Not many people realise that you can walk through half of London along Regents Canal. The lock splits here and there and there are a few off shots that lead no where but if you follow one general route you can walk all the way from Lime House to Hayes.
Originally opened in 1820 the canal was designed by architect John Nash who was also responsible for Regents Park.
Down the Hayes end things get a bit quiet and industrial so we are going to concentrate on the other end, Lime House through to LIttle Venice which should take you on a good full day of walking, stopping off at numerous points of interest and boozers on the way – enjoy!
Limehouse basin is where we start. It’s full of house boats which we all secretly want to clamber on but instead of clambering on the boats you can clamber into The Cruising Association Headquarters which sits right on the Basin.
Walk a while up and you reach Victoria Park, a huge park with deer and everything but the real star here is the Palm Tree pub. The Palm sits right in the park and within view of the canal with only grass in between the two. On summer evenings house boats rock up here and a little party is had on the grass. The pub itself is a real authentic east end boozer with it’s history in black and white photos all over the walls for all to see. Just don’t ask them to change the music.
Carry on from here until you have the option to pop out at Vyner Street, just up from the Canal this street is full of galleries and goings on at the weekends.
If you continue to walk along you get to Angel where you are forced onto the street for a little way before you can join the canal again – just keep an eye on your map or the road signs and you’ll be back on it by Caledonian Road which has a pub sat right next to the entrance, Canal 125, it has a terrace out the back the directly overlooks the canal.
Next the canal opens up next to York Way where you will find Rotunda a very smart restaurant and bar that has a big open terrace right onto the water. You need to try the odd beer called Orangeboom here as it’s great. Then just relax for a while in one of their deck chairs out the front of the bar, maybe with some of their thick cut chips as a snack. On Thursdays in the summer Rotunda does a hog roast right on the riverside.
Once rested continue onto the bridge at St Pancras Way, in between you will see the new steps leading up to the re-development of Kings Cross and the Granary Square. At St Pancras Way you will find the Constitution up some steps in the wall, this pub has won awards for its beer garden looking down onto the canal and does a great BBQ on the weekends they also have live music some nights.
On from here you of course have Camden Market and also the Pirate Castle where you can hire boats if you want to paddle some of the way. Then you walk through part of London Zoo next to the Hyaena cages and the bird enclosure alongside Regents Park coming out eventually at Little Venice.
Just before the Zoo look out for ‘Blow Up Bridge’ for a bit of history. Commercial barges carried all types of cargo along the canal systems some of which was quite hazardous. Blow Up Bridge was destroyed in October 1874 when a boat called “Tilbury” which was carrying gunpowder exploded – the bridge was rebuilt however it’s pillars were turned around to provide a smooth surface for the boat’s towing ropes – the original rope-grooves can still be clearly seen
From here on out look out for part two of our canal route next week.