Regent’s Canal Walk – A Beautiful London Walk From Little Venice To Camden Lock:
The Regent’s Canal Walk from Little Venice to Camden was one of the London walks that we had planned to do on our London stop. It was a strange coincidence that Linda and Neil, our London friends, had recently moved into the area. They had discovered this London walk themselves and were keen to share their discovery with us.
Regent’s Canal Walk
The 5 km Regent’s Canal Walk starts at the picturesque Little Venice and takes in the scenic Regent’s Canal, Regent’s Park, Primrose Hill before arriving at Camden Lock. If you’re feeling more energetic, you could of course do the loop back to Little Venice.
Before the arrival of the railway, this hidden corner of London played a significant role in London’s economic and cultural development and is an area that’s rich in history.
The Regent’s Canal area has always been somewhat avant-garde and former residents of the area have included writers, poets, artists and inventors. Benjamin Britten lived in St. John’s Wood and worked on his first opera, ‘Peter Grimes’ whilst living here. The area is now home to some of London’s most desirable addresses.
About the Regent’s Canal
Designed and built by John Nash, Regent’s Canal was completed and opened in 1820. The Canal links the River Thames at Limehouse to the Grand Union Canal junction at Paddington. The Canal passes through Hackney, Islington, Camden and Little Venice and provides a scenic and uniquely peaceful green corridor for London.
From Little Venice to Lisson Grove
For those arriving by Tube, take the left exit out of the Warwick Avenue station. Walk straight ahead and take the first road on the right, Warwick Place. At the end of the road turn left and walk over Westbourne Terrace Road Bridge. On the left hand side is the Pool of Little Venice. The poet Robert Browning lived in a place overlooking this part of the canal and gave it the name Pool of Little Venice.
Cross the road and follow the blue footbridge crossing back over the canal onto the towpath opposite the Waterside Café and signposted to Camden and Regent’s Park. Follow the towpath under Warwick Avenue Bridge and you will come across the pretty residential moorings of Blomfield Road. This is one of the most prestigious canal mooring sites in London.
Turn off the towpath onto Blomfield Road for a hundred metres. At the end of Blomfield Road the canal disappears into the Maida Hill Tunnel and underneath the delightful Café Laville. Cross Edgware Road into Aberdeen Place, continue until you reach the (now closed) Crocker’s Folly pub on your left. Straight ahead a pathway sign-posted Regent’s Canal leads you to a steep flight of steps and back onto the canal towpath.
Lisson Grove to London Zoo
You have now reached Lisson Grove. Continue along the canal towpath, underneath the Lisson Grove Tunnel and pass the moorings with the brightly coloured narrowboats. Follow the towpath and when you seen a splash of green, you’ve reached the northern edges of Regent’s Park. Soon you will see four mansions.
Originally John Nash had intended to have the Regent’s Canal running through the middle of the park. He was persuaded to abandon that plan due to concerns that the bad language of the bargees would offend the refined residents of the area. Nash had plans to build 56 villas in Regent’s Park, however only eight were completed. The beautiful white villas were built to Nash’s original designs during the late 1980s and early 1990s and drew inspiration from the architecture of ancient Greece, Rome the Renaissance period.
London Zoo to Primrose Hill
Following the towpath you will pass under two bridges. The first is an aqueduct carrying the forgotten River Tyburn over the Canal. The second bridge is the notorious Macclesfield Bridge or ‘Blow up Bridge’. Here, in 1874, a barge carrying gunpowder exploded and destroyed the bridge. Evidence of the explosion can be found on a nearby plane tree which survived the blast.
Cross the second bridge, with London Zoo on your right, then turn left up a slope. A few steps later, take the right fork and turn left to cross Prince Albert Road. Turn right before entering Primrose Hill through a gate on your left.
Once inside the park, keep to the left-hand path which climbs to the top of the hill. Take the right fork to the summit where you’ll get a view of the city skyline. The viewing panel identifies the landmarks that you are looking at, although it does not include the skyscraper at Canary Wharf.
From Primrose Hill to Camden
Descend on the left and walk towards the park gate at the junction of Regent’s Park Road and Primrose Hill Road. Opposite the gate is Queens, a Victorian pub. To the left of the pub look for 122 Regent’s Park Road. Friedrich Engels lived here for 24 years and was often visited by his friend Karl Marx.
Turn right into Regent’s Park Road and walk down this road for 135 m before turning left up Fitzroy Road, home to many famous residents. On the right between Nos. 41 and 39 is the entrance to Primrose Hill Studios. Residents in this 1882 building have included the musician Sir Henry Wood and Arthur Rackham, an illustrator famous for his fairy pictures.
Carry on down Fitzroy Road past No. 23, once home to W.B. Yeats. Take a right into Chalcot Road and then hang left down Princess Road past a Victorian board school. Turn right and rejoin the Canal down steps across Gloucester Avenue. Turn left under the railway bridge and past the Pirate Castle, a water sports centre. Cross the pedestrian bridge and you’ve arrived at the Camden Lock Market.
After visiting the Market, you can catch the water bus back to Little Venice or catch the train from the Camden Town Underground station. The more energetic ones may choose to walk back to Little Venice.
For more information on this walk, visit the British Waterways website www.britishwaterways.co.uk.
Start at: Little Venice
Finish : Camden Lock
Distance: 5 kms (3 miles)
Time : 2 1/2 hours (more if you’re a keen photographer)
Transport: Bakerloo Line – Warwick Avenue Station
Conditions: Flat, although some areas unsuitable for wheelchairs
Where to Stop:
- Crockers, Queens and The Princes of Wales (corner of Fitzroy and Chalcot Roads) are good pubs
- At the junction of Edgware Road and Aberdeen Place is Cafe La Ville.
- There’s no shortage of cafes, restaurants and sandwich shops at Camden Town, not to mention the many food stalls in Camden Market.