Looking for the best canal walks in London?
With over 100 miles of canals and towpaths in the capital, savour your surroundings and reconnect with nature as you ditch the bustling city streets for tranquil waterways. We’re encouraging the novice walkers and the seasoned stompers to enjoy some of the more exciting outdoor places London has to offer, and they’re not that far from your doorstep.
Having looked east to west, and north to south of this great city, we’ve found a selection of the best London canal walking routes to enjoy. So, what are you waiting for? Let’s get walking.
Little Venice to Camden
- Distance: 2.3 miles
- Estimated walking time: 50 minutes
- Nearest transport to the start: Warwick Avenue (Tube)
Kicking off our list of canal walks in London, the Little Venice to Camden route is a favourite shared by many. This popular walk begins in London’s own Little Venice, a district and picturesque neighbourhood located just North of Paddington. Even before you’ve begun your walk, bask in the glowing ambience of this peaceful oasis filled with charming restaurants, waterside pubs and cosy cafes.
As you head west along the canal, embark on an exciting adventure towards Camden and witness the wonders along this route. As you pass through architectural excellence, the canal breaks off to a selection of attractions such as the London Zoo, Regent’s Park, and Primrose Hill where you can catch spectacular views of London’s skyline.
However, the true magic of this canal stretch is much closer than you realise. Reflections from narrow and wide-beam boats, anchored to the sides of the canal banks, fill the glassy water tops with colour. Cafes and pubs tactically positioned along the walk make for a much-needed pit stop. And if you’re looking for a bit of history, check out the Blow Up Bridge on your way. Walking this canal route is the perfect way to pass a few hours.
At the end of your walk, enjoy the wonders of Camden, including the famous Camden Markets where you can grab a souvenir to remember your excellent day.
The Limehouse Cut
- Distance: 1.4 miles
- Estimated walking time: 30 minutes
- Nearest transport to the start: Limehouse (Tube)
The Limehouse Cut is the oldest canal in the capital. It was one of the earliest canals in England, and the first navigable canal to be dug in London, dating back to around 1770. Covering a distance of 1,4 miles, the canal is largely straight as it meets Bow Locks before turning off in the River Lea. Although many historic buildings lined the Limehouse Cut during the industrialisation of London, most were destroyed by bombing during the Second World War.
However, the canal’s towpaths entice walkers and cyclists to explore a recently regenerated area of East London. Along this route, you will find passage into Ropemakers Field, Bartlett Park, a minute walk to Furze Green, and a short walk to Chrisp Street Market.
When navigating this tranquil canal setting, expect to enjoy spectacular bank side views, while sharing the waterways with plenty of wildlife including resident swans, ducks, and geese. During your walk, you’ll join hikers, dog walkers and the occasional cyclist right up until the canal passes under the A12.
Limehouse Basin to Victoria Park (via Regent’s Canal)
- Distance: 2 miles
- Estimated walking time: 40 minutes
- Nearest transport to the start: Limehouse (Tube)
Like the Limehouse Cut, the Regent’s Canal runs from the Limehouse Basin, but heads walkers in the direction of Victoria Park. The largest park in Tower Hamlets, Victoria Park is one of the most visited green spaces in London; attracting approximately nine million visitors every year.
Along the route, there are a handful of attractions to see and do, and a whole heap of history to explore in one of the earliest built suburbs of the City of London. Shortly after leaving the Limehouse Basin, the canal passes Mile End Park, Mile End Lock, and Queen Mary University. Take in the residential surrounding and leafy green parks before reaching Booner Gate which signals you’ve reached your destination. Don’t forget to check out the Pavillion Cafe at the end of your journey.
The Limehouse Basin to Victoria Park route is another tranquil walk and one that often attracts both locals and tourists to its banks.
The Paddington Arm
- Distance: 13.6 miles
- Estimated walking time: 4 hours
- Nearest transport to the start: Hayes & Harlington Train Station
Stretching 13.6 miles, The Paddington Arm of the Grand Union Canal runs west from Bull’s Bridge in Hayes to Paddington Basin in Central London. Opened in 1801, the canal is now home to a thriving community of pubs, bars, trendy cafes, and fine dining restaurants. On land, the canal’s banks run alongside a number of different industrial estates and residential buildings, while the marinas dotted along the canal support London’s communities of those living on narrowboats.
Along this route, there are many sights to be seen, for instance, when passing through towards Royal park you will catch Wembley Stadium in the distance. Elsewhere, walkers can peer on the Dawoodi Bohra Mosque, Horsenden Hill, the North Circular Aqueduct, and Ballot Box Bridge.
The Paddington Arm is one of the more exciting canal passes in London and serves as a great place to escape the city to clear your mind for the entire day.
Regent’s Canal Walk
- Distance: 9 miles
- Estimated walking time: 3 hours
- Starting point: Little Venice
Tiptoeing through one of London’s favourite canal routes from Little Venice to the River Thames, the Regent’s Canal walk is a waterside spectacle for both walkers, cyclists and everyone in between. Spanning just over nine miles in length, the calm waterways are best enjoyed at a relaxed pace while recharging your batteries after busy periods in the city.
Cutting right through Central London without the hassle of busy city streets, the Regent’s Canal walk is perhaps one of London’s best-kept secrets. The route passes through 12 locks and a handful of London’s famous landmarks including Camden Lock, St Pancras, and King’s Cross.
Although the walk should take you approximately three hours to complete, we highly recommend opting for refreshing pit stops along the way at one of the many pubs located on the canal sides. Upon reaching the Limehouse Basin, at the end of this walk, continue on to enjoy the waters of the River Thames.
Indulge in a slower pace at Dolphin Square
There is no denying that London is filled with adventure around every corner. It’s just waiting for you to discover it. With the help of this guide, you’ll explore some of London’s beautiful waterways to truly make the most of your time in the capital.
And if you need a place to stay, we’ve got just what you’re looking for. Find out more about our serviced apartments located in the heart of the city and just a stone's throw away from your favourite canal walks.