London might be one of the world’s busiest capital cities, yet there is a surprising array of places in the heart of London where you can feel like you are far removed from the hustle and bustle. London’s many parks are one example of this; another is London’s system of canals.
Britain has a canal system of water transport that was very important during the Industrial Revolution; the canal network operates nationwide and offers a unique way to travel the countryside. As an important port situated on the River Thames, London was connected to the national network of canals via the Oxford Canal, the Grand Junction Canal, Regent’s Canal, and the Limehouse Cut, as well as some other canals that are no longer in existence. Now that road, rail, and air transport are so much better, London’s canals are more a haven for recreational boaters and those who choose to reside in canal boats.
Visitors to London, when staying in hotels near Wembley Stadium, can enjoy a beautiful day out exploring London’s canal network – either via a boat trip or a stroll on the towpath. There is a range of service operators, and boats are also available for private charter and self-drive hire.
Additionally, London Canal Museum operates a range of tours and trips, including Children’s Halloween Tunnel Trips (adults must be accompanied by a child!) and summer Islington Tunnel trips.
The most popular boating route is that along The Regent’s Canal which links the Thames at Limehouse with Little Venice. An important industrial route when it opened in 1820, it is now a picturesque recreational route that showcases the best of the London Canals.
For a lovely day out, catch the underground to Paddington or Warwick Avenue, or alternatively catch a bus. Hop aboard a canal boat here at Little Venice and cruise one way to Camden, where you can enjoy the famous market (which was originally a hay market). Shop here and sample some delicious street food. Then stroll along the Grand Union Towpath to King’s Cross, where you can either turn back or catch the train to return to your start point.
Another great and relaxing day out is to travel the historic Regent’s Canal, through Regent’s Park, to the London Zoo, which is the world’s oldest scientific zoo, open since 1828. Arriving by canal boat is a novel way to avoid queues at the front gate! Parts of the zoo can be seen from the canal.
Alternatively, rather than actually going on the canal, walk by it. There is a network of canal-side paths extending six miles in total – there is no lovelier way to get out and about to just enjoy walking in London.
London’s canal network is easily accessible from hotels in North London. Step out on a bright day and explore this haven in the heart of London.