That time of year has come again when we forget our morals, dress up as tropical birds and dance to Soca songs we don’t know the meaning of. That’s right Notting Hill Carnival is in two days and I still don’t have anything to wear!

Over a million people attend the Carnival each year and even though it’s one of those things everyone should do before they die, a lot of you still haven’t been yet. So Pappzd is here to help you by giving you some Dos and Don’ts of Notting Hill Carnival. Take notes!


Wear Nappies

The Annual Notting Hill Carnival Celebrations Take Place

There are 270 toilets dotted around the place during Notting Hill Carnival and hundreds of thousands of attendees. Mixed with alcohol, that makes for a hell of a queue outside the portable toilets. As you can imagine they are absolutely grim and the thought of using one makes me want to have my bladder removed.

Solution: wear nappies.

Not only will they make your bum look bigger, but you won’t have to stand in the queue to use a filthy toilet or pay the extortionate prices some residents charge to use their ‘luxury loos’. Plus there will be plenty of drunk people urinating all over themselves, so you won’t be the only one walking around with a wet arse.

Take Condoms

dos and donts notting hill carnival dancing

You see that picture above? That man is the CEO of a children’s charity and that women is a nursery school teacher. But during Carnival they lose all sense of self, throw themselves to the ground and proceed in an activity called daggering (basically violent dry humping to Bashment).

Carnivals are known for being sexual places no matter what country they are in and there’s a 60% chance you will meet some dudes you find sexually attractive, follow them down a side road and give birth the following spring. It’s your job to try and work out which dude in which side road to blame. Cos, of course, it wasn’t your fault.

Last year HIV and sexual health charity Terrence Higgins Trust, distributed free condoms, to carnival revellers. And just in case they aren’t doing the same this year, we suggest you fill your pockets up with some rubbers. Pop down to your local clinic, answer a few questions and they’ll give you a whole bag. Free.

Go on Sunday

dos and donts notting hill carnival childrens day

If you’re a beginner, you may want to ease yourself into Carnival slowly by going on what many refer to as ‘Children’s Day’. This takes place on the Sunday, while Adult’s day (on Monday) is for those who prefer a more scandalous affair.

But before you get ideas in your head of children running up and down the street with lions or tigers painted on their faces, bouncy castles and clowns everywhere with music from Mary Poppins, it’s not just that.

There are still half naked people, youths in hoodies and people getting drunk. However Notting Hill Carnival on Sunday is recommended for families as the smaller crowds and kid-friendly floats create a more relaxed vibe. OK, there’s no music from Mary Poppins.

However, if you don’t like it on Sunday you’ll know that Monday is definitely not for you. Go home and watch the Eastenders, Corrie and Emmerdale catchups you recorded and try to work out what happened to your life.

Take a Picture With a Dancing Policeman

dos and donts notting hill carnival dancing

Did you know that Notting Hill Carnival is the only time of the year when uniformed policemen are able to grab a woman by the waist and dance with her? It’s a classic Carnival cliche but the police wouldn’t be doing their job properly if they didn’t allow someone to take photos of them grinding with a woman in costume.

So make sure you grab the opportunity (and the policeman) with both hands. It looks good in the papers, shows community integration and your kids will be well proud of you.

Get your Twerk on


Everybody’s twerking at the moment, mostly for attention. Even Leona and that chick that’s not Rochelle from the Saturdays have put up vids of themselves trying it, so everybody’s doing it trying to remain relevant – let’s not even mention Miley and all the Yanks.

But as a normal self-respecting girl you can’t really be doing that in public. Not in Clubs (unless you go to Jump Off but remember I said self-respecting), not on the bus, not whilst waiting in line to use the cashpoint, and definitely not when you’re having a meeting at work. Nope.

The best you can do is practise in the mirror at home in the privacy of your own bedroom.

Well Carnival is the one weekend when all that practising pays off and you get to really show off your twerking skills. Anything goes. You can be as depraved as your rabid, deranged fantasies take you and nobody will mind. Best of all, nobody will judge you. You can lie and tell them you’ve never tried it before when they say you’re really good. Nobody has to know your bedroom wall has a worn-out shiny spot where it doubled up as a man for you.

So if all you want to do in life is shake your arse as hard and fast to the beat as possible in ways only imaginable in your filthy mind, get down to Carnival on Monday where you will be joined by half a million others, just like you!

So those are some of the things you should try and add to your Carnival To-Do list. There’s lots more but I need to get the list of don’ts complete and get ready to go out so if you have any more you can add them yourself as comments at the bottom of this page. Share and share alike.


Wear Heels

dos and donts notting hill carnival shoes

It’s not a club ladies. The Carnival route is 3 miles long. That’s like Peckham to Brixton and you’ll probably be stopping every five minutes to flirt with all the handsome topless guys with dreadlocks.

So leave the Louboutins at home because trust me, no one will be looking at your shoes. Also you’ll probably need to do some running at the Carnival. Whether it’s from the police, to catch up with your friends after stopping to give a guy your number, or running from some ratchet guys who will stop at nothing to get your number.

This is not a joke. At some point at Notting Hill Carnival you will find yourself running. Hard. Like Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce. Be warned.

Step on Anyone’s Trainers

dos and donts notting hill carnival new trainers

Keep your feet to yourself, tiptoe if you have to. Just don’t step on anyone’s new trainers. Especially if you didn’t follow my earlier advice and you’re wearing heels. A fight is likely to break out, you’ll lose your phone in all the commotion, the police will be called, you’ll get arrested and your whole Carnival experience will be ruined. Your life may follow into ruin.

Go to Rampage

dos and donts notting hill carnival rampage

This is a controversial one for me to add because I love these guys. Rampage is probably the most famous sound system at Notting Hill Carnival but sadly one you may want to avoid if you’re not a fan of HUGE crowds of young men prone to violence and daggering.

In 2011 Ramapage pulled out of the Carnival citing the reason as a busy summer schedule. But everybody knew by reading between the lines that the threat of a follow up to the London and UK riots that scarred the city that summer had everything to do with it.

Though if you really want to experience Carnival’s frontline, make sure you stay close to one of the hundreds of policemen who will be dotted in and around the crowd. The tradition of someone starting trouble at Rampage has led to heavy police presence. Because it wouldn’t be Rampage if someone didn’t get punched in the face for dancing with the wrong guy’s girlfriend.

You can walk past, take pictures and pretend you were there, but if you don’t want to endanger your safety, I suggest you leave Rampage for the pros.

Spend Too Much Time Watching the Parade

dos and dont notting hill carnival parade

Unless you’re working for a newspaper, pregnant or just boring, we suggest you spend the least amount of time you can watching the parade. You don’t really need to spend more than 30 minutes staring at overweight women in g-strings. And steel drums are so 2001.

Head to the side streets, that’s where the REAL Carnival is. The parade is for families, tourists and those people who like to show off their expensive cameras then sob in a corner when it disappears from the huge rucksack they brought with them.

Try and Stay Out All Night

dos and donts notting hill carnival police 3

Carnival does end. It’s not a 24 hour party. In fact it ends so early I’ve missed it on three occasions. According to the official Notting Hill Carnival website, events end at 9pm on both days and sound systems at 7pm. But we aren’t going to let a silly website tell us when to end the night right?

Wrong. Because the police are pretty intent on going back to their quiet suburbs and have previously ordered early curfews, forcefully clearing the streets of anyone still enjoying Carnival by 7pm.

Luckily some of the more friendly West London residents open up their doors and if you know them or you’re attractive enough, they may let you in to enjoy one of the many house parties that take place after the Carnival on back streets, away from the main parade route.

Local pubs also hold events to take in the Carnival revellers that refuse to go home, but make sure you get a ticket first.

Take the Piss with Weed Smoking


Ok, here’s the daddy, the big one. Everybody likes to think smoking weed is allowed at Notting Hill Carnival. That’s like saying that it’s ok to sexually assault women at a Slut Walks rally. It’s never OK. It’s against the law.

I don’t know what the official police line is on it, I don’t mean the one they tell us ‘officially’, I mean the one the Commander gives at the morning briefing before sending the troops out there, but guess what – smoking weed in public is still against the law.

That’s not to say that everywhere you go you won’t see people rolling up giant Jamaica-sized spliffs while police walk by tactfully looking the other way, and it doesn’t mean you won’t smell it because you will. At times you may think you’ve walked into a cannabis factory.

But the law is the law is the law. So don’t get yourself arrested by offering the police a pull on your joint and don’t go all up in their face with it. Have some self respect and keep that shit on the DL.

And there you have it. That’s it.

I hope my tips are useful, I’ve been using them for the past ten years and have never been arrested. Let us know how it goes for you and enjoy Europe’s biggest street party.

And remember: what happens at Notting Hill Carnival ends up on Pappzd – so behave yourselves.

Take a look at our Facebook gallery of the 2012 Notting Hill Carnival and tag yourself and people you recognise.