A unique way to experience London
The Regent’s Canal linking Little Venice to the Thames at Limehouse was first opened in 1820, providing an important industrial transport route. By the late 19th century, canal trade was failing and railways were taking over. There were several attempts to take it over and turn it into a railway but none succeeded. In 1948, the canals were nationalised and British Waterways was formed to run them. Today the canal is mostly used for leisure with towpaths open to all and boats carrying passengers rather than cargo, and the Canal & River Trust is the charity formed to look after the navigation, unique architecture, industrial history and wildlife.
Camden Lock Market
A former hay market from where the canal is bordered by the gardens of elegant town houses backing onto the water. Known as Camden Lock, this shopping destination is one of Camden’s world famous markets. It is reached after a sharp left turn at Cumberland Basin.
The market includes hundreds of clothing, music and arts and craft stalls set up in the former warehouses and around the cobbled and flagged courtyards. In it’s West Yard right next to the Hampstead Road Lock, you’ll find the Global Kitchen serving up an array of some of the world’s finest street food.
First opened in 1828, London Zoo is the world’s oldest scientific zoo. It is home to thousands of furry (and non-furry) animals, great and small. Housing the international research of the Zoological Society - displayed in the fascinating Web of Life exhibition - the Zoo today is not just a home to animals but a centre recognised for excellence in conservation and education. The antelope terraces and Snowdon Aviary can both be seen from the canal.
Our waterbus has its own entrance into the Zoo, providing a pleasant way to arrive and avoiding the queues at the main gate.
Did you know that the canal was originally supposed to run through Regent’s Park? At this time the park was private and it was decided that the sight and sound of working boatmen might not be suitable for the wealthy users so the canal was put into a deep cutting around the North edge.
The canal was dug deeper and wider than others, and while most have simple functional designs for bridges and works, the Regent’s Canal has bridges of ornamental cast and wrought iron as well as the pillared Macclesfield bridge.