Regent's CanalView map
Through London's watery backstreets
or most people, getting around London by boat means one thing: the River Thames. But there’s actually another watery way of going from A to B – which many locals aren’t even aware of.
The Regent’s Canal is an intimate waterway that runs from Paddington Basin (once an important stop on the Grand Union Canal) in the north of central London, and skirts its way east, through Regent’s Park and along to Camden, before dropping down to meet the Thames at Limehouse.
It was originally designed to link the mighty river with the Grand Union Canal, which brought vital supplies and materials from the North of England, for export abroad. Nowadays, though, it makes a rather pleasant day out.
Start with breakfast at the Waterside Café, at ‘Little Venice’ (actually a café on a narrow boat), and enjoy an egg sarnie while watching the ducks glide past. Then jump on the Waterbus (a narrow boat with big glass windows so you can soak up the view) over to London Zoo, where you can skip the usual zoo queues via a special gate.
There are 750 species here (including creepy crawlies and a new baby silverback gorilla, born October 2010) – but none of them rival the weird and wonderful sights you’ll see in Camden – a short stroll further along the canal.
There are vintage shops, crafts stalls and cool music shops selling vinyl (remember that stuff?).