What makes a travel blogger write about the same place twice? Writer’s block? Amnesia? Shortage of funds to explore somewhere new? Perhaps.Or 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. Last 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.Usually 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 snoozing.
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. 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.The boats are lined up on the waters in military fashion with their palette of contrasting, vibrant colours drawing in enthused crowds. This is very much a family affair and is a great place to come to with children. With live entertainers, puppet shows, funfair rides and stalls of fluffy tooth decay, (otherwise known as candy floss.)Pumpkin 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. This 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. 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.
If 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.Many 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.Make 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. 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.
Normally 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.
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.