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Notting Hill Carnival vs. Rio Carnival

The ultimate battle

We size up two of the world’s biggest carnivals


With Europe’s biggest street festival Notting Hill Carnival fast approaching, STYLIGHT decided to compare our much loved home grown event to the ultimate street fiesta Rio Carnival!
Inspired by Vahram Muratyan’s cult book designs our illustrations compare and contrast the overwhelming sights, sounds and culture of two of the most iconic Carnivals in the world.

It’s evident that there a number of similarities…


…between the two celebrations but also some stark differences! Since it’s inception in 1964 Notting Hill Carnival has been known as an exhilarating two day event celebrating London’s ever growing Caribbean community, with roughly 1 million people attending the festivities every year. In contrast, the world famous Rio Carnival dates back to 1723 and sees up to 2 million revellers take to the streets of the Brazilian city every day!

Both fiestas feature a central parade comprising of brightly coloured eye-catching floats, vibrant dancers and impressive live music all building up to an exhilarating sensory overload. In Rio attendees are treated to traditional samba music and energetic dancers in spectacular floats; whereas London’s Notting Hill Carnival focuses on the more Caribbean influenced impressive steel bands. Rio Carnival is set against the backdrop of Brazil's never ending beaches and is a largely ticketed event, in contrast, London’s Carnival takes place in Notting Hill, a largely residential area in West London, and is open to everyone meaning party goers often end up watching the day’s proceedings from locals balconies. Perhaps one of the most famous parts of both Carnivals is the food and drink: jerk chicken and no-frills Jamaican beer Red Stripe are classic to Notting Hill Carnival, whilst Rio revellers enjoy refreshing caipirinhas and traditional Espetinhos kebabs.

So ditch your standard Chelsea boots and Levis jeans in favour for a healthy dose of glitter, feathers and sequins and head on down to Notthing Hill!


Regardless of their differences, both spectacles honour the diverse heritage of their local communities through these high octane street parties and one thing’s for sure… there really is no party quite like Carnival! 

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