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The Notting Hill Carnival 2008

Updated on August 22, 2014

The Notting Hill Carnival Is A Colourful Celebration of Music and Dance

The Notting Hill Carnival takes place in the Notting Hill area of West London on the Sunday and Monday of every August Bank Holiday weekend. It began as a small event in the 1960s, organised and celebrated by a mere few hundred West Indian immigrants. It has since grown to be a festival of culture visited each year by up to two million people from around the world.

I have to be absolutely honest here, right from the start, and admit that when my girlfriend suggested we spend Bank Holiday Monday paying a visit to the Notting Hill Carnival, I thought she was either ill-informed, joking, or that she had gone a little bit crazy. The whole idea appealed to me about as much as going to a football match would to her (she hates football!) I freely admit that I had never previously been to the part of London that is Notting Hill - never mind the Notting Hill Carnival - but like most people in the UK, I had seen TV news reports of the troubles and the number of arrests made each year and I had in my head this impression of something that was little more than a drunken riot in a backwater London slum. Well...was I wrong!

It probably goes without saying by this stage, but I finally agreed to make the trip and we decided to arrive mid to late morning, hopefully to avoid the crushing crowds and the biggest capacity for any trouble. As Notting Hill Gate Underground Station was closed for the duration of the carnival, we disembarked at Bayswater and simply followed the crowds. As the remainder of this site will testify, we discovered a festival of music, dance, culture, food and a hundred other things that literally swept us along in its midst and gave us both a thoroughly enjoyable day out.

The 2008 Notting Hill Carnival Parade on Video - Click the arrow in the centre of the screen below to begin

I would very much like to thank these two lovely ladies - and the two further up this page with whom I am pictured (yes - that's me sporting the half-grown beard) - for taking the time out of their incredibly busy schedules (and in this second case their lunch!) to pose for these photographs. I think it says a lot for the spirit of the Notting Hill Carnival that the performers are in most cases all too happy to accommodate visitors in this fashion...what I am absolutely sure is time, after time, after time.

The London Street and Underground Map - A very useful tool for visitors and locals alike

I have to admit that we would have been totally lost in London during our visit to the Notting Hill Carnival without maps of both the London Underground and the London Streets. Here is a fantastic publication (which I have just discovered) that actually combines the two into one!

Don't rely on directions and advice entirely - snap up this bargain on Amazon today and find your own way around London.

We were extremely fortunate to find - quite by accident rather than design - a magnificent spot at which to watch the Carnival Parade and take what are probably several dozen top quality photos between us. Every group that came along offered something different in terms of their accompanying music, their magnificent costumes, or their elaborate and delightful dance steps and movements. It truly was a joy and a fascination to behold but as is generally the case with all such pleasurable activities, the time and the parade itself seemed to pass by almost in the wink of an eye.

The lady pictured to the left was just one of many such performers perched high on the range of floats, dancing and waving as they passed.

Notting Hill Carnival Parade 2007 on Video - Clcik on the arrow in the centre of the screen to begin

It was approximately eleven o'clock in the morning when we were walking the approach roads to the Notting Hill Carnival site but already, the streets were lined with stalls selling an almost infinite variety of delicious smelling foodstuffs with origins from all over the world. Some of the stalls were laid out in front of cafes and restaurants; others were like the one pictured right and set up in a front garden. Regardless of what form they took, the one thing these stands all had in common was that there produce looked delicious...and smelled even better!

Stumble It!

Were you as surprised as me as to the true nature of the event? Did you enjoy it as much as I did? I very much hope that you can spare a moment or two to let us know in the space below.

Have you ever been to the Notting Hill Carnival? - What did you think of it?

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    • Gloriousconfusion profile image

      Diana Grant 4 years ago from United Kingdom

      I absolutely loved it and went several times in the earlier days. Then it became so popular that you had to be careful not to be crushed in the crowds. I got crushed once, people pushing from behind, and nowhere to go in front, and I was quite scared, as I couldn't breathe, but managed to squeeze out of the queue sideways. Music, food and atmosphere were great