A great London walk is from Paddington to Camden Lock along the Regent`s Canal – a very cool walk along some of the many canals crisscrossing London, a relic of a bygone era when goods were transported by barge on canals around London and England in general. If you want to do this walk, start by either Paddington Station or from the Warwick Avenue Underground station on the Bakerloo line for a slightly easier access. If you look at a map you will see the canal behind Paddington station, and you just follow the canal up to the “crossroads” at Little Venice.
This little haven is where Grand Union Canal meets Regent’s Canal and forms a little lake with an island in the middle. It is hard to imagine that this haven of tranquility is just a stone’s throw from busy Paddington. Dozens of narrowboats, day trip boats and water cafes line this calm water oasis, together with majestic willow trees and the famous Little Venice mansions it makes for a stunning backdrop.
Start your walk with a coffee at the beautiful Waterside Café. After a well-deserved beverage, continue along Regent’s Canal to the east. The walkway along the canal is great for walking, the first “obstacle” you will encounter is the Maida Hill tunnel were the canal goes through Maida Hill, the tunnel is not to be entered by pedestrians, so you have to walk over it, but it is well signposted. On top of Maida Hill is a great pub if you already feel the need for some libations, the grand Crocker’s Folly pub from 1898.
After continuing along the canal for a few hundred metres you will suddenly have a change of scenery as the canal joins the northern end of Regent’s Park and Primrose Hill. Regent’s Park once formed the hunting grounds for Henry VIII and was landscaped by the great John Nash in 1646. It is also the home of London Zoo and while walking along the canal you will get a look into some of the exhibits with wild animals.
The park in Primrose Hill is also worth a small detour as it gives great views over central London from the small hills inside the park. After the park it is a slightly odd sight to see a Chinese style barge moored at the banks of the canal, this is the Feng Shang Princess restaurant.
The canal now takes a northern turn and you are closing in on Camden. Before Camden we would say that more drinks might be in order, and the fine Engineer pub on Primrose Hill is a well-deserved stop. Great food and great pub for a quick snack and energy refill. This pub is at the head of the 3rd bridge after the Feng Shang Princess barge. By the next bridge there is an original Banksy, do not miss it.
And then very suddenly the mayhem of Camden Lock Market appears before you. On the left side of the canal the market spreads out and you will quickly use hours and hours here to explore and shop. And do not for one second think that the stalls by the river is the main hub of shops, continue backwards and towards the stalls under the railway arches at the back, it is less crowded here, and even more of the weird and the wonderful stalls and people that make up Camden Market. To get back to central London the easiest way is to walk along the plethora of shops in Camden High Street to the south and board a London Underground train to Tottenham Court Road in central London.
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