11 Alternative Notting Hill Carnival Celebrations
Carnival is one of the highlights of London’s summer calendar, but if the crowds aren’t for you, check out The Resident’s pick of London’s best alternative Carnival parties…
Lead image: The London Cabaret Club’s Summer Bank Holiday Carnival Special
1 UK National Panorama Steelband Competition, Notting Hill
Saturday 24 August
The UK National Panorama Steelband Competition takes place on the Saturday evening before Carnival, with six of the country’s top steelbands each playing a 10-minute piece from memory in the hope of being crowned the 2019 Panorama champions. The ticketed event (adults £10, kids £3) raises money for the musicians, with the proceeds being split among the musicians equally. Plus there’ll be food, dancing and the chance to vote for your personal favourite on the Notting Hill Carnival app. 6-10pm.
Emslie Horniman Pleasance Park, Bosworth Road W10 3DH; eventbrite.co.uk
2 J’Ouvert, Notting Hill
Sunday 25 August
You can do Carnival without the crushing crowds and tube station bottlenecks, so long as you’re willing to get up early… Drawn from ancestral Caribbean tradition, the J’Ouvert celebration, known as the ‘opening of the day’, early risers would cover their bodies in mud, powder and chocolate to celebrate the start of Carnival. These days, colourful paint replaces the mud, so don some clothes you’re willing to get dirty and get involved in the messiness. J’Ouvert morning is one of Notting Hill Carnival’s best kept secrets, starting at 6am and lasting till around 9am outside Sainsbury’s on Ladbroke Grove.
Canal Way, off Ladbroke Grove W10 6HJ (next to Sainsbury’s car park)
3 Lockdown Party at Trailer Happiness, Notting Hill
25 & 26 August
West London’s favourite mid-century tiki lounge, Trailer Happiness, is getting into the Carnival spirit with a Lockdown Party with rum cocktails, shredding playlists and an unrivalled atmosphere. As well as serving up rum punches outside the bar on Portobello Road from 11am-7pm, the basement bar will keep the festival vibes going from 8pm until 3am with the unparalleled Big Tune sound system playing the best sounds in town. You can alos get your hands on the Notting Chill rum punch – created by Trailer Happiness in collaboration with The Duppy Share, for just £5 throughout August. Tickets £8-£15.
177 Portobello Road, Notting Hill W11 2DY; trailerh.com
4 Pop Brixton’s ‘No Long Ting’ Bank Holiday, Brixton
Saturday 24 August
Pop Brixton is getting in the carnival spirit this bank holiday weekend with the ‘No Long Ting’ Bank Holiday special featuring Terri Walker. This free all-day party is the perfect alternative to – or warm up for – Notting Hill Carnival, with a live PA from Mercury Prize nominee Terri Walker and DJ sets from Mr Thing, Maura Miller, Billy Biznizz, DJ Croc, Busyfingers, Dj Pure Life & Handson Family with Vanessa Freeman. As well as great RnB, hip hop and soul music, there’ll be the usual amazing street food from the likes of Mama’s Jerk, Halo Burger, Studmuffin and more in Pop Brixton’s glorious open-air and covered spaces. 12pm-11.30pm. Free entry.
49 Brixton Station Road, Brixton SW9 8PQ; popbrixton.org
5 Novikov’s Summer Carnival Party, Mayfair
Sunday 25 August
Mayfair favourite Novikov Restaurant & Bar is hosting a huge Notting Hill Carnival after party that promises to be an ‘adrenalin-packed summer Carnival extravaganza’.Novikov’s Lounge Bar will recreate the dazzling colours and hypnotic beats with a pulsating melange of dancers, DJs and drummers. Not forgetting of course, the Lounge Bar’s colourful cocktail collection! So, shake those tail feathers, grab those maracas and continue the festival fever long into the night. 9pm-2am. Free entry.
50a Berkeley Street, Mayfair W1J 8HA; novikovrestaurant.co.uk
6 Carnival Rooftop Party at Rye Society, Peckham
Rye Society and Wray & Nephew UK are teaming up to throw the ultimate Carnival summer terrace party at Peckham’s new rooftop bar. Get ready for a sun-soaked day of Reggae, Hip-Hop, Garage, Jungle and Dancehall with Ray Keith, the Don of Jungle, as well as pioneering DJ, producer and turntablist DjSupremeUk spinning a 90-minute carnival set, and select Radio’s Mark Maddox opening the show with hip hop, reggae and dancehall classics. As well as an open-air dancefloor for the ultimate Carnival vibe, you’ll get a free rum punch on arrival, exclusive Wray & Nephew cocktails, Caribbean street food and the chance to get your face painted and glittered! 12pm-10.30pm. Free entry before 3pm or £10 (click here to book).
Rye Society, Roof D, Bussey Building, 133 Rye Lane, Peckham SE15 4ST; ryesociety.co.uk
7 The London Cabaret Club’s Summer Bank Holiday Carnival Special, Bloomsbury
23 & 24 August
The London Cabaret Club will be hosting a Summer Bank Holiday Carnival Special with a striking new production at The Bloomsbury Ballroom. The show will take guests on a tropical tour of immersive cabaret, featuring vibrant live performances, colourful carnival dancers, rum-based cocktails and a Caribbean menu. Enjoy extravagant live performances from world-class samba troupe Brazilian Fantasy, The Brazilian Fantasy Carnival Band – the best Brazilian Samba Percussion band in the UK – and post-show DJs who will keep the carnival spirit rolling until 3am. Tickets from £35 for a Show Ticket or £75 for the show and dinner (VIP tickets also available).
The Bloomsbury Ballroom, Victoria House, Bloomsbury Square WC1B 4DA; thelondoncabaretclub.com
8 The Mansion Party – Carnival Edition at Belair House, Dulwich
Friday 23 August
Trekking to Notting Hill for Carnival is a bit of a mission, so why not opt for something a little closer to home, like The Mansion Party – Carnival Edition at Belair House? Don your finest gear and enjoy a three-course Caribbean dinner, served at 7.30pm, before the party really begins at 9pm. The beautiful period mansion will host live music in four rooms across two floors, with RnB, Dancehall, Soca, Afrobeats and Garage in Room 1 to Rare Groove & Slow Jams in Room 2, 80s Soul & 90s RnB in Room 3 and Lovers Rock & Reggae vocals in Room 4. Doors open at 7pm. Dinner and dancing £45; dancing only (from 9pm) £15. To book see eventbrite.co.uk or call 020 123 1262 / 07944 023 493.
Belair House, 5 Gallery Road SE21 7AB; belairhouse.co.uk
9 Rum Weekender Party at The Eagle, Ladbroke Grove
Saturday 24 August
The Eagle in Ladbroke Grove is hosting a one-off Rum Weekender Party during Carnival weekend with a Duppy Share bar take-over. Offering two drinks for the price of one (that’s ‘two for rum’, to you!), you can try the sweet Watermelon Sunshine served with Duppy Share rum, Double Dutch cucumber and watermelon tonic (£5) or Reggae Rum Punch with pineapple juice and Double Dutch ginger beer (£7) and get yourself a bargain. Resident DJ Savio Testa will be on the decks from 8pm until late to bring the festival vibe. The Eagle and other select Hippo Inns pubs is also running special rum-inspired menus throughout August, featuring jerk chicken with fries, salad and a shot of rum, and fish tacos with pickled red cabbage, sour cream, mango salsa and coriander. Free entry.
250 Ladbroke Grove W10 5LP; theeagle.co.uk
10 Pre-Carnival Party at The Parrot at The Waldorf, Aldwych
Saturday 24 August
The Parrot at The Waldorf is hosting a one-off carnival-inspired party this Saturday with live Afro-Caribbean Calypso music, a guest DJ and an exciting array of tropical-inspired coolers. The bar, nestled within the Waldorf Hilton, will also be offering a variety of Caribbean-inspired small plates created by its Executive Chef, Karl Richardson, with dishes like Jerk Chicken Wing, Akcee and Salt Fish, as well as Fried Plantain. Try summer cocktails such as the Parrot Puffer, a blend of Absolut Elyx Vodka packed with seasonal summer fruits and cooling ice-cream, along with the Iguaca, a fresh twist on the classic Pina Colada cocktail. Places are available on a first-come-first served basis, and reservations for a table can be made here. 8pm-12am.
The Waldorf Hilton, Aldwych WC2B 4DD; theparrotldn.co.uk
11 The Vibes Cartel Carnival After-Party at Prince of Peckham
Sunday 25 August
Peckham does love a good Carnival afterparty, and this one’s for the energy crew. Expect carnival vibes with reggae, dancehall, funk, afrobeat, garage and more global sounds courtesy of resident DJs and pirate radio legend Oneman, who has been at the forefront of genres such as grime, dubstep, garage and UK house over the last 20 years. Set across both floors, with Carnival Anthems in Room One and Old Skool Garage & Funky House in Room Two, this one will keep the Carnival going all night! Tickets £10. 8pm-3am.
1 Clayton Road, Peckham SE15 5JA; princeofpeckham.co.uk