Sunday, 3 August 2014

Little Venice and the canal walks of London

We have been having a glorious summer in London.
I thought I would make the most of the weather and my dose of Vitamin D.  I had to meet my brother to pick up Millie so decided to go the scenic route.
 I started in Paddington Central which is a modern development right by Paddington station for your guide. 

What you see in the picture above are old warehouses that would have received delivery of goods of stoneware and wool from the industrial North of England.

Due to the sun, the water has a green overgrowth that looks like astro turf if you didn't know better.

The bridges are main arterial roads that lead to the A40 and the Marylebone Road.

Even houseboats are squeezed in every possible berth.

Gardens and barbeque sets are just as important to boat dwellers.

There are a few local turns but you should look for the
Jubilee Walk ( click for link ) and follow the canal if in doubt.

Some of the canal houseboat neighborhoods are private so you would need a key for water sidewalk access.

I was admiring the view when a canal boat aptly named Idle Moments sailed by.
These boats amble at such a rate that I could walk at the same pace!

The couple with their dog relaxing on their motorboat is England at its finest...

There is a café called La Ville which is on the Edgware Road
in Maida Vale which is a busy area but
you wouldn't know it from this angle.

This is the bit where you could lose track of the canal so come prepared or ask around.

There was this special chalkboard where people were finishing the sentence below.

It is a mixture of council housing with a phenomenal view juxtaposed against twee houseboats.

Mature gardens and a green thumb at work even in this conditions.

People lead normal lives and have pets with dogs guarding the
front door and cats roaming the streets.

If you are really game then you might want to canoe down the canals.

Like most of London, the canals have 
a diverse socio economic mix of public homes and then homes that would cost an amount that would include
at least 7 or even 8 zeros.

In fact, one of these homes were bought by the Sultan of Brunei for £40 million pounds back in 1994.  

Another one of these homes called Grove House was owned by the Australian tycoon Robert Holmes a Court that had the second largest garden in London after Buckingham Palace.

I can't tell which is which from this view but 
the owners are the usual array of various royal families 
( not the British one ) and oligarchs.
But the views are unique albeit not as private so some would be put off for security reasons. 
 The other side of the houses is Regent's Park.
The pathway is an easy commute without cars nor traffic lights that I decided to walk back with Millie.
There are also canal boat tours for those who don't want to walk and just take in the views with the sound of water rippling.

The London Zoo is one of the many attractions and you can see the giraffes without having to queue nor buy a ticket.

Which is handy when the queues today were about
half a kilometre long.
I picked up Millie who was watching my brother's volleyball game without much enthusiasm.
This walk often gets neglected and under publicized but would highly recommend it not only to tourists but locals who want a different way to explore London and enjoy the best of England without having to get on the motorway.
Hope you had a good weekend x


  1. Wow. Doesn't look at all like the London of my imagination, and I really appreciate the insider view.

  2. Fantastic!I love rivers and have always wanted to do a canal trip of some sort. Its great to get some other ideas about what to do in London - wonder if I will ever get there.
    thank you. Linda C.

  3. I just love that. I don't think I've ever seen those canals. Thank you so much for the lovely tour. "Before I die I want to Play Like Django" I really like that one.

  4. What a great walk! All the crazy Brit bits, and the 'green and pleasant land'-ness mixed with oligarchs and giraffes. This is exactly what I love about rambling around London and finding new corners.

    Reminds me a bit of the Canal Saint-Martin in Paris. That's one of the main differences between living in London and living in Paris...You can walk across Paris, and generally get anywhere on foot, as it's all concentrated within the Periph. Not so in London. It's just too big, sprawling, and car dominated. Having said that, when there's a Tube strike or a bomb, it's a long trot on Shanks's pony for everyone, and that's that.

  5. I love being an armchair traveller reading your blog! Oh makes me yearn for London!

  6. I must Aldo add this walk isn't as charming in the rain and cold! But lad you enjoyed the tour. I plan on doing the rest of the canals one day!

  7. Excellent, it's ages since I've been down this way, my friend's dad just bought her a mansion flat in Maida Vale - nice. I really want to b&b in one of the houseboats some time, just so I can pretend I'm Don Johnson.

  8. I love regents park. I love Blackheath. I love London's parks. Matter of fact, I love London, and I love these wander-y posts xx

  9. I toyed with the idea of living in a houseboat but everyone unanimously says winter is a nono! I love how maida vale has really come I to its own now and has a great vibe. I love the parks too cilosophy and saves me from having to go to the countryside!

  10. Lovely post. Great to know there's now a boat tour of the canals - next time we're in London, if the weather's right.
    Great mix - giraffes, luxury houses, quaint canal boats. That pea soup section is a bit of a worry though. Sorry to ask but do the canals smell? Love Venice but sometimes in high summer there is rather a whiff, though not if you're there in late spring/early summer. We once went to Lake Trasimeno which I'd always wanted to see, including because I'd studied Latin at school and translated lots of passages about battles and camps nearby. We were devastated to see how polluted it was at the time we visited.
    Can't say I'd ever want to live or stay in one of the canal boats though, quaint as they are. I like home comforts too much and I imagine it could be very damp and cold in winter and wet weather. It was interesting to watch the huge barges on the Rhine from our hotel in Mainz this year. They nearly all had two cars on board as well as their pot plants and other things that made them home as well as cargo carriers. Pammie

    1. It can whiff depending on the system in general but there was not a hint of anything yesterday. In the winter it gets so damp that it is so unpleasant due to that. I wouldn't mind a houseboat and days like yesterday sell the dream! I saw the documentary with Rick Stein going through France on a houseboat and that was a little dream. You could always get a duplex canalboat?! :) x

  11. How much is a houseboat these days? I used to walk past the ones at Chelsea Embankment every day on my way to work. Not quite so nice as the Little Venice berths I'd say as due to the tide they'd often end up high and dry and leaning to one side (and a little bit stinky from the mud being exposed at the bottom of the Thames).
    Always makes me laugh that the Council housing has the best views in London, and is usually located in the best spots as well. Also a lot of them are much more spacious and better designed than the flats around the corner.

    1. They start at 250K but depending on where it is moored bc that is most of the cost like most real estate. They don't get that much for sale in the center of town and we looked last year and the ones that were available were either in the deep east end of in Putney way. They are good value but everyone says that the winters are hard...The council houses have THE best views - south london especially in camberwell have the best views from Westminster and the City. That always causes friction from the people who have to pay so much to look at those very buildings and no view! xx

  12. Darling Naomi
    Your post is so not fair, how am I to support the London houseboat lifestyle, which I now completely crave and desire, on the salary of a passionate shop assistant?

  13. How lovely. I'm sure you are aware that Birmingham is renowned for having more miles of canal than Venice and if the weather is nice I often take my friends/family who visit Birmingham on a canal boat ride, although I haven't done so this year for some reason. The London scenery looks more interesting and idyllic than Birmingham's though - we don't see mansions and zoo animals along the way, unfortunately xx

    1. I know if it and while I have been to your city I haven't had the pleasure of visiting the canals but will make sure I do next time I get a chance xx

  14. I had such fun with you and Millie on this walk. Next time, I am bringing my little Jack. He would love it. ;) Dream on, dream on......

  15. One must never stop dreaming! So please bring jack :)

  16. London certainly is having a lovely summer indeed. Was lucky enough to spend 8 days there last month - nowhere near long enough. Am planning my next trip already - will be adding this area onto my list - looks gorgeous. Leigh

    1. While this walk is great it really would be for someone who has seen the sights of London first and this scratches another layer of the city. It took about am hour of easy ambling but must say you picked a good summer bc it is one of the best we had in ages !!

  17. Thanks for sharing. We will be in London soon, so I will have a look at this :-)

  18. That's a really cool tour of Little Venice, it's gotten much more beautiful since I was there. I do remember going to puppet shows with the kids in one of those house boats in Maida Vale


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