Until Saturday, I had never heard of Little Venice, even though it’s barely a 10-minute walk from where I live. Tucked behind Paddington Station, Little Venice is a charming and surprisingly quiet spot where two of London’s canals meet. Did you even know that London has a system of canals? The things you learn.
This weekend was the annual Canalway Cavalcade, when lots of canal boats gather for a boaters’ block party.
There are food stalls and trade shops that set up along the canal, a live band that plays by the willow tree, meats on the barbecue, dancers atop the boats and a parade of illuminated boats.
I can’t say that I was all that impressed with the event itself. The food stalls and traders had all closed up shop by the time we got there for the evening events, so the atmosphere was a bit subdued if you weren’t having your own boat party. And the illuminated boat parade was cute, but anticlimactic. Maybe if the band had stayed on, it would have kept up a festive ambience. But the parade was so very slow, and only occasionally punctuated by an announcer who had the dryest of dry British humor.
But the wonderful thing about the experience overall was the very thing that’s so great about London—turn any corner, and you suddenly find yourself transported to a neighborhood with a completely different feel. The whole area is so picturesque and lovely, and the sunset was gorgeous. It’s been cloudy and cold in London for weeks now, so every little bit of sunshine is a treat. We’re still waiting for springtime here in London!
The theme of the illuminated boat parade was the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee. We didn’t really see much of a theme, except for one boat that had a makeshift crown atop it, and the boat pictured above right, which said “Queen’s Diamond Jubilee” on the sides of the boat. Guess that boat wins for thematic accuracy!