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Notting Hill Carnival 2012

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by Charlotte Rees-Williams (subscribe)
I'm Lottie, a freelance writer/aspiring journalist, sometimes residing in Cardiff, sometimes in London! Visit my blog at
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Embrace the spirit of diversity at Notting Hill Carnival
Every year, on August Bank Holiday weekend, West London transforms into a Caribbean wonderland when the Notting Hill Carnival, the biggest street festival in Europe arrives to spice things up. This carnival has some impressive statistics; 50,000 street performers, 40 static sound systems and 2.5 million attendees over the course of three days. Clearly it's something that you should not miss out on under any circumstance!

I have always loved visiting the Notting Hill area purely because of its amazing diversity. One minute you are walking down a street with towering, majestic houses that cost a fortune, then you are rifling through a shabby chic vintage boutique, next thing you know you are jamming to some reggae music in a little club. And this is the beauty of Notting Hill- there really is something for everyone. Where better for a street festival?

In 2011, when I attended with a group of friends, the impact of the festival hit us immediately upon arriving at Notting Hill. Droves and droves of happy go lucky people, ready for a party crowded into the area. Be sure to plan your route there as a number of tube stations in the vicinity are closed. You will not have a problem locating the festival by foot as you will hear the pumping music from afar.

The setting itself really is a spectacle to behold. Amazing floats for the parade, each one telling a different story, costumed performers wearing bright and vividly coloured creations with feathers and sequins galore and some seriously loud music that will get you in the mood to party! Whether you are going to view the parade, attend a party at one of the many clubs in the area or simply going to soak up the atmosphere, you will not be stuck for things to do.

And the food must get a mention! Authentic Caribbean cuisine in the forms of corn on the cob and jerk chicken were mouth-wateringly delicious and available from a number of local businesses. Prices may be higher the more central you are in the festival so scout out a few stalls to find the best deal. Same goes for drinks.

The Saturday of the festival traditionally sees the steel band competition, where festival-goers can experience some seriously talented musicians whereas the Sunday focuses more on a family-friendly kid's day. On the bank holiday Monday, the main parade takes place. And of course, after parties galore will happen later on in the day for the adults who are up for an all-nighter.

I cannot recommend the Notting Hill Carnival enough! A weekend which offers all the ingredients to put you in a fantastic mood- lip-smacking Caribbean food, music to let loose to and pure entertainment from performers whose soul intentions are to put on a fantastic show. Embrace the spirit of diversity and celebrate the Notting Hill Carnival this August.
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Why? To have a party weekend!
When: August 26th-27th
Phone: No direct number
Where: Notting Hill and West London
Cost: Free
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