The Notting Hill Carnival is a Caribbean and West Indian carnival that has taken place every year in London since 1966. Every year, 2 million people take part in the carnival.


The first Caribbean carnival took place in 1959 at St Pancras Town Hall as a response to attacks that happened at Notting Hill a year earlier. 108 people were charged for being involved in the attack. The attackers attacked people of Notting Hill because of the colour of their skin.

Several months later, Kelso Cochrane, a 32-year-old carpenter, was killed in a racially-motivated attack in Notting Hill. The murder had a huge impact on local people, with over 1,200 people attending his funeral.

Duke Vin (whose full name was Vincent George Forbes) was one of the co-founders of the Notting Hill Carnival. He brought over the first sound system over from Jamaica to the UK in 1955, and took it to the Notting Hill Carnival in 1973. He played it every year until he died in 2012.

What happens at Carnival?

There are many events that happen at Notting Hill Carnival each year, the main one being the Mas parade.

Mas Parade

The Mas Parade is the main part of the carnival. As the name suggests, it involves a parade of bands playing various instruments and people in exotic costumes. The costume theme changes each year. For example, in 2018, many people wore green to remember those who died in the Grenfell Tower fire.

A band playing steel drums at the Notting Hill Carnival


Most of the food at Notting Hill Carnival is Caribbean food, which includes jerk chicken (shown below). However, in recent years, foods from across the world have been sold at the carnival.

Jerk chicken being served cooked on a large BBQ | CC BY 2.0, Wikipedia