Canalway Cavalcade, Little Venice, London

What makes a travel blogger write about the same place twice? Writer’s block? Amnesia? Shortage of funds to explore somewhere new? Perhaps.Canalway CavalcadeOr maybe it’s because the first article resulted in such useful comments so as to inspire a brand new experience at the exact same location. boats Little Venice CanalLast year, I wrote about a beautiful springtime walk I had taken in Little Venice. That had been only my second visit to the area but had been every bit as picture perfect. And then something happened – Melissa from Here There Everywhere read my post and highly recommended a visit to the Little Venice Canalway Cavalcade, opening my eyes to an event I knew nothing about. This is what I love about blogging.Little Venice CavalcadeUsually an annual festival, the timing couldn’t have been stranger, as it happened to be occurring just a week or so after I had published the post. Having spent the early part of that bank holiday weekend discovering the beautiful town of Southwold, I only had the Monday morning to snoop around so I dragged Pumpkin out of bed bright and early to accompany me. Public holiday or not, sunny mornings are for seizing not barge little venice

The Canalway Cavalcade, Little Venice

Once a year, all the little barges at Little Venice gather together to host this festival, where the banks of the canal are lined with stalls selling deli foods, crafts and jewellery.craft stalls Canalway Cavalcade Little Venice The cavalcade runs from the Warwick Avenue entrance and right up towards Paddington Basin and can be reached easily from either of these underground stations.Pirate Castle Camden Town bargeThe boats are lined up on the waters in military fashion with their palette of contrasting, vibrant colours drawing in enthused children's activities Canalway Cavalcade This is very much a family affair and is a great place to come to with children.teacup ride canalway cavalcade little venice chucklefoot With live entertainers, puppet shows, funfair rides and stalls of fluffy tooth decay, (otherwise known as candy floss.)candy floss Little VenicePumpkin knows his wife well enough to know the magnetic pull that draws her towards the faintest whiff of cream tea so when he spotted a pop-up, vintage tea room in his peripheral vision, he knew there was little to be gained from concealing the discovery. Vintage Allsorts Pop up tea roomsultana scone tea room Little VeniceThis beautiful, tea room run by Vintage Allsorts was essentially a charming stall, whitewashed with bunting and floral tablecloths, pinafores and teapots. It was quintessentially British with oodles of character.cream tea Little Venice We just about grabbed the last remaining free outdoor table and soaked up the rays whilst feasting on a sizeable sultana scone lathered in delicious jam and clotted cream.
vintage tea room canalway cavalcadeIf a savoury lunch takes your fancy though, you can certainly stroll through the Cavalcade with anything from flatbreads to Mexican to Indian food and despite a lunch engagement just an hour or so later, it didn’t stop Pumpkin from having a pre-lunch “snack” in the form of an enormous, juicy hot dog.bookshop on barge Little Venice Word on the waterMany of the boats themselves are open for you to wander into, including a cafe and a book shop on a boat, gently rocking on the placid, rippling water, selling many old classics at bargain prices.barges Little VeniceMake sure you bring cash – I am hopeless at being organised with this, very much still the girl who struggles to remember that you can’t necessarily find ATMs every 100 yards.Canalway Cavalcade festival It is also worth allowing enough time to lounge around for a lazy day. A couple of hours was a nice amount of time to spend there but I could easily have made an entire afternoon of it, lying on the grass, eating street food and shopping from the stalls.

Baklava food market Little Venice cavalcade chocolate coated strawberriesNormally one of the most tranquil parts of London, a place for reflection, romance and “urban countryside”, at the Canalway Cavalcade, the waterside comes to life, filled with laughter, smiles, and food, inviting visitors to join forces in celebrating the joie de vivre.Warwick Avenue Little Venice waterside

This year’s Canalway Cavalcade is taking place on the UK May Bank Holiday Weekend from 2nd – 4th May 2015 and you can find all the details here.


40 thoughts on “Canalway Cavalcade, Little Venice, London

  1. This looks amazing! What a beautiful idea 🙂

    1. Shikha (whywasteannualleave) May 1, 2015 — 10:04 pm

      It’s such a lovely festival Bec – a really great free day out for all ages and just so pretty with all the little boats ☺ Thank you for reading!

  2. Funnily enough I was walking around Little Venice earlier this week – such a lovely spot for a London escape. The Cavalcade looks so much fun, I love all the bright colours.

    1. Shikha (whywasteannualleave) May 1, 2015 — 10:10 pm

      I completely agree Lucy! The first time I went to Little Venice, I could hardly believe this was London – such a tranquil little place and it makes for a great long waterside walk too when the weather is good! The cavalcade was such a feast for the eyes – full of bright colours and delicious food! It’s worth a visit one day if you ever happen to be in London when it’s on ☺

  3. Yet again, I so wish I lived in London! This sounds absolutely delightful, and a really colourful and refreshing way to spend a day! 🙂

    1. Shikha (whywasteannualleave) May 1, 2015 — 10:13 pm

      You’ve summed it up perfectly Upasna! Very refreshing, relaxed, uplifting and yet so informal and free so that makes a real change from lots of other things that go on in and around London quite often! I was so glad that I came to know of it through the blogging world! I really get the feeling that you would fit in just perfectly here in London ☺

  4. Isn’t it awesome to explore an area twice and experience something new about the place!!! I bet it was worth the effort to experience it again! Plus, the food [especially the strawberries] looks great!

    1. Shikha (whywasteannualleave) May 1, 2015 — 10:19 pm

      You’re so right Constance! The first visit was just a peaceful quiet walk and it was a great contrast seeing the same area during such a bustling colourful festival! I’m definitely glad I went again! I didn’t end up trying the strawberries as was so full from my scone but I agree they look good! Thanks so much for reading ☺

  5. I just love Little Venice in London, and am lucky enough to get to walk along the canal every morning on my way to work. There are some lovely little cafes that sell cream teas. Perfect for escaping the office at lunch time! 😉
    Claire xx

    1. Shikha (whywasteannualleave) May 1, 2015 — 10:23 pm

      Oh Claire, how lovely! How idyllic that sounds! What a beautiful area to be able to nip out to during your lunch break. It’s an area I would just love to live in! If you have any tips on any specific cafes I should keep in mind next time I go there, I’m all ears ☺ Thanks so much for stopping by!

  6. I never knew any of this existed, but it’s seriously cute. I love poking around markets especially in the sunshine 🙂 Especially especially if there’s cake.

    1. Shikha (whywasteannualleave) May 1, 2015 — 10:26 pm

      Then this is the place to go Frankie! Go this weekend if you’re free or earmark it for the future – I can promise the seriously cute little boats will not disappoint & I just had to stop myself from permanently trying to move into one of them! There’s lots of cake but the choice gets harder and harder as there’s also ice cream, chocolate, baklava, candy floss and more -you know, just in case cake wasn’t quite enough :mrgreen:

  7. This looks like a fun event with lots of tempting food :-). Can we have some of those scones with clotted cream please!

    1. Shikha (whywasteannualleave) May 1, 2015 — 10:29 pm

      I’ll have one sent right over Janice & George! Do you want one each or are you sharing? :mrgreen: This was such a fun event! A really great example of an informal, relaxed event with something for everyone! This while area of London is still one of London’s best kept secrets I think!

  8. I love Little Venice but I hadn’t heard of this festival, looks great fun! Will look forward to reading your Southwold post too as I have been meaning to visit for a while

    Suze | LuxuryColumnist

    1. Shikha (whywasteannualleave) May 1, 2015 — 10:31 pm

      Oh thank you Suze! Southwold is just charming isn’t it?! I’d never heard of this festival either till publishing the last post and seeing Melissa’s comment – blogging is such a great way of getting ideas and inspiration for lots of new and exciting things to do I think ☺

  9. I always see the start of the canal and some boats when I make my way to the zoo in Camden but I don’t think I’ve ever actually been to Little Venice – shameful I know! Great idea for something to do this bank holiday weekend!

    1. Shikha (whywasteannualleave) May 1, 2015 — 10:33 pm

      It really is a lovely way to spend a day Ayla , particularly as it’s so near the zoo for you! It’s also a lovely location for a long romantic urban walk if you think Mr Ayla could be persuaded! :mrgreen:

      1. Nope he couldn’t be persuaded unfortunately – maybe next year!

  10. I love Little Venice! One of my favourite places in London, love your photos!

    1. Shikha (whywasteannualleave) May 1, 2015 — 10:35 pm

      Thank you so much for the encouraging words m Becky! Delighted to hear you say that ☺ I can’t believe I lived in London for so many years before I spotted this little gem of an area!

  11. Oh wow. The only Little Venice I know is the one I was sent on for an assignment at university in winter. And it was miserable. This looks so beautiful!!

    1. Shikha (whywasteannualleave) May 1, 2015 — 11:01 pm

      Oh what a shame the weather was bad when you went Sophie! I’ve been lucky with it both times I’ve been but the nice thing about the annual cavalcade is that there’s so much to see and do even if the weather isn’t behaving itself ☺

  12. Wow, this sounds like a really amazing experience to be a part of! I love the amount of care that goes into all the boat decoration and that food looks delicious! I wonder if you’ll find a third post in there somewhere?

    1. Shikha (whywasteannualleave) May 1, 2015 — 10:45 pm

      I wouldn’t be surprised if I do end up returning and taking even more pics Katie! It really was so full of energy and character. I never knew just how perfectly the little barges are decorated until I came last year and they were so cute that I felt I wanted to live in one ☺

  13. I had no idea about this, looks like such fun! I would also be the one to have a pre-lunch snack.. all the food looks so delicious, definitely a good second post!

    Ash | Liakada Travel

    1. Shikha (whywasteannualleave) May 1, 2015 — 11:04 pm

      Thank you Ash! Yes we didn’t come with any plans to eat as we were meeting friends for lunch shortly afterwards but it was just too tempting with all these cute pop ups and freshly made treats! It’s a really fun day out that kind of takes you back to that school fete kind of feeling ☺

  14. I loved everything about this post – the gorgeous pictures and scones…but mainly how English everything is!!! We have our own ‘Little Venice’ in Qatar but it couldn’t be more different (

    Will you be heading back there this bank holiday?

    Polly xx

    1. Shikha (whywasteannualleave) May 1, 2015 — 11:08 pm

      Aww thank you for such a lovely comment Polly! You’re so right – it really is so very English and I don’t think that even occurred to me till you just mentioned it! I’m hoping I might be able to squeeze in another trip this year especially if the weather is good and I’m very intrigued to read your post on Qatar’s answer to Little Venice so thank you for sharing the link ☺

  15. I want a boat! I want to be part of this! A little cafe/bookshop boat is my dream, for when I settle down one day! I definitely would like to visit this cavalcade, maybe next year!

    1. Shikha (whywasteannualleave) May 3, 2015 — 5:52 pm

      Oh Rachel, from what you say, I think you’d love it! I fell in love with these little boats and just dreamt myself living in one and also setting it up as a little cafe/cake shop! We could be neighbours on our little boats :mrgreen: They do it every year so perhaps you could make it down next time. It’s a lovely way to spend a day!

  16. utterly gorgeous! What a great way to spend a morning!

    1. Shikha (whywasteannualleave) May 3, 2015 — 5:53 pm

      Thank you Andrew! It really was delightful especially as I really knew very little about it before turning up – we were very lucky that the sun was shining brightly, which was the perfect icing on the cake for such a lovely canalside day out ☺

  17. This looks brilliant, exactly my kind of place! I love getting tips from other travel bloggers – it’s one of the best things about being part of this community 🙂

    1. Shikha (whywasteannualleave) May 11, 2015 — 8:56 am

      I couldn’t agree more! I almost never need to look up stuff to do in and around London since I started blogging because between social media updates and blog posts, there’s always someone out there with a great idea! The cavalcade was so much fun! Definitely worth a visit next year perhaps if you end up free that bank holiday weekend ☺

    1. Shikha (whywasteannualleave) October 27, 2015 — 10:34 pm

      Thank you so much Tanja. It really is such a pretty part of the city and during this festival, the whole place completely comes to life. Such a fabulous way to spend a day 🙂

  18. How awesome! I never heard of this!

    1. Shikha (whywasteannualleave) February 8, 2016 — 12:22 pm

      You know what Tanja, I had already been living in London for so many years before I came to know of it myself and in the early days of meeting my husband, we took a walk around there and were amazed to see how pretty it is – a real hidden gem in the middle of London!

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