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Floating Market in Mile End Park

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by Keeley Downey (subscribe)
Writer and journalist living in Wimbledon. Check out my blog Follow me on twitter: @KeeleyJD
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The Floating Market might have invaded Regent's Canal in hope of attracting those visiting the nearby Olympic Park, but this quaint little set up definitely has something for everyone.

The market will stay at Mile End until 16 August

Fourteen colourful narrowboats are lining the canal in Mile End Park from 20 July to 16 August, with punters able to park up on the grassy banks opposite and enjoy the market's offerings.

The smell of cooking hotdogs hangs in the air, but passers-by are spoilt for choice with the Pizza Boat, The Sandwich Barge and Vareška – a floating Slovakian kitchen – all a short stroll away from each other.

For those with a sweet tooth, take your pick from cakes, candyfloss, ice cream, and popcorn. When I said this market has something for everyone, I wasn't exaggerating; gluten-, egg- and dairy-free goodies mean those with intolerances are catered for also, thanks to Rawlings Cakes.

The Floating Market really does have something for everyone

And what day out at the park would be complete without a cool, refreshing beverage? Well leave your coolers at home folks, as the Floating Market's got it covered with larger, homemade lemonade, soft drinks or tea/coffee.

Food and drink are not the only barge businesses open during this special London summer. Accessorise your new Frocks A Float vintage outfit with a hat or pair of sunglasses from Chapeau Bateau, splash out (pun not intended) on a novel wooden gift from Waterways Wooodturning Narrowboat, or grab some literature from the London Book Barge – an attention-grabbing boat with lively tunes and an onboard bookshop.

The bobbing cafe Vareska

In to herbal remedies? Mosey on down to the Herbal Barge Company for a consultation, or maybe it's the 'Mate Mix' tea that's caught your eye, claimed to 'improve stamina'.

And stamina definitely is what you will need if you intend to explore other activities in the area before heading home. Get sporty at the park's climbing wall, grab some more bargains at the Roman Road Market, let off steam at the Adventure Park, go green in one of the onsite electric karts, or enjoy a peaceful afternoon at the Ecology Park.

The Floating Market will relocate to West London's Little Venice between 20 August and 9 September for the Paralympic Games.
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Why? To pick up a bargain and indulge in some Slovakian specialties
When: 2012-08-16 (before it moves to Little Venice between 20 August-9 September
Where: Regent's Canal in Mile End Park
Cost: Free
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