London Diary – Regent Canal

 

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Feb 22, 2016

Somehow London’s fascinating canals had escaped my radar until only this past weekend. But I was immediately intrigued and set to learn and explore. This extensive network of waterways has been around for a long time in the heart of the city and although these canals had not been employed the way they were intended due to the emergence of railways, they deservingly have been preserved and became permanently charming part of London’s landscape.

The two major canal systems north of River Thames are Grand Union Canal and Regent Canal. There are boat tours available but we opted for walking Regent Canal, which is about 8.5 miles between Paddington on the west and Limehouse basin on its east end.

In about 3.5 hours we traveled about 4 miles, roughly half of the Regent Canal, starting from Paddington Station, and stopped at King’s Cross Station. Except a few disappointing trash strewn spots, it was overall a fabulous jaunt and many highlights along the way.

Paddington Station; pretty Little Venice; fascinatingly colorful House boats that you’d see at certain parts of the canal near Little Venice and more down the road and yes people do live on these boats; many Locks and bridges; gorgeous mega mansions just before reaching Regent Park, each of which touts a price tag of 80 million pounds and up, and, the park itself; Feng Shang Princess, which is a Chinese restaurant in the shape of a boat on the canal; Camden Town, which is vibrant scene with its crowded market right on the canal, where we stopped for a light replenishment, and its long stretching high street lined with quirky store fronts; St Pancras Station is a railway station housed in a magnificent Gothic Revival Grade I listed building, and its expansion into a modern wing; right next to St Pancras is King’s Cross Station, of both rails and underground, which is tremendous with a modern interior and grand exterior, and it is where Harry Porter’s famous Platform ¾ is located. There was a crowd of people waiting for a photo op at the spot and yet no one disappeared into the thin air, Hogwarts must have been closed that day.

The following are websites with wealth of information on the canals:

https://canalrivertrust.org.uk

http://lndn.blogspot.co.uk/2005_05_01_lndn_archive.html

 

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