Celebrating the Olympics on our waterways
The Olympic Games have finally arrived and now that we’ve watched the build-up on TV, seen the torch and read up on the finer points of Greco-Roman Wrestling it’s time to sit back and watch the action.
However, there's far more than athletic prowess on offer during the games and London is buzzing with exciting, unusual and imaginative ways of celebrating the games. The good news is that quite a few of them take place on our canals and rivers.
Even if you don’t have a ticket to the Games, there’s still plenty to see elsewhere. We’ve put together a guide to what you can see on our waterways without paying a penny.
The Floating Market
If you’re after some retail therapy but can’t face the homogenous hordes of Oxford Street or Westfield then why not check out the floating market on the Regent’s Canal? Until 16 August, boats selling jewellery, vintage clothing, handicrafts and delicious food will ply their trade in Mile End in East London, just a mile away from the Olympic Stadium.
The Regent’s Canal is going to be a great place to soak up the Olympic atmosphere this summer as it’s a designated official Olympic walking and cycling route and Victoria Park, a short stroll from the market, will be one of the official Live Sites.
The floating market will move to the picturesque Little Venice in West London 20 August to 2 September, over the course of the Paralympic Games and for the August Bank Holiday.
Big boats at Docklands
If you think bigger is better then West India Docks is the place to be over the next few weeks. Not only will you get to see a selection of the world’s swankiest super yachts along with the clipper Stad Amsterdam, Caledonian Sky and Eendracht, you’ll also get to behold the enormous luxury cruiseliner, the MS Deutschland.
At 175 metres long, the MS Deutschland made a test run into Docklands in July last year just to make sure it fitted - and it did with inches to spare. It’s now back again and will be moored at West India Docks for the duration of the games.
Opera on the canal
Once you’ve bought Slovakian delicacies on the Regent’s Canal and marvelled at the big boats in Docklands why not finish off with an evening of culture? The Canal & River Trust has worked closely with The Royal Opera House to put on an amazing water-bound production of 'The Owl and the Pussycat' on London's waterways.
Inspired by the Edward Lear poem and featuring writing by Monty Python's Terry Jones and a newly-commissioned score by composer Anne Dudley, this opera will travel along London's canals and waterways with performances at various locations along the route as it journeys from west to east. You can find out more about availability at www.molpresents.com/secrets
Olympic Waterways exhibition at the London Canal Museum
The waterways in and around the Olympic park have seen dramatic changes over the past seven years and it can be hard to imagine what they were like before.
To celebrate the Games, The London Canal Museum will be hosting an Olympic Waterways exhibition showing the history of the waterways around the new Olympic Park over 25 panels.
The Olympic Waterway area was once highly industrial and this new exhibition, which will run over the duration of the games, is a story of decline and resurrection.
For more information visit www.canalmuseum.org.uk/