Little Venice review (Aug 2012)
This is out-of-date! I have been here again since I wrote this review
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It was too hot to do anything energetic today (that is always my excuse) so I just had a little look around Little Venice instead -- that place with pretty canals and houseboats. It's up past Paddington, about two minutes from the Edgware Flyover.
When you're coming out of Paddington Station and making your way under the concrete flyover the first thought that enters your head is not the Italian city of Venice, trust me on that. Edgware is 99% concrete, and has got a massive motorway that thunders above your head. But once you get to Warwick Avenue it starts to slow down and pretty up a bit. That's where Little Venice really starts -- at the bridge by Warwick Avenue. There's three different canals that lead off from it, but only two are worth doing.
The best one goes right, down Maida Avenue. This one is the picture-postcard place with wooden boats and hanging baskets. The boats must be semi-permanent, I'm guessing, because they've all got the mains rigged up and tables and chairs decked out like gardens. There were even a few old folks grazing on them catching some zzz's. It's all retired folks and save-the-planet hippy dudes, living in their pretty little enclave. I saw one guy sitting on his deck in his pyjamas, laptop on the picnic table, cup and saucer in hand sipping his tea. It's that kind of place -- nice and relaxed. Everyone has breakfast at eleven in the morning and talks to their neighbours. This is what I am guessing. That is Maida Avenue.
Unfortunately the second canal is a bit different -- that's the one that goes west from Westbourne Terrace. If you can't afford a boat on Maida Avenue then don't worry... they've probably got a cheaper one down here. These ones aren't boats so much, more like sheds that have been dumped in the water. There's no way that those things can float on the open sea. They are just sitting on the bottom. Maybe I'm being a bit harsh, but you'll definitely see a difference. No one takes a picture of this place, they save all their snaps for Maida Avenue.
The third little place that is well worth a visit is the crossroads where all 3 canals meet. They've got a couple of pretty bridges and houseboats too, but best of all is a floating boat that doubles up as a cafe. If you're going to stop for a cup of tea then that's the place to do it. Or you can walk right up the end of Maida Avenue to the main road, where you'll see a little cafe overhanging the bridge.
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