Updated: Jun 3
England - West London - Maida Vale - Little Venice.
To believe it was -5 last week and to then look upon these pictures with people in shorts and not seeing a spec of snow in sight would be a very hard one to swallow. But! it is true, how Autumn - now - seems to fuse quite quickly with spring at an earlier stage. I wouldn't hold your breathe though, we had snow in late March last year so my suggestion...…don't put away your favourite scarf to hastily yet. Nevertheless, come any season, this specific part of London will always radiate its beauty in whatever the weather. This my friends is the beautiful area of West London called Little Venice. You could also say that it is in the area of Maida Vale which is true however on my travels you find that Warwick Avenue is much closer especially if you measure that in terms of the tube stations. I think perhaps we are nit picking a little so I'll leave that debate to another day. Where this lovely little area gets its very exotic name from, (Little Venice) it's believed to be coined by 'Lord Byron' who was a politician and poet that used to live closely and wrote about it saying:
“There would be nothing to make the canals of Venice more poetical than that of Paddington, were it not for its artificial adjuncts.”
He was trying to make the comparison of how even the canals in Venice were just as dirty as the ones in Paddington / Little Venice.
Here at the centre point you have three directions which you can take. One taking you towards the Paddington Basin, another heading Eastwards past the beautiful Regents Park and along the grand Regents canal (which might I add there will definitely be a blog in the future along that beautiful pathway and area) and then in the opposite direction you can head down the canal Westwards towards North Kensington and beyond.
If you are a London resident or have never been here it is an area that captures solitude and is a place of calm and a rejuvenating spot for many. Due to the canal boats constantly moving and the different flora and fauna always on the change, it is a canvas that has many different faces and why it always feels like a place that needs exploring again and again if you've been here before.
From my travelling the world, you have cities that pump all their money in the centre of the capital and then leave the more aesthetically less pleasing types of architecture to permeate outwards hmmmm Paris comes to mind. London on the other hand is somewhat different. It's a little hard on the eyes in some areas but that too gives it character, that it's not a city trying to be something that it is not, grit and beauty go hand in hand here. If you know this area too then you will surely know that Little Venice is the prime example of this. If you take a sharp left down West Bourne terrace then you will hit a "beautiful" flyover called the 'West Way Flyover', grit and beauty side-by-side eh?
An Island in the middle.
I had always wondered about this well kept little island in the middle of Little Venice and found out recently that there was more that meets the eye here. The Island is called 'Browning's Island' after the English Poet 'Robert Browning'. He lived closely and actually planted trees on it. I can't verify if that was him who planted the willow tree (as you can see from the picture) but if you find out then please do send me a message?
There's an array of fun things to do here when lockdown ends such as grabbing a pint just by the canal at 'The Bridge house' (I can happily vouch for their Sunday Roasts too, yum!) or if that isn't your weapon of choice then why not pop upstairs to the 'Canal Café theatre' for some thespian entertainment. You can rent out these little electric boats from a company called 'GOBoat London' for the day and whizz up and down the canals or even take the kids to 'The Puppet Theatre Barge' for some family fun. There's a quaint little barge called the 'Waterside Café' that does a lovely breakfast too and if you walk a little further down the canal (that takes you in the direction of Regents park) then you will hit a mysterious tunnel (as seen in the pictures below that pops out towards Regents park). Perched right over is the 'Café Laville' as seen in the pictures. I am yet to pop in there but it will be first on my list when I can, to enjoy a delicious café latte overlooking the canal or to sip on an orange juice like from 'The man from Del Monte'.