Regent’s Canal is one of London’s loveliest secrets, and one of the most relaxing places in the big city.
After you visit all the bucket list London spots – the London Eye, Big Ben, the Tower of London, the British Museum and so on – you may want to discover one of its less touristy and most gorgeous places.
Regent’s Canal is a wonderfully serene place to visit in London. You can walk or cycle along the canal, and also take a boat tour.
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Walking along Regent’s Canal is one of my favourite London walks. It’s green, super relaxed and simply beautiful.
You can go from West to East or from East to West London and pass through many different parts of the city on the way.
Regent’s Canal map
Here’s a self-guided tour of Regent’s Canal. It covers a part of it that takes you from West London to Central London.
To start the tour, take the train to Warwick Avenue tube station and as you get off, walk up the avenue towards Little Venice.
Rembrandt Gardens, at the junction of Warwick Avenue and Harrow Road, are wonderfully peaceful, with benches facing the water.
To get to Little Venice after visiting the gardens, you’ll have to cross the bridge on Harrow Road, take a right, go down some steps, and when you see the boats on the water – there you are in Little Venice.
If you’ve been to Venice, then don’t except this Little Venice to be anything like it 😉 Some say Lord Byron named it as a joke…
But it has its own unique charm that’s hard to find anywhere else.
It’s a great place to explore on foot, just take a walk by the water and see all the lovely boats.
If you prefer to take a boat tour rather than walk along the canal, many boat tours start from Little Venice.
Walking down Regent’s canal
When you feel you’ve seen enough of Little Venice, head back to Rembrandt Gardens, cross the street and walk down the canal towards Maida Vale.
Along the way, enjoy the beautiful boathouses.
When you reach the bridge you may have a chance to go into the restaurant and view the canal from the bridge.
Cross the street again after the bridge and continue walking straight onto Aberdeen Place. Not much to see at this stage, but you’ll soon see the canal again.
When you reach Lisson Grove, cross the street and you’ll see a decorated gate. It says “Regent’s Canal” on top.
Walk through the gate and the path will lead you along the canal.
Beware of the cyclists! There are lots of them along this route, and they share the same lane as pedestrians. While they’re mostly considerate, you still want to watch out.
The houseboats on the canal
Living on the water is something many people would have loved to try out. There’s a lot of freedom in this alternative lifestyle, living close to nature in the middle of the city.
The decorated houseboats are beautiful, especially the ones that have flourishing gardens on the boat.
Also, there’s a lively community life that the dwellers share and it’s fascinating to watch as you pass by.
Most of the boats at Regent’s Canal and Little Venice seem to be narrowboats, though you can sometimes find bigger ones as well.
Some of these boats only dock at one place for two weeks and then move on, so every time you visit the canal, you might spot different boats.
The boats are not just for living. If you’re lucky you may come across a floating second -and bookshop or a floating cafe 🙂
As you continue your walk, you will reach the part of the Canal that’s inside Regent’s Park.
It’s a very leisurely, peaceful walk, with a lot of green all around you.
There are some cyclists and joggers passing by, but otherwise, if you go in the middle of the week, it won’t be too busy.
You’re in the centre of London, but it doesn’t feel like that at all. It’s so relaxing, so quiet, green and lush, it’s easy to forget that you’re in the middle of a huge, hectic metropolitan.
One of the reviewers on TripAdvisor described it as “a peaceful oasis in the heart of London”
There are some benches along the canal, if you want to bring a picnic, or just sit and read a book or meditate.
If you want to visit the park, just find a bridge, go up the stairs and enter the park. You can come back to the canal later.
As you leave Regent’s Park you will not be able to miss the red building on the water that looks like some kind of Asian temple. It’s actually a Chinese restaurant called Feng Shang Princess.
You’ll start seeing some modern houses to your right ,the atmosphere will gradually become less chilled, and soon you’ll arrive at Camden Market and its many, many food stalls.
With a lovely range of foods from all over the world, it’s a good place to stop, get some rest, have some food or a coffee if you need one.
Vegans and vegetarians have some nice options here too. I posted a question on the Vegan London Facebook group about people’s favourite vegan places to eat at Camden Market and got lots of enthusiastic replies 🙂
You can also take this tour in the opposite direction to the once I described above, namely from Camden Town to Little Venice. Get some food at Camden Market and find the most beautiful spot along the canal for your picnic.
Can’t get enough of the canal? You can continue walking along the canal from Camden Town towards Kings Cross and even farther towards East London, all the way to Limehouse.
So do I!
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