The Regent’s Canal walk is one of the most beautiful ways to explore London. Hidden within the bustling streets just north of central London, there’s a blissful heaven of calm waters, rows of trees and colourful boats. Surprisingly the Regent’s Canal walk remains one of London’s best kept secrets, unknown to many tourists.
Let’s explore it, shall we?
Jump to the bottom to see the Regent’s Canal restaurants and pubs or the Regent’s Canal walk map.
Regent’s Canal history
Named after the Prince Regent (who later became King George IV), the Regent’s Canal is 13.8km (8.6 miles) long and crosses the north of the capital from side to side, connecting the Paddington Arm of the Gran Union Canal with the Limehouse Basin, before joining with the Thames. Completed in 1820 and built by architect John Nash, the Regent’s Canal was first proposed by businessman Thomas Homer as a waterway link between the Gran Junction Canal at Paddington with the eastern London docks at Limehouse. However, the trade use of the canal declined due to the increase in deliveries by road and trains by the mid 19th century and after many negotiations, the canal was given a new use.
Now Regent’s Canal is a place for leisure by both Londoners and the tourists who actually discover this hidden gem. The peaceful route along the canal towpath is pedestrianised and offers the perfect opportunity to explore different neighbourhoods of London from a completely new perspective. The best bit? There are many ways to explore this wonderful part of London. You can opt for a leisurely walk, cycle, jog or even join one of the many kayak, canoe and cruise tours.
Regent’s Canal path
With sections including locks, bridges and tunnels, the Regent’s Canal towpath passes along quirky bookshop/café boats, the award winning Feng Shang Princess (a floating Chinese restaurant!), a Banksy painting near Camden Market and even shows the impressive contrast of the Victorian waterside mansions along the canal and the docked boats that serve as residence to many. Walking Regent’s Canal is also a great way to see the vast wildlife of London, with many ducks, swans and terrapins swimming in the water. Other highlights nearby the Regent’s Canal walk include Victoria Park, Broadway Market, Lord’s Cricket Ground and London Zoo (you can even see their Snowdon Aviary from the towpath).
Did you know…?
The Islington Tunnel took three years to build from 1815 to 1818 and was designed by engineer James Morgan himself after several disappointing entries were submitted to the Regent’s Canal Company. The building process involved explosives, horses, wheelbarrows and the physical strength of navvies!
Regent’s Canal restaurants and pubs (West to East)
There are so many amazing places to eat and drink along Regent’s Canal but here are some of our favourites:
- Feng Shang Princess
- Camden Market
- The Constitution
- Granary Square – here you can find Dishoom, Caravan, Granary Square Brasserie, Barrafina and loads more!
- The Little Viet Kitchen
- The Narrowboat Pub
- The Barge House
- Rosemary Branch
- Berber & Q
- Broadway Market (Check out my Broadway Market guide before going!)
- The Narrow
- The Grapes (owned by the legendary actor Sir Ian McKellen!)
So, what are you waiting for? Escape the busy streets of London and do the Regent’s Canal walk, one of the capital’s best kept secrets.
Popular Regent’s Canal walks and areas to explore
If you don’t fancy the entire Regent’s Canal walk here are some of our favourite sections you can walk instead:
- Little Venice to Lord’s Cricket Ground, and eventually joining Regent’s Park
- Regent’s Park to Camden Lock Market, along London Zoo’s aviary and Primrose Hill
- King’s Cross (Granary Square) to Hackney (Broadway Market). Note: the Jubilee Greenway path stops at the Islington Tunnel, where you’ll need to walk through the streets of Angel and re-join the canal. Simply follow the Jubilee Greenway marks on the ground and you won’t get lost!
Use the Regent’s Canal walk map below to plan your own route:
Have you done any of the Regent’s Canal walk before? Do you know of any other hidden gems in London? Let me know, I’d love to discover more special places like this one! If you really loved our post, please leave us a comment, pin some photos and show us some love on social media using the buttons below
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I’ve walked the section behind Kings Cross station where there was a great bookshop on a boat. It really is a beautiful part of London – need to go back and walk more of it! Great map – hadn’t realised how far it stretched. Great blog and loved the photos as always!
Thank you Jane! x
I love this part of London so much! I really like going to the Dishoom bear King’s Cross and when I’m up that way I love a walk around this area – it’s always so chilled and a complete different vibe to the rest of London 🙂
I agree, you would never expect to have such a chilled area in the middle of London!
I used to LOVE walking around here. I miss it so much!
It’s such a hidden gem, I love it too! x
How wonderful the walk you just took me on. Thoroughly enjoyed it. Great post. Thank you
What a lovely comment, thank you Lyn!
I love Regent’s Canal Walk – I didn’t even realise it was there until a few months ago! It doesn’t even feel like you’re in London which is so nice x
I love it, it’s one of these hidden gems that you need to explore! x
I love walking along the Regent’s Canal and will quite often walk along the section between Camden Town and King’s Cross. I stop at Limehouse Basin but have not passed through that section up to Hackney and Islington. Another favourite part is from St John’s Wood up to Paddington passing through Little Venice. I definitely agree with you that it’s a hidden gem and is great to explore in summer and to visit the cafés on the barges!
Thank you so much for your comment! The section up to Hackney and Islington is really nice too, with much less people than the western sections! Definitely walk up there when you get the chance 🙂
What a wonderful find in London! I never had even heard of this, but hopefully we can get it in some day. Originally being from the Netherlands, I LOVE water.
Thanks for sharing!
Karen | https://OurCarpeDiem.com
Amazing! You should absolutely have a little walk along the Regent’s Canal next time you are in London 🙂 Thank you for leaving a comment!
I love London!! Will definitely pay a visit when I go again. Thank you for sharing this!!!!
Thank you so much!
Looks like an amazing place for a walk. 🙂
It sure is! 🙂
This is a completely different side to London that I’ve never seen before! I definitely need to get myself down there for a bit of exploring ASAP. You’ve made it so easy with the handy map too, amazing post! xx
El // Welsh Wanderer
This is amazing, thank you so much! I really hope you get to explore this beautiful side of London soon! x
I have just walked Regents Canal as part of a sponsored half marathon. It was lovely and I have vowed to return at a slower pace. I will look at some of your suggestions when I do. Great review!
Hi Kristie, thanks so much for leaving a comment! It’s great to hear that you’ve run a half marathon along the canal, that’s amazing! Walking it gives you a more relaxed perspective, but equally amazing nevertheless x
Wow what a hidden gem in London, I love how they do canyoning
in the middle of London. I love canals, such a marvellous place.
Thank you for the comment! It’s certainly a great way to relax in the middle of London x
Thanks for sharing, I did a little bit of the walk around Granary Square, as I went to Kings Cross Station to go to nthe Harry Potter shop 🙂
Nic | Nic’s Adventures & Bakes
Granary Square is really nice to walk around, and much less busy than King’s Cross itself. Have you checked Word on the Water? It’s a bookshop on a boat on the actual canal! Definitely worth checking out next time you’re around x
I love Regents Canal, I’ve walked along it quite a few times! It’s so picturesque and there are so many restaurants and cafes along the route!
Same! It’s also great if you want to go for a run – the breeze along the canal makes the run so much nicer! x