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Maria Asaad
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It’s that exciting time of year again, that’s right, Notting Hill Carnival weekend has rolled around for another year and it’s time to get into the festive spirit. With this in mind, let’s take a look at some of the best carnivals in the world that can all be flown to via Heathrow!



Rio Carnival, Brazil

The Rio Carnival in Brazil is considered the world's biggest and most spectacular carnival. It is also the most well-known, with its fame reaching every other country globally.

The carnival is usually held five days before Lent or around that time. It is one of the best times to visit Rio de Janeiro as you are guaranteed to be treated to a magnificent event of colour, dancing and music.

The world-famous carnival attracts around two million visitors each year, with over 200 performers taking to the streets of Rio for an entire day and night. The festivities can even go on until the next day, with non-stop partying for over 24 hours. 


Binche Carnival, Belgium

The Binche Carnival is also held around Ash Wednesday every year, in the streets of Belgium. It is most recognised and famous for its Gilles, masked men in uniforms causing chaos in the city while trying to keep bad spirits far away.              

Homegrown traditions such as shaking sticks, throwing apples and hundreds of unblinking eyes staring threateningly, are all done in an attempt to keep the evil spirits at bay.

In 2003, the carnival was proclaimed a ‘Masterpiece of the Oral and Intangible Heritage of Humanity’ by UNESCO as a recognition of its unique and distinctive character. 


Mardi Gras, New Orleans

Mardi Gras is the most famous carnival in the United States and is a symphony of jazz bands and elaborate parades taking to the streets of New Orleans. The celebrations go well into the night, with late-night bar hopping and street dancing until dawn.

All of the festivities are in honour of mythological characters like King Zulu and Bacchus and roots all the way back to the 17th and 18th century European traditions.

It used to be a celebration for the privileged few, but today, Mardi Gras is open to anyone who wants to take part in the fun with masses of all ages joining in. The New Orleans parade is legendary with its extravagantly decorated floats that throw beads and cups to the hundreds of party-goers. 


Notting Hill Carnival, London

Known as the biggest street party in Europe and the second-biggest carnival worldwide after Rio, Notting Hill Carnival is an annual 3-day event taking over West London’s streets. It brings an array of colour, music and food that represents the warm and lively spirit of the Caribbean.

Taking place over the August Bank Holiday weekend, it helps round off the summer in style with three days of partying and is a great time to visit London. The parade may be the main focus of the carnival, but that doesn’t stop the party from continuing long after the drum groups and Samba schools have passed by.

The streets are filled with the best sounds, from reggae to calypso, with roadside sound systems sending the best vibes all over the area. You can also tuck into some delicious jerk chicken and other Caribbean tastes that add even more flavour to the long weekend.