The Greenwich and Docklands International Festival, London

From the earliest days of my travel blog, I’ve maintained an ethos of travelling on my doorstep and beyond. I’ve read your blogs and felt pangs of urge to visit the countries you’ve written about. Through your words, your photographs, your memories, you take me on journeys to lands I’ve dreamt of and lands I never knew of. Occasionally, I have shared some of my treasured local finds – the pocket-sized phone box library, my favourite local food market and even a glimpse into my little London village. But truth be told, I’ve neglected my doorstep – my gaze always adrift to counties, countries and continents further afield.

Old Royal Naval College
Old Royal Naval College

A sunny afternoon in Greenwich

Good thing I have Pumpkin to remind me just how much I love the borough of Greenwich, which I can proudly call home. One rare Saturday morning, when my less than ambitious plans involved pyjamas and baking (my default “free Saturday” activity), he suggested an impromptu visit to the Greenwich and Docklands International Festival, thereby giving me an opportunity to travel both on my doorstep and beyond all in one. Now, how’s that for efficiency? Out with the PJs and in with the summer dress.

Cutty Sark Greenwich
Cutty Sark Greenwich

The Greenwich and Docklands International Festival

This free event showcases some of the best international talent in the world in the fields of street circus, theatre, dance and the performing arts. We headed to Greenwich on a blissfully sunny afternoon to find the lawns and gardens around the Maritime Museum and Old Royal Naval College heaving with free games, performers and art exhibits.

There was something for everyone at this festival – the tiny tots, the arty sorts and the rest of us mere mortals.

We walked around with a programme, in the way that you do because it makes you feel a bit more like you know what you’re doing and we tried to formulate a timely structure for the day about which events to go to.

But within a few seconds, we threw in the towel and decided to let our instincts guide us to whatever looked most intriguing. And speaking of towel-throwing, our first experience was watching an eccentric, vintage, laundry-style dance routine. If my description of it is as clear as mud, it’s because that was the extent of my understanding on it. Hopefully the pictures do more justice.Laundry XL performance Greenwich Docklands festivalI’m not sure I’m enough of a thespian to interpret the hidden nuances of contemporary performing arts but I was blown away by this captivating 2-person performance, which began in a concealed cage, progressed through a circular tale of emotion and ended in the liberation of souls. It was a poignant love story. And this was the only reason I understood it. Feed me a love story in any language or shape and I will feel that twinge. Because that’s just how we romantics are.

The cafes around Greenwich, which are bursting to the seams on any given Saturday were on this day, overwhelmingly short of free seats so we grabbed ourselves some takeaway traditional Argentine empanadas (the best we have had since San Telmo Market in Buenos Aires itself) and picnicked in the park.empanadas Greenwich market street foodAuthentic international cuisine and artists from around the globe – not bad for a glorious day out just 5 minutes away from home.Andes Argentine Empanada stall Greenwich marketHave you been to any festivals near your own home?


11 thoughts on “The Greenwich and Docklands International Festival, London

  1. Sounds like a lovely day out – I haven’t been to Grenwich for years so must put that right!

    1. Shikha (whywasteannualleave) September 24, 2014 — 9:43 pm

      Thanks Suzanne – it was quite nice for a last minute plan 🙂 I’m a little biased but I do love it around Greenwich although funnily enough, despite it being so nearby, I often find that I can go months without actually wandering around there!

  2. This sounds much better than the Tall Ships festival. It was soo busy there we left defeated and went to Canary Wharf where it was much more chilled out. I love Greenwich but I swear every time I go the amount of people multiples.

    1. Shikha (whywasteannualleave) September 27, 2014 — 7:27 am

      Oh I’ve not heard of the Tall Ships Festival – I’ll have to look that up – I know what you mean about the crowds, particularly around the market where I now try to sneak to earlier in the day for that very reason! Thanks for reading Melissa 🙂

  3. Greenwich was one of the places I wanted to revisit before I left but I ran out of time. I’m gutted I didn’t now looking at you photos. Looked like an awesome day out

    1. Shikha (whywasteannualleave) October 1, 2014 — 1:00 pm

      Thanks you Jenna! I am a bit biased but I do love it around Greenwich especially when the sun is out but at least you didn’t miss out on seeing Greenwich altogether before you left! Thanks so much for reading 🙂

  4. As much as I love a PJ day, this looks like a lovely day out. I recently went to a local food festival, which was a good excuse to try lots of delicacies from all all over the globe.

    1. Shikha (whywasteannualleave) October 1, 2014 — 1:05 pm

      Thanks Char 🙂 I’m quite glad I ditched the PJs that day! I think I saw the post you did recently about the food festival if that’s the same one you’re talking about – looked fab! I love food festivals and markets – one of my favourite activities!

  5. Your pictures and words make this look fabulous! The only time I’ve been to Greenwich was when my husband and I went to Guildford Arms. It’s a really amazing pub. We did visit some of the areas you mention. What a great view of London too! How lucky you are to live so close to a beautiful part of London.

    1. Shikha (whywasteannualleave) October 22, 2014 — 6:03 pm

      Thanks so much for reading Melanie! I remember reading your review of Guildford Arms and it’s been on my list for so long! We had a booking for dinner there once about a year ago but when we got there, there was a power cut would you believe so after waiting around for 45 minutes, we had to head back! Talk about bad timing! So yes, I’ll have to head back there and I’ve really grown to love Greenwich since moving to the area a couple of years ago 🙂

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