It’s bank holiday weekend in London, those who are learning English in London might be worried that over 3 days there won’t be much to do but don’t worry! This is the weekend when the most amazing colour arrives in West London – the Notting Hill Carnival. The carnival started in the 1950s as a way of the West Indian immigrants in London celebrating their own culture – bringing a little fun and sunshine into what was then a very dreary and poor part of London. Now Notting Hill is one of the fanciest and most expensive parts of the capital and yet every year for 2 days is still taken over by the colours, sounds and smells of the Caribbean. Its actually hard to miss it – just go to Notting Hill tube station – or anywhere in that area and follow the crowds. The festival is organised around a massive procession of dancers and music – through the streets of the area. You’ll see the most fantastic costumes and a huge variety of different kinds of music form the traditional calypso music to modern samba and rap. If the crowds in the streets around Notting Hill are too much, or you just want a different kind of experience then head for Hyde Park where there is a stage and you can listen to some bands in more relaxed surroundings.
Sunday is traditionally a day for the ‘children’s parade’ just a bit more low key and with the children showing off their costumes and dances. Monday is the main event. There’s always plenty to see and plenty to eat and drink. It’s not dangerous but you need to be careful – just don’t take too much money and hang onto your cameras!
And if you’re worried there might be trouble and it might be more dangerous after the recent rioting there will be lots of police and the carnival will be finished arounf 7pm. So it should be perfectly safe