regents canal walk london

Regents Canal Walk London

London Walk: Regents Canal (Regent’s Canal). I’ve recently taken a walk along the entire canal which was just so amazing that I can highly recommend you do it. It’s a fantastic walk for tourists and anyone who lives in London because there are so many brilliant places to stop off along the way and the canal is absolutely beautiful. If you’re interested in London canal walks or things to do for free in London then this might appeal to you. You can begin in Paddington or Little Venice (which is the official starting point) and end up in the Docklands at Limehouse where the canal reaches the River Thames. Along the way, you can stop off at some great places like London Zoo, Camden Market, Granary Square, Broadway Market and Victoria Park. Come and join me on my Regents Canal Walk.

regents canal walk, lisson grove

Beautiful Barges and Adorable Bankside Gardens at Lisson Road

Regents Canal Walk

The Regent’s Canal Company began work on Regents Canal in 1812 to run from Little Venice to Limehouse which is around eight and a half miles. It was completed in 1820 and is part of the London Grand Union Canal. It was used for transporting coal and other goods along the waterways but after the trains became popular the canals weren’t so crucial. Not that long ago many parts of the canal were no go areas and it wouldn’t really occur to us to walk along the banks especially if we were on our own because it was just too unsafe.

regents canal london, regents park area

Posh Properties Near Regent’s Park

Recently the canals have become a hub of activity with so many people making use of this scenic way to travel around London. If you do this walk at the weekends you might find parts of the path full with walkers, cyclists and joggers. Pedestrians have the right of way and cyclists are required to toot if they are passing by you. Just be aware that if you have your headphones on then you might not hear them. Take a camera with you because there is some amazing street art, plenty of pretty canal boats, wonderful warehouse buildings and very cool waterside apartments on the route.

regents canal walk, haggerston

Haggerston Waterside Apartments

Walking along the canal is a great way to see London. It encompasses many of the city hotspots from pretty Primrose Hill to buzzy Camden Market, the new foodie and shopping destinations of Granary Square and Coal Drops Yard at Kings Cross, to super cool Haggerston, the artisan food stalls of Broadway Market and past the beautiful Victoria Park. You can use the pathways to avoid traffic and car fumes and venture up to the pavements if you want to browse a particular area.

regents canal walk, camden market lock

Camden Market Lock

Regent’s Canal starts at Little Venice but it’s actually interesting if you begin at Paddington Basin which is part of The Grand Union Canal that was made to connect London to Birmingham. You can either travel to Paddington Station or Edgware Road (not to be confused with Edgware Station) where you’ll notice the Hilton Metropolitan Hotel and the starting point is just behind that. Here you’ll find Merchant Square which has residential tower blocks, retail outlets, restaurant and offices located there. As you start this walk you’ll notice that the area near Paddington Station is called Paddington Waterside.

regents canal walk, paddington basin

Paddington Basin Area

Continue onto Little Venice where if you continue straight on you’ll be heading towards Kensal Rise area. You need to circle around so you go towards Maida Vale. You’ll need to head up to pavement level at Blomfield Road due to a private mooring section. Go across Edgware Road and along Aberdeen Place and keep your eyes open for a small alleyway which is opposite a big pub called the Crocker’s Folly. Past some social housing and you should be able to get back on the canal until you cross Lisson Grove.

regents canal walk, blomfield road

Blomfield Road Area in Maida Vale

Then you can stay on the canal path all the way until Muriel Street in Islington N1. You’ll need to walk for about fifteen minutes on foot and regain the path at Colebrook Row Gardens. Now you are on the path all the way until the end in Docklands at Limehouse Basin. Here are some of my favourite places along the route which are in order from Little Venice onwards.

Regents Canal Walk Places of Interest

Little Venice: This area is just so pretty with weeping willow trees lining the banks and beautifully painted barges. Here you’ll find the Waterside Café which is a floating eatery serving breakfast, sandwiches, cakes, tea, coffee and soft drinks. With riverbank seating, you can enjoy a view of the canal. You can also take a barge tour which travels from Little Venice to Camden Lock or London Zoo and run from April until September, 10 am until 5 pm. If you have children, they might be interested in the Puppet Theatre which is on a barge.

regents canal walk, waterside cafe

Waterside Café

Lisson Grove: If you love antiques you might want to take a detour to Church Street which some amazing shops and Alfie’s Antique Market which is London’s largest indoor market for antiques, vintage fashion and 20th-century design with a café on the roof. Art lovers should definitely visit The Lisson Gallery. It was founded in 1967 and is one of the most influential and longest-running international contemporary art galleries in the world.

regents canal walk, alfies antiques market

Alfie’s Antique Market

Regent’s Park: Regent’s Park is a Royal Park so is extremely well kept and stunning. It was designed by John Nash and covers 395 acres. It includes a beautiful rose garden dedicated to Queen Mary, the Victorian-style Avenue Gardens, a boating lake, various monuments and the Triton Fountain.

regents canal walk, regents park

Regent’s Park

London Zoo: Also situated in Regent’s Park is London Zoo which you will be able to see from the canal walk. You’ll definitely notice the netting from the Snowdon Aviary (designed and named after Lord Snowdon) which was the first walk through aviary and has been a London skyline landmark since it was built in 1962.

regents canal walk, london zoo

London Zoo Snowdon Aviary

Primrose Hill: This is a pretty, quaint, village-style location close to Camden and Regent’s Park. Here you’ll find one main street, Regent’s Park Road which is lined with pretty boutique style shops and cute eateries. Walk up Primrose Hill where you can soak up the spectacular views across London. You’ll probably spot a celebrity mooching around or walking their dog while you are in the vicinity so keep your eyes peeled!

regents, canal walk, primrose hill view

View from Primrose Hill

Camden: The canal path goes straight through the famous Camden Market which will be heaving with people. This is a great place to stop for a bite to eat at one of the street food stalls which are right by the canal banks. Venture further into the Market where you’ll find many shops selling everything from incense to T-shirts and jewellery. Look out for the life-size bronze statue of Amy Winehouse at the Stables Market while you are there and get your photograph taken next to her.

regents canal walk, amy winehouse statue, camden market

Amy Winehouse Bronze Statue at Camden Stables Market

Granary Square: This is a sizable pedestrianised square which opened in June 2012 in Kings Cross which is located near the train stations. Previously Granary Square was a derelict wasteland with large Victorian warehouses and home to a few rave clubs in the ’90s. It has since been gentrified with a number of large restaurants and is also home to Central Saint Martin’s Art College. Coal Drops Yard has now opened and is perfect for shopping and dining.

regents canal walk, granary square

Granary Square Warehouse Buildings and Fountain

Kings Cross: While you are in the vicinity you might want to visit The British Library which houses the Magna Carta, Leonardo da Vinci’s Notebook, The Beatles Manuscripts and Nelson Mandela’s Rivonia Trial Speech Recording.

regents canal walk, british library, kings cross

The British Library

Haggerston: This location is becoming a hotspot for bars, restaurants and cool shops. You’ll come across a patch of bankside cafes with alfresco dining. There’s the Towpath plus a few others close together, a little further on is Arepa and Co who serve authentic Venezuelan cuisine. It is likely to be rammed at the weekend so you can also order take out and sit on the banks outside their premises where there will be some AstroTurf. A few steps later you’ll come across The Proud Archivist which is a bar, restaurant and gallery space so there might be an interesting exhibition taking place.

regents canal walk, haggerston area cafes

Cafes Along Regents Canal

Broadway Market: If you are taking this walk on a Saturday then you must make a detour to sample the artisan edible delights at Broadway Market. Aside from the food market, you can also find a row of restaurants lining the street and a few other shops to browse. A great place to stop off for a bite to eat. At the top of the street you’ll also find London Fields which is a lovely place to sit down for a while.

regents canal walk, broadway market

Artisan Food Stalls at Broadway Market

Victoria Park: This is a large and very beautiful park to visit which opened in 1845. At Victoria Park you’ll find cafes, boating lakes, rose gardens and some interesting things to see from the war memorial to the Chinese Pagoda. Just afterwards you’ll also pass by the Millennium Park and Mile End Park.

regents canal walk, victoria park

Victoria Park Chinese Pagoda

Then you’re quite near the end of your adventure when you hit Limehouse. You come to a stop so it’s obvious where the walk finishes but do cross the road and into Limehouse Basin which feeds into the Thames. Here you’ll see boats in the marina and some great views of London.

regents canal walk, limehouse basin

Limehouse Basin

Limehouse is a quiet area at the weekend because it is more of a hub for offices situated at Canary Wharf. If you want to grab a bite to eat seek out West India Quay where you’ll find some restaurants. Nearby stations are served by The Docklands Light Railway (DLR) with the nearest one at Limehouse but there are others if you go for a wander around this area.

Regents Canal Walk Research

If you want to do a spot of research before your walk, here are some interesting websites to check out. Happy exploring my urban adventurers.

Canal and River Trust
Canal Museum

Author: Homegirl London. Photographs: Homegirl London. Thanks: Homeboy and our walking friends – Madhu, Ambi, Riya, Ed and Richie.