Everyone is looking forward to the London 2012 Olympics but unfortunately, like most tourists, you will probably not be lucky enough to have tickets to any of the events. So if you are planning a trip to London what else is there to do?
With all of the attention the London Olympics is getting it is easy to overlook one of Londonís most famous annual events, the Notting Hill Carnival. The Notting Hill area is quite famous for having a strong West Indian community and in 1964, together with the hippy mentality for fun and flamboyance, the first Notting Hill carnival was kicked off with a steel band competition and parade through the streets. Since then the Carnival has attracted visitors from all over the world wanting to have fun and dress up in bright clothes and head dresses inspired by the Caribbean culture.
It isnít just the parade that attracts the crowds, but the strong smelling aromas of Caribbean spices that will entice you to the many food stalls set up. Mamaís Jerk Station is a favourite established stall that sells traditional jerk chicken and spices that simply canít be replicated. It was Notting Hill Carnival that inspired the now famous Dragons Den investment in Levi Rootsí "Reggae Reggae" sauce - a tomato-based barbeque sauce infused with jerk and Caribbean spices Ė which is ideal for those visiting the carnival who canít quite handle the heat of normal jerk sauces and marinades.
Every year Notting Hill Carnival is on the August bank holiday, the last weekend in August, and attracts well over a million visitors each year needing 40,000 volunteers to help organise, usher and set up. 2012 will be no different and Londonís most infamous carnival will be another event to look forward to in the summer.
So if you have not been lucky enough to get tickets for the London Olympics next year but still want an exciting trip to London then get booked into a hotel for the August Bank Holiday and get over to Notting Hill Carnival starting at Great Western Road. Sunday is childrenís day where you can bring the whole family and win prizes for competitions. However, as the floats are put away at night you may want to get a babysitter as the parties can get quite wild and this then sets the atmosphere for the grown-upís only carnival day on the Monday.