Updated: Mar 25, 2019
It's that time of the year again! Here's a few things to know before heading down to Notting Hill.
1 . SHOE SITUATION
Don’t wear nice shoes, the average person clocks up over 15-20 thousand steps a day at carnival – treat it like a festival. Invincible classics like Air Force 1, Reeboks, Vans etc are key.
2 . TOILET SITUATION
Remember to take cash, toilets are dotted about in the form of portable loos but the queues are gonna be horrendous - it's something to think about before you get that round in. Locals will be charging up to £4 (maybe more) to use their toilets – it’s probably better than the alternative of urinating in the street. Although, don’t do that you’ll get caught by police or even worse find yourself trending on social media.
3 . TRAVEL SITUATION
No matter how you plan to get to and from carnival, it's going to be crazy busy. We’re talking about Europe's biggest street festival here, with well over 2 million people attending every year — dodging the crowds isn't an option.
Planning on bringing your kids? Choose Sunday which is family day, and keep them close.
Meeting someone? Meet them well outside of the Notting Hill area — trying to meet the gang inside is near on impossible. Plus you won't get much luck with your mobile — with so many people in such a close area, the struggle for signal is real (upload your banging snaps later).
Here's a cool map for your travel options from TfL.
4 . MONEY SITUATION
Did I mention bring cash ?? — many of the food and drink (hydrate hydrate hydrate btw) stalls still only take cash (first world problems), and cash points will have huge queues or be boarded up.
5 . PARADE SITUATION.
Notting Hill Carnival is a huge, free street festival celebrating the Caribbean community since 1966. It is officially Europe's biggest street festival, with banging music, amaze street food, colourful costumes and obviously the phenomenal parade processions.
Watching it and following it is super fun and the costumes are insane – dress in colour with our new Tokyo wonderland collection.
There are lots of stages and acts to choose from, wherever you turn expect great music and great vibes. The official programme of events (see here for listings).
6 . AFTER PARTY SITUATION
Well, sort of an after party, most of these take place on the Sunday, there are some fantastic events on around London (if you still have the energy).
Remember SW4 festival always takes place at the same time as Carnival but if you get time it is always worth checking out after.
7 . SAFETY SITUATION
Whilst the team at AXIV has always experienced a great time at carnival always keep your wits about you, like with any huge event staying aware and alert is key. Pickpockets have been known to target Carnival so keep your belongings out of sight, or at home. If you have any problems, inform a police officer (if they are not too busy twerking) you're never far from one at Carnival.
8 . FOOD AND WATER SITUATION
Food and drink stalls are everywhere, whilst most focus mainly on Caribbean food, you can get most cuisines. Expect to queue for your jerk chicken and rice (dish of the day), alongside other carnival classics such as curry, veg patties and corn on the cob.
This year don't miss out on Carnival's warm-up special event with a delicious and diverse range of vegan food which can be enjoyed by all because remember 'You don't have to be vegan to enjoy vegan'. The Vegan Vibes food festival is in Greenwich Market hosted by Plant Bass LDN on Friday the 24th August. So let your taste buds join in the festival!
The Carnival flavours will feature food from the hottest vegan joints. Here are five of our recommended vegan pop-ups to visit over the carnival weekend...
First up, En Root, a flavour culture clash or 'Indian fusion with international confusion'. Using 100% plant-based menu en route incorporate many plans and of spices and flavours to take your palate to another level!
PATTY BY NATURE
Coconut milk, Curried jackfruit and jerk plantain, are just some of the tasty flavours that vegan patty makers patty by nature have to offer. With such innovative and imaginative ideas these vegan patties are far from your traditional style.
Mouthwatering burgers with home-made tartar sauce, masala crisps, Veganauti never seem to disappoint with their amazing vegan plant-based burgers. Had vegan burgers before? Not with this much creativity you haven't!
Using only whole food ingredients Eat Vital produce Caribbean inspired vegan cuisine that oozes with taste and flavour! Infusing a variety of spices and herbs that are sure to wake up your taste buds.
LITTLE LEAF PIZZA
With the aim to help tackle climate change, Little leaf pizza uses plant-based ingredients to create a range of flavours including vegan pepperoni, grilled aubergines and of course vegan cheese, their mouthwatering rustic pizzas are sure to provide guilt free eating!
Don’t forget to drink plenty of water, while alcoholic drinks (red stripe alert) will be in abundance a bottle of water is always a great shout - especially if you don’t want to regret your antics the morning after. Drinking plenty of water will help you avoid a hangover by re-hydrating you after all the water lost from alcohol.
9 . WEATHER SITUATION ¯/_(ツ)_/¯
Who knows what to expect but caps might be a clever choice see our new cap selection. Don’t forget a hoodie to accompany that statement tee - with the British weather, you’ll never know if you will be facing a heatwave, the beast from the east or a thunderstorm.