London’s Regent’s Canal – a surprising gem and a lovely walk

The Regent’s Canal has been there, crossing the middle of London, since 1820. Now, although still used by boats, it provides a peaceful walking and cycling route in the midst of the capital. I would strongly encourage anyone to go and experience it and take a stroll along some or all of it.

There is stacks of information on the Regent’s Canal on the web. I would just like to add to it by emphasising what a surprising treat it was to find such a tranquil area so close to the traffic and crowded streets of central London. I would like to thank Carol for the idea, guidance and information provided during our walk. The walk along the canal is about 14kms (8.5 miles) and it passes through many very familiar-sounding London places. It is likely to jog the memory of old Monopoly players.

We started at Limehouse after getting off the Docklands Light Railway and walking down to the marina. Since you are following the canal there is no need for any route finding, just keep the water to one side of you! Actually the water passes through two tunnels so there are two “without water” challenges but these are none too serious. We finished the walk at Paddington station after passing Little Venice.

Some of my memorable places were

  • The Limehouse Basin, in previous times so busy that one reporter said you could walk from one side to the other on the decks of moored boats.Regents_canal_dock_1828Now it is a peaceful residential area.
  • Mile End Park, one of several parks passed on the walk and demonstrating that London is not all just buildings.
  • The Hanover School Community Towpath Gardens in Islington, a tiny oasis, just by the City Road Basin and just before we had to leave the canal towpath and walk through busy streets over the approximately 1km long Islington tunnel (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Islington_Tunnel).
  • The unusual views of Kings Cross and St Pancras stations,
  • The hordes of people, all eating, at Camden Market and, shortly after, the unlikely sight of the Fang Shang Princess floating chinese restaurant.feng-shang-floating-restaurant
  • The aviary and animal enclosures of the London Zoo you can spy from the canal towpath. We saw no large snakes that have recently been reported to be around in this area
    http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/snakes-capable-of-crushing-small-children-invade-regents-canal-9349115.html

If you want more detailed information on this highly reccommended walk and/or background on this canal you might like to look at these sites http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Regent’s_Canal, http://www.walk4life.info/walk/jubilee-greenway-section-2 and http://canalrivertrust.org.uk/canals-and-rivers/regents-canal.

The featured image is by Laurence Fredric White and is taken from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:WenlockStitch.jpg#file.

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