An Aussie Visits the Notting Hill Carnival

Written by: Nii Lantey Bannerman

Love the Largest Carnival in Europe

I’ve been living in the UK for about two months now and I’ve been experiencing as much ‘Britishness’ as I can. Tea, crumpets, cricket; that sort of thing. The country is completely different to home (Australia’s home for me) and since I’ve been here I’ve really wanted to immerse myself in British culture. It’s famous for it after all.

So far I’ve been to a couple of football games (despite being Australian I’m footy mad – Everton’s my team if you’re wondering), a couple of local festivals (how many beer festivals are there in this country?!) and sightseeing in London. Of what I’ve seen so far the UK is completely unique. I loved Nelson’s Column – it’s very big. In fact, everything in London is big – the Houses of Parliament, the London Eye, Trafalgar Square – even Ben lives up to its name! There’s so much history and so much going on. When I heard about Notting Hill Carnival I knew I had to go.

I was at a party and someone was telling me all about it. This one guy said Notting Hill Carnival is the second largest carnival in the world (after the Rio Carnival held in Brazil) and the largest carnival in Europe. Apparently well over a million people go each year. He had whetted my appetite. I knew I had to go.

Exceeding expectations

I arrived fairly early in the morning armed with my camera… This was one of my first pictures and I felt it summed up the carnival from the word go.

This photo was one of my favourite costumes at Carnival. It was so bright and the shoulder pads reminded me of the ’70s.

I’m not too sure what the girl on the left is doing (or the girl on the right as well) but they were enjoying themselves, which I liked. Every one had a smile on their face at Carnival.

There was such a great community vibe going on. These dancers were absolutely amazing. The music was thumping all afternoon.

It was good to see the police on the street. Some of them got involved in the action too but one thing that really surprised me was the drinking on the streets. We’re not allowed to do that in Oz and for some reason (I think we all know why) it actually made the Carnival more enjoyable! It was just refreshing to see people have a good time with no constraints.

So that was my Carnival experience in pictures. I loved it and it was everything that epitomises the UK – multi-culturalism at its finest!

I felt like it was unfinished though, that the police shut it down early. I felt that it had a couple more miles left in the tank, but the vibe, the vibe! It was all about the vibe and that continued long into the night.

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