all the food, spices and alcohol might cause some issues in our friend, The Gut, such as trapped wind and bloating. We’ve been reading "Gut: The Inside Story of Our Body’s Most Under-rated Organ" by Giulia Enders and it has been such an eye opener! If you’re ever wondering or curious about what goes on down there, and how the rest of our body plays a part, we’d definitely recommend it!
Enough about the gut, and back to Carnival! MUSIC. Another hard decision to make. Again, so much choice and always the best line up. Our main tips? Research! Find the line-up you like best and make sure you and your mates are all aligned on which area you want to stay in. The most frustrating thing when you are trying to move from one area to the next is getting lost in the crowd and missing out on great music. On Sunday we went to boiler room x Deviation. Mr Eazi came out which was so sick. Heartless Crew also made an appearance, guaranteeing good vibes. On Monday we went to went back to Boiler Room, but this time it was with Nasty love - more dancehall, more life!
Honestly, this year was prob one of the best carnivals to date. It is pure good vibes…with a crowd of one million people. If you aren’t from the UK and are lucky enough to be in London during this electric weekend one day in your life, make sure you go Notting Hill Carnival – it will be your best London experience ever.