Canal Walk London – from Little Venice to Paddington Basin
Our one-month long massive vacation in India was action-packed with meeting family and friends and then some more family and then some more friends. All through that one month we were constantly surrounded by people. So coming back to London, where it is mostly just the three of us, was a bit difficult to adjust to.
Once back, for the first couple of days, all I could do was sing ‘tujhe sab hai pata hai na ma’ relentlessly even though the song kept making me sob. I was in no mood to do house chores or read or even go for a run. Little B was waiting for her school to open up and Mr B and I were waiting to go back to work. To wait for things to happen is hard, but to wait for things to happen while one is homesick is cruel.
So we decided that we must head out to stop all this nostalgic moaning. London is an amazing city and we believed it would be able to cheer us up. And within half-an-hour, we decided to go for a canal walk London from Little Venice to Paddington Basin.
There are multiple Tube stations that are located at walking distance from Little Venice (Warwick Avenue, Edgware Road, Royal Oak, Maida Vale and Paddington), the closest one being Warwick Avenue which is under 5 minutes of walk away.
As we stepped out of the Warwick Avenue Tube station and walked towards the canal, we knew we were in for a treat. Strolling on the pedestrian island in the middle of a wide tree-lined road with stuccoed houses on either side and a warm sun shining on us, it seemed so much unlike London and yet quintessential London.
Canal walk London from Little Venice to Paddington Basin
It was Regent’s Canal right up ahead. One look at it and I felt quite happy with our decision to visit this place. With houseboats moored on either side, the part sunny and part shaded canal looked picturesque.
We strolled in the area along the canal and reached the coveted triangular oasis known as Little Venice. This is the spot where Regent’s Canal meets the Paddington arm of the Grand Union Canal. The water had a small island inhabited by willows and wildfowl which gave the canal a distinct character.
The waterway wasn’t particularly busy; however, barges were constantly going to and fro. There were waterside cafes, canal and river cruise boats and even London Waterbus which takes passengers to and from Little Venice to London Zoo and Camden Lock Market. There were other barges going out and about their daily businesses.
It was quite calming just being there and watching the boats drift by. And then I learnt that there is actually a word for what I was doing – gongoozling! Can you believe that there is a word for enjoying watching boats go by on the canals of the UK!
Water in the canal was covered with duckweed. Duckweed isn’t welcomed at the canals here in London; Canal & River Trust is always trying to get rid of duckweed because of the problems it creates for aquatic wildlife. However, I felt that the water weed made the scenery even more special. Imagine tiny leaves floating gently on the water as if there’s a soft carpet covering the canal. It all looked charming indeed.
Little Venice is often referred to as London’s hidden gem and I couldn’t agree more. The place was quaint, perfect to take a lazy day stroll on. However, even on a weekend it wasn’t crowded.
You can find more things to do at Little Venice in the TimeOut’s area guide here – Little Venice area guide.
After passing Little Venice, we kept strolling along the canal towards the Paddington Basin. There were towpaths and bridges all along the canal to make wandering aimlessly even better.
Walking along the Regent’s Canal and Little Venice was like walking through primarily residential area. Walking along canal towards Paddington Basin was rather commercial. There were modern office complexes on either side. There was a little floating market at the basin with barges selling art, soaps and cakes.
I wished if I was working at one of the offices at Paddington Basin, I would have taken up gongoozling as a hobby. And while on my way to and from work, there would have been plenty to see and click.
LittleB found a fishing cage, so of course we spend some time exploring it!
Towards the end of the Paddington Basin, near the Paddington Central station, we also found a Paddington Bear flocked in blue as part of the Paddington Bear trail.
Canal walk London from Little Venice to Paddington Basin is for days when you are tired of the hustle and bustle of London and need something to rewind. This laidback corner can help you loosen up and chill. It might even be able to lift up your spirits even on the gloomiest of London days.
What is the place in your city that you prefer going to when you want to unwind and chill? Or does unwinding to you mean chilling in your PJs and watching an old favourite movie? Let me know in the comments below!
Here are some places that families can visit to make the most out of London –
Canal Walk London from Little Venice to Paddington Basin (you just read this one!)
New to London? Do you need some help getting started here? Have a look at this article – Hunting for a House and School in London. If you need more pointers, drop me a message below.