Sunday 15th July 2012
Toilets: Public toilets in Mile End Park and Victoria Park; various pubs along the way.
After what seemed liked weeks of endless rain, we finally had a nice day today when the clouds decided to behave themselves.
We’re planning, at some point, to walk along the whole of the Grand Union Canal. It therefore made sense to walk along the Regent’s Canal first, since it joins the Grand Union at Little Venice. I had a look around online and found several people who’d walked it, but for some reason they all seemed to have started at Little Venice and worked their way eastwards. I could see no reason why it shouldn’t be done the other way round, so we started where the Limehouse Basin joins the Thames, and headed west. I really think it was better to do it this way round; arguably, it’s a bit nicer towards the western end. Having said that, we had never been to the eastern half before, yet are very familiar with the bits around Camden and Regent’s Park.
We started off by walking down to the Thames, then walking round the Limehouse Basin which joined the canal.
Everywhere along the route, we were struck by just how much nature there was all around us. There were wildflowers growing at Mile End Ecology Park.
We passed several bright and colourful works of art.
In addition, the local graffiti teeth artist was continuing to specialise in their chosen subject. We had already noticed similar works during our Capital Ring walks around Hackney.
We passed these structures near Bethnal Green.
I liked the way that there was so much nature mixing with the urban grittiness.
Just in case anyone was wondering, this is what London’s resident pigeons think of the Olympics.
There were some beautiful mosaics at City Road Basin.
Upon reaching Islington the canal went into a tunnel, so we had to walk along the streets to get to the other side. All along the walk, we passed various tiny gardens, mostly organised by local community projects.
Further along near King’s Cross we passed St Pancras Lock, which was another pretty but hidden little oasis in the middle of the city. On the other side of the canal was Camley Street Natural Park, but we weren’t able to get across to visit it. We’ll return at some point soon. The great thing was that it was such a short walk to Camden – far more pleasant than taking either the tube or the bus. Having never walked along this route before, we’ll definitely consider using it to get to the King’s Cross area in the future. It’s such a calm interlude amongst the stress of city life.
The next part of the route went straight through the markets of Camden, which I still visit all the time, so I would’ve felt a bit ridiculous taking photos. If you’ve never really seen what the area looks like, there are already millions of photos elsewhere online.
After that, the route became a lot more genteel, going through Primrose Hill, Regent’s Park and London Zoo. The route passed several beautiful but ridiculously expensive houses.
Regent’s Canal finishes at Little Venice, where it meets the Grand Union Canal. We carried on walking along the Paddington Basin, which is surrounded by modern offices and restaurants as well as swanky new blocks of flats.
A very enjoyable day out, and I highly recommend walking it from east to west.