A Guide to Luton International Carnival – The UK’s Second Biggest Carnival!

Luton International Carnival is an annual carnival celebration in Luton. It is the biggest one day carnival celebration in all of the UK and is the second biggest over all, carnival after Notting Hill!

Friday 8th May 2020

Days to start

What is carnival in Luton?

luton carnival

Luton International Carnival is a fantastic annual one day carnival celebration in Luton, Bedfordshire. Currently the carnival will be celebrating its 43rd year and has over 140,000 revellers hitting the streets to celebrate. Luton Carnival is the largest one-day carnival in the UK and the second largest carnival overall, second only to Notting Hill Carnival.

Luton International Carnival is commissioned by Luton Borough Council and artistically produced by UK Centre for Carnival Arts. Luton International Carnival is  a day of friendly, family, fun for all! Everyone is welcome to join in the celebration! This FREE celebration has entertainment for the entire family to enjoy.

It is a zealous day celebration that is about embracing multiculturalism and celebrating some of the cities cherished cultures. Luton International Carnival features international music, dance, artistry and delicious cuisines.

When is Luton Carnival? 

luton carnival

Luton International Carnival 2020 takes place on the will take place on Friday 8th May 2020 and will run from 12-6pm. It happens to be a bank holiday

Where is Luton Carnival?

luton carnival

The Luton International Carnival will take place at Wardown Park, Luton, Bedfordshire, UK. Luton is located around 50 kilometers north of London’s city center

Wardown Park Address:

  • New Bedford Road
  • Luton LU2 7HA, UK

What is the history of the Luton International Carnival

luton carnival

The first carnival in Luton was held back in 1976, on a much smaller scale than the one that is held today. It was originally part of a Victorian Street Fair and Charity Market that was created as part of Luton Borough Council’s centenary celebration.

Over the years the carnival grew in popularity and continued to evolve. In 1998 the Luton Carnival received ‘international status’, when it received the largest single lottery award that is available for carnival development.

How do they celebrate Luton International Carnival?

luton carnival

The Luton International Carnival will kick off at 12 noon in Wardown Park, where you will find a fun incredible atmosphere filled with food and drink vendors as well as art and craft stores. There will be a Community Stage set up where performances will begin at 1pm, so you can watch all the incredible local talent.

Of course the highlight of Luton Carnival is the incredible carnival parade that will begin at 1:30pm starting on New Bedford Road and move along to Stockingstone Road, then along Old Bedford Road where the judging will take place.

In addition to the parade there are also loads of fun and free activities like tug-of-war, large chess games, football match and giant Connect 4. There are also fairground rides and so much more. The carnival finishes at 6pm but for most the fun won’t stop there. For the over 18s there is a Carnival After Party that will take place at UKCCA from 9pm.

Luton International Carnival Parade

luton carnival

The parade is an incredible spectacle with over 40 carnival mas bands partaking in Luton International Carnival begins at 12 noon and closes at 6pm.It is a chaotic and colourful filled with Caribbean music. The parade features troupes that represent carnival arts from all over the world including Asia, Latin America, the Caribbean and Poland to name a few.

Steelpan bands mix with local sound systems and DJ’s and create an electric atmosphere. Thousands of spectators line the streets to witness the incredible costumes and dances. The groups work tirelessly for months to try and create what is one of the most dazzling spectacles in the UK.

How to get to Luton?

luton carnival

You could fly to London Luton which is one of London’s airports. Or to Gatwick or Heathrow Airport. To get a quote for a flight click here. Take the London Underground Train and hop on the Piccadilly Line to London. When you reach King’s Cross Station change onto the Thameslink and Great Northern train and catch it until you reach Luton Station (not at Luton Airport Parkway.  You can also take a bus or a coach to reach Luton. Get a quote for a rental car here. For European rail tickets please go here. 

Where to stay in Luton?

luton carnival

You have plenty of accommodation options in Luton for all budgets and levels of comfort. We recommend staying in the city centre of Luton, that way you can be walking distance to some of Luton’s best attractions like the University of Bedfordshire or the Central Library.

Check out some accommodation options here.

Luton has many interesting places to see and things to do. It is a gorgeous English town and worth visiting for a few days.

For more information about tours, things to do, sightseeing tours, day trips and more click here. For a longer vacation check out Tour Radar for some cool trips.

What to wear to carnival?

Carnival is a celebration of cultures from all around the world.  The parades are colourful AF, with women dressed in colourful and elaborate feather headdresses and bejewelled bras. You don’t need to dress like the people in the parade but why not wear some playful pieces that will help you stand out from the crowds.

Carnival is the time to let your imagination one wild and get creative and wear something fun, you can check out some cool outfit ideas on Amazon. Remember though to wear comfortable shoes as you will be on your feet all day long! 

Before you go!

We can’t stress enough the importance of travel insurance! Never travel without coverage! Being protected on your travels gives you an irreplaceable peace of mind. Don’t learn the hard way about the importance of travel insurance. Get a quote through our recommended insurance provider, World Nomads!


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