One of the nicer aspects of the Olympic Park is that they have retained the old canals within the grounds of the park to break the space up and provide much needed “canalside frontage” to the luxury houses that will pay for the regeneration afterwards.

It also means you can take a canal boat through the middle of the park – or at least, you can subject to security clearances, escort and quite a lot of staff in hi-vis jackets getting involved.

So I did.

What I wasn’t aware of – and while it’s on their website now, I am sure it wasn’t there when I booked a ticket – is that this is not just a canal boat tour, but also an interactive theatre piece.

To be honest, had I known about that I probably wouldn’t have gone, as I really don’t like interactive theatre/art. I am an art voyeur, and prefer to sit back from a safe distance to observe. I tried to go along with it today, but my heart wasn’t in it – and I did feel slightly trapped as we were on a boat, in a secure area where I couldn’t just get off and walk home.

Sorry to the other people on board, I did try, and she was very good at what she did, which was a faux-olympic games with some fun sports on the boat and the pretence that Lord Seb Coe was driving the boat.

That aside, it was tolerable, and the rest of the tour was great fun and it was nice to get up close to see the Olympic Park from a vantage point that is less usual, if only thanks to the lack of razor wire between us and the park.

Oddly, you don’t get to see too much of the park, as the canal is sunk below the ground level, but you see enough to be good, and it is point of view that few visitors even when the park is open will be able to have experienced.

The Floating Cinema will be around for a while, and there are other free (aka, sponsored by BP) events to enjoy. But not the tours, they are all booked. Sorry.

I’ll leave the photos to tell the rest of the story.

The Floating Cinema, and security escort

The Floating Cinema, and Security Escort Throughout the Tour

You Shall Not Pass!

You Shall Not Pass!

Canal barrier opened to let us pass

Canal barrier opened to let us pass


A new pedestrian bridge - rather nice

A new pedestrian bridge – rather nice

Boats trapped by the algae blooms

Boats trapped by the algae blooms

Under another bridge

The underside of the new bridges is painted in 2012 colours – and reflect the canal waters nicely

Back end of the Aquatic centre

Back end of the Aquatic centre

The Orbit

Half an Orbit

Cloudy reflections

An advantage of no other boats is the undisturbed canal waters

More photos here


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  1. Giles Williams says:

    That’s not algae bloom. That’s duckweed.

  2. gillian lawrence says:

    Been waiting for your review. Am on it today and feel nervous more about finding the place by Hackney Wick. Was thrilled to ‘win’ a ticket as the Water Chariots next year are as you said £20 a pop for 35 minutes.Great photos. Luckily I am a drama graduate. Understand there are cup cakes .

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