A multi-cultural melting pot of traditions, cuisines and customs, Britain’s rich cultural diversity is what makes it the place we know and love. Home to people from all over the world, few cultures have had the impact of the country’s Caribbean community, many of whom sailed to Britain more than 70 years ago on HMT Empire Windrush.
If you’re in Britain in June, you can celebrate the ship’s landing and the amazing contribution that the Caribbean community has made to Britain on Windrush Day (June 22), an annual celebration of Caribbean culture and traditions. But with restaurants, carnivals and events on offer all-year round, it’s easy to get a taste of the Caribbean all-year-round in Britain.
Roti, curries, patties, ackee and saltfish, Caribbean food is always a good idea! Full of flavour and spice, there are lots of restaurants dedicated to Caribbean cuisine up-and-down the country, ensuring you can always get a taste of the spicier side of island life.
Fish, Wings & Tings, Brixton
If you’re in the mood for some Caribbean cuisine, head on over to Fish, Wings & Tings in Brixton Village. Known for its bright colours, warm welcome and Caribbean food served by a professional chef from Trinidad, its split menu serves fresh and flavoursome ‘small tings’ and ‘big tings’, while their fritters and roti have both been given rave reviews.
Café Caribbean, Covent Garden
Starting out as a small outlet in Covent Garden, Café Caribbean now brings authentic Jamaican food to Spitalfields market. With curried mutton, oxtail with butter beans and jerk chicken on the menu, this place will fill your belly and put a smile on your face.
Three Little Birds, Clapham and Brixton
Three Little Birds is an ever-popular Jamaica-inspired restaurant and rum bar with spots in both Brixton and Clapham. Fill up on Jamaican-inspired dishes such as honey-jerk chicken wings and callaloo croquettes or get into the Caribbean spirit during happy hour (5-8pm), when classic cocktails are just £5!
The north of England
M&M’s Caribbean Spice, Manchester
With 30 years in the business, Chef Mike has cooked for celebrity clientele including the Manchester United team, the Queen and Pavarotti. So if you fancy dining out on top-quality Caribbean food while in Manchester, his restaurant - M&M’s Caribbean Spice - is the place to be. Get stuck into vegetarian dishes including callaloo rice and peas or classic dishes such as ackee and saltfish, for a true taste of the Caribbean in the heart of the city.
Family-run restaurant Raggas in Liverpool started on a ‘shoestring budget’ back in 2006, and now offers some of the finest Caribbean food in the north-west! Satisfy your foodie cravings with dishes including jerk king prawns, West Indian-style chicken curry and boneless tilapia fish, plus thirst-quenching pineapple punch.
For traditional Caribbean home-cooked meals and cakes in Leeds, look no further than Maureen’s - a cosy little restaurant with space for just 20 people. Offering both dine in or takeaway, whichever you choose you’ll enjoy some of the most authentic Caribbean food in Britain. Start the day the right way with a traditional Jamaican breakfast of ackee, saltfish, dumplings and hardo bread, savour classic dishes such as jerk wings, fried fish and curried goat, and spice things up with fiery homemade ginger punch.
Numerous events take place across Britain throughout the year to celebrate Caribbean culture, including one of the world’s largest street festivals – the Notting Hill Carnival. You’ll enjoy revelry, dance and music, plus some of London’s best Caribbean food and drink to boot!
Notting Hill Carnival, London
One of the world’s largest street festivals, the Notting Hill Carnival celebrates Caribbean culture in Britain every August Bank Holiday. Since the first event in 1959, the carnival has continued to grow, with steel bands, street food and dancing at the buzzing J’ouvert street parade all highlights of the three-day festival. A feast of cultural diversity, creativity and the arts, soak up the vibe on Saturday with friends, or enjoy the traditional carnival parade taking place early on Sunday morning (25 August). If you’re travelling with family, the Sunday also includes a Children’s Parade and a host of other family-friendly entertainment. The Notting Hill Grand Finale Parade, and the main event, is on the Bank Holiday Monday, with an array of dancing, street performances, steel bands and music groups all taking part, for the biggest and best carnival experience this side of the Caribbean!
When? 24-26 August
Jerk Jam, Hampshire
Having evolved from a small gathering to a fully-fledged celebration of the Caribbean community, Jerk Jam sees food vendors, artists, DJs and dancers all flocking to Houndhill Farm in Hampshire. Alongside four stages of live music, you can take part in workshops for children, fairground rides and plenty of circus and enjoy arts and magic performers. The centrepiece of the festival is the Jerk-Off BBQ Battle, when chefs from all over the country go head-to-head in a boxing ring, battling it out with authentic jerk pans.
When? 20 July
Caribbean Carnival of Manchester
Since starting in 1972, the Caribbean Carnival of Manchester has celebrated everything about Caribbean culture in the heart of Alexandra Park. Expect to see Caribbean music and dance, as well as theatre, steel bands and an abundance of bright and extravagant costumes. Proceedings start with an early morning J’ouvert street parade before the main carnival procession weaves its way through the crowds, complete with floats, DJs, dance troupes and a host of carnival queens and princesses in the early afternoon. You can also enjoy three stages of music accompanied by a host of food vendors and Soca bands!
When? 10-11 August
Caribbean Music Festival, Liverpool
Dubbed the ‘ultimate Caribbean festival’, why not join in with Liverpool’s celebration of Caribbean culture this summer? With an array of DJs and other artists coming together on Brick Street to showcase their talents, this year you can catch headline acts including Scrappy Sinon, DJ Rockshun, Big Band Tropical Storm, Firebiggz, DJ Rory and Iyah Sample.
When? 17 August