Notting Hill: From the Serene to Party Scene

Notting Hill Carnival

Since 1966, the Notting Hill Carnival transforms the streets from the serene into a party scene. (Photo: Nomad Tales)

The summer’s last Bank Holiday is coming up in the U.K. and Ireland (last Monday in August) and London is the place to be this weekend, here’s why:

When I stumbled on the colorful events and activities that are to fill London‘s streets in Notting Hill this weekend, I could not believe my eyes. The depicted scene, extroverted, colorful and bursting with energy, takes place each year around this time and is nothing like the serene and quiet Notting Hill that I witnessed with my own two eyes in early Spring two years ago.

I had the privilege of living in the beautiful and culturally rich city of London for a few months when I did a semester abroad from my studies in Vienna, Austria. I had four months to take in all that London had to offer (and, of course, complete my course work.) I figured out a neat way to combine my studies with touristy activities: during the week I would go to my classes and complete all the tedious work it entailed, and on the weekends, I would dedicate one sightseeing trip to a single “must-see” attraction. I did it all, one weekend at a time: Tower of London, Tate Modern, National Gallery, Trafalgar Square, London Eye, Camden Market (to name a few). I actually lived in a flat in Camden, a.k.a. “Freak Show Town” (as I liked to call it), because there were/are a lot of of interestingly appareled individuals parading around, every day, day and night.

Naturally, one weekend’s excursion was dedicated to Notting Hill, an area in West London. When I visited there, it was exactly as I had expected it to look and feel like – a casual, scenic stroll down Portobello Road. If you have seen the romantic comedy Notting Hill (starring Julia Roberts and Hugh Grant) you’ll get my drift. I’m talking about a quiet, idyllic, serene and undeterred atmosphere that boasts coziness and loveliness.

All that’s about to change this weekend as the vivacious Notting Hill Carnival will take over the streets of Notting Hill and send vibrations across the city. Don’t miss Europe’s biggest street festival that is led by members of the Trinidad and Tobago (Trini) Caribbean population and is expecting over 1 million visitors from all over the world. Immerse yourself into Carribean culture: costume masquerades, steel bands, calypso and SOCA (Sounds of Caribbean and Africa, a distinctive fusion of musical styles).

August 29- August 31: Notting Hill Carnival, London, U.K.

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