Planning to take a boat trip down Regent’s Canal? That’s a fantastic activity to experience in London! Here I tell you everything about the Little Venice to Camden boat trip, and why it’s your best option to glide along the canal.
London has many fun things to do to experience the city from a different perspective, and taking a boat trip down Regent’s Canal is one you shouldn’t miss.
The Little Venice to Camden Boat Trip, operated by the iconic Little Venice waterbus company, is the perfect way to travel between these beautiful areas, and a great way to spend some quiet time away from the hustle and bustle of the city while still enjoying its best sights, so you don’t miss the opportunity of discovering London even on the way to your next adventure.
Cruising the Canal will transport you to a bygone era, and during the trip you’ll learn about the history of the canals, that goes back to 1800 and enjoy incredible views that can only be seen from the water. You’ll also be able to spot some interesting landmarks along the way, like Regent’s Park and the London Zoo.
The Regent’s Canal boat trip lasts 45 minutes, and it’s a great idea to take it after your morning visit to Little Venice, so you can relax after wandering around and take in the beautiful scenery before your exploration of Camden Town begins. The activity is so popular that there are countless Little Venice Canal trips departing all the time; regardless, make sure you secure your spot ahead of time.
If you’re already in Camden you can take the Camden to Little Venice Boat Trip; it’s the same experience in the opposite direction.
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A brief history of Regent’s Canal
Regent’s Canal takes its name after the Prince Regent, later King George IV, and it was originally built to link the Paddington branch of the Grand Junction Canal with the River Thames.
The idea was first introduced by Thomas Honer in 1802 but it wasn’t until it became part of the redevelopment plan of Central-North London that the project was carried out. Renowned architect John Nash had transformed Henry VIII’s former hunting ground into Regent’s Park a few years earlier, and since Regent’s Canal runs through the northern edge of the park, it was included in the scheme.
The first section of the Canal, from Paddington to Camden Town, opened in 1816, and the Canal was completed in 1820, costing a total of £772,000 , twice the original expenditure budget.
Regent’s Canal, 13.8 kilometers (8.6 miles) long, played a fundamental role during the industrial revolution, increasing the influence London had over the rest of Great Britain. However, with the construction of railways in North London most of the Canal’s traffic was taken, and in 1940 attempts were made to turn the Canal into railways.
Those attempts didn’t succeed, and after the last commercial traffic was made in 1956, the Canal became a place of leisure and tranquility for Londoners and visitors alike that is enjoyed and cherished to this day.
Things to see along the Regent’s Canal
Regent’s Canal starts in Little Venice, with its picturesque collection of boats, and offers a myriad of beautiful sights all the way to the Docklands, where the Canal meets the Thames River.
As you embark on your Little Venice boat ride down London’s Regent’s Canal, you’ll pass through Browning’s Pool, named after the poet Robert Browning who lived nearby and who, according to some, was the first person to refer to the area as Little Venice.
You’ll then pass the 249-meter Maida Hill Tunnel and continue gliding through the Canal towards Regent’s Park, where you’ll have the chance to see this architectural masterpiece from a unique viewpoint. With its lakes, rose gardens and playing fields, Regent’s Park has been called ‘the jewel in the crown’ for a reason, and seeing it from its namesake canal is an experience like no other.
The London Waterbus boat from Little Venice to Camden also passes by the grounds of the London Zoo, where you’ll be able to spot the warthogs and African hunting dogs that spend the day in a canal-side enclosure, and catch a glimpse of Lord Snowdon’s Aviary.
In front of Regent’s Park you’ll see Primrose Hill, known as the Celebrity Village because many well-known actors and personalities used to live (or still live) there, such as Jude Law, Kate Moss or Boris Johnson.
On your London’s canal boat trip you’ll also be able to see the landscaped gardens of grand houses, most of them used by ambassadors or visiting diplomats.
North London has so much to offer, and traveling from Little Venice to Camden by boat is one of the best things to do in the area, one that enables you to marvel at your surroundings but also enjoy the sensation of gliding through the water among ducks, fellow boats and through eerie, dark canals for a complete experience. BOOK IT HERE
A brief guide to Little Venice, London
Located in London’s Maida Vale, Little Venice is the place where Regent’s Canal converges with the Grand Union Canal, and you can easily forget that you’re in hectic London while seeing its colorful narrowboats and the lush greenery that surrounds the area, adding to its charm.
Little Venice is a must on your visit to London, and here’s some practical info to get the most out of it!
How to Get to Little Venice, London
By Tube: Little Venice nearest tube station is Warwick Avenue, just a five minute walk from Maida Avenue. Royal Oak underground station and Edgware Road are also a short walk’s distance from Little Venice, about ten and fifteen minutes respectively.
By Train: London Paddington Station is only a ten minute walk from Little Venice.
By Bus: Lines 18, 187, 414, 46 have stops in Little Venice.
By Car: There’s no parking in Little Venice, but you can park near Paddington Station or any of the tube stations, as you’ll find several parking options a few minutes’ walk from Maida Avenue.
If you’re traveling by public transport and can spare some extra time, it’s a good idea to get off the tube/bus/train a couple of stops early and walk, so you can take in more of this gorgeous part of London.
Things To Do in Little Venice
Little Venice is one of the most beautiful places in North-London, and has many interesting activities for you to do:
➤ Walk around Rembrandt Park in search of the perfect picnic spot. The park overlooks Regent’s Canal and it’s a beautiful open space to hang out among the ornamental beds and shrubs as you make your way along the towpath. If you’re going with kids, don’t forget to take some corn or oats to feed the ducks!
➤ Get tickets to the Puppet Theatre Barge, the perfect place to watch a string marionette floating performance. It’s been running for 40 years and it’s the only UK’s floating puppet theatre. Tickets cost £5 and it’s a really fun plan if you’re going with children.
➤ Visit the Cascade Floating Art Gallery for a cultural injection. You’ll be able to see the Canal through the windows as you scan the art on the inside!
➤ Catch a Comedy Show at the Canal Café Theatre for some laughter. The theatre is also home to the awarded NewsRevue show, a mix of satirical news-based songs and sketches that runs four times a week and which has the Guiness World Record for the ‘longest theatrical run of a comedy’.
➤ Stay on the lookout for wildlife: you’ll see anything from swans to greylag and egyptian geese, fish swimming in the canal and as many duck species as you can think of.
➤ Head to Maida Avenue and walk around the beautiful tree-lined streets with the grand houses and mansions providing a stunning backdrop for your stroll.
➤ Take a Waterbus Little Venice boat to Camden and relax while enjoying the beautiful scenery on your Regent’s Canal boat ride.
➤ If you fancy staying the night in Little Venice, check out the floating hotel for a different experience.
Where to Eat in Little Venice
There are many Little Venice restaurants to choose from, but some options stand out from the rest for their wonderful location or menu. Here’s a list of the best choices you can pick from:
Waterside Cafe: Situated right next to the canal, this Little Venice cafe provides great views while you enjoy breakfast or a light lunch. It also offers cream teas, coffee and cakes all day long.
The Little Venice Waterway has a sibling restaurant called The Summerhouse that you can check out for their seafood menu, also situated by the banks of the canal.
The Bridge House: If you’re looking for the best Little Venice pubs, then check this one out. It’s one of the most popular in the area, and depending on the weather you can opt for the waterside terrace or the decorated interior. The Bridge House has vegetarian and vegan options, and offers a selection of ales, beers and wine for those wanting to break the day’s sightseeing with a drink.
The Bridge House shares the building with Canal Café Theatre, so it’s a great spot for a snack before or after the show.
Cafe Laville: This Italian Restaurant is the best choice if you’re in the mood for pizza or pasta, but they also offer a selection of coffee, breakfasts and afternoon tea with spectacular views of the Regent’s Canal. It’s also the best Little Venice pizzeria you’ll find.
If you don’t want to research the local eateries and would like a straightforward recommendation to eat in Little Venice, The Waterway is your best bet.
A brief guide to Camden Town
How to Get to Camden Town
The best option is to take a boat from Little Venice to Camden, or walk the Little Venice to Camden distance, but if you’d rather take the boat from Camden to Little Venice instead, here’s how you can get to Camden Town:
By Tube: The nearest tube station is Camden Town (Northern Line). Chalk Farm and Mornington Crescent are also good options nearby.
By Train: Camden Road station.
By Bus: You can get to Camden from London’s West End via bus routes 24, 29 and 134.
Best Things to do in Camden Town
➤ Visit Camden Market: Camden is an artsy and creative hub, and this vibrant, quirky market is probably the most famous in London and one of the best activities to do in the area; definitely something you don’t want to miss.
Camden Market prides itself in being able to offer ‘something unique and unusual for everybody’, and it proves it with a labyrinth of stores comprising four different markets: Camden Lock Village, Camden Lock Market, The Stables Market and Buck Street Village.
With over 1000 shops and stalls selling crafts, clothing, street food from all over the world as well as art, music, books and jewelry, you’re sure to spend a good part of your visit in Camden lost in the endless open-air markets browsing for the most original souvenir to take with you.
Beware shopaholics! You’re likely to never want to leave: there’s that much to see.
Camden Market is one of London’s most popular weekend attractions, so if you’re not a big fan of crowds I highly suggest going on a weekday. The Market opens everyday from 10AM to 6PM including bank holidays (though these days get busy!) The Market only remains closed on Christmas Day, so if you want to get your holiday presents there, be sure to get them beforehand!
Need yet another excuse to visit? Personalities who have shopped at the Market include Eric Clapton, Paul McCartney, Bob Dylan, Mick Jagger, Barbara Streisand and Naomi Campbell, and 28 million people come here every year. Sounds like enough to give it a chance, right?
➤ Take a Camden Street Art Tour: Camden is filled with street art and graffiti; from Amy Winehouse’s art pieces to famous artist Ben Wilson’s chewing gum art, there’s something for everyone. You can walk around trying to spot them on your own, or take a Street Art Tour if you’re interested in finding the best pieces and want to learn more about them.
Street art usually hides a deeper meaning to it, so it’s a good idea to check them out with an expert to completely take them in. If you just want to find the prettiest one to take a snap, that’s perfectly fine! Places like Hawley Street, Castlehaven Road and Kentish Town Road are some of the street art hotspots in Camden.
And if after your graffiti hunt you’re left wanting for more, you can always head to Cob Gallery to check out the work of emerging London-based artists.
➤ Visit the British Library: Hold on, I’m not sending you to study on your Camden itinerary. The British Library has much more to see than books, from handwritten Beatles lyrics (if you’re a fan, you can’t miss this!) to Leonardo da Vinci’s notebook, the Magna Carta and Shakespeare’s first folio. There are over 150 million items in the British Library, and most of them are kept underground, but between the free temporary exhibitions and the main area of the Library you’re likely to be busy for a while.
If you are into books, check out King George III’ library and the Diamond Sutra, the world’s earliest dated printed book that’s exhibited there.
➤ Hang out at Camden Beach for a day in the sun: No, I didn’t mix articles with one from Thailand nor confused the destination. There is a beach in the midst of London where you can bury your feet in the sand during the summer.
It’s a man-made beach located in Roundhouse, made with over 150 tonnes of sand, and lots of music festivals and events are planned throughout the festival months, so it’s a great opportunity to forget you’re in the city and dance around as if you were in the Caribbean coast.
➤ Visit the Jewish Museum: The Jewish Museum London offers a glimpse into the history of Jewish people in Britain, their life and heritage.
There are permanent collections representing migration, culture and faith and a selection of temporary exhibits. The museum is a great opportunity to learn more about the Jewish traditions and its people.
➤ Go to Primrose Hill: If your sight of Primrose Hill from the boat trip didn’t suffice your curiosity (warning: it’ll probably happen) you can walk over there from Camden Town and check out the spectacular city views it offers, as well as the the pretty pastel-colored houses and trendy shops you’ll find on its main street. You can also try to guess which houses are owned by famous people!
➤ Take your kids to the Pirate Castle: If you’re doing this trip with your children, taking them to the Pirate Castle is a great idea for the whole family! You can enjoy a wide range of water-based activities and take a break from all the walking around. You’re likely to have as much fun as you did on your Camden boat ride.
➤ Head to Camden Lock: Stroll along Camden High Street, checking out the colorful and quirky stores as you make your way toward Regent’s Canal Camden Lock to end your afternoon watching the Camden to Little Venice boats slide by in this emblematic part of town. If you want to take a boat trip to Little Venice, this is the place to be.
➤ Nightlife: If night-time falls upon you while you’re still in Camden, don’t worry! There are plenty of fun options to experience Camden Town after the sun sets. From pub-crawling to dancing at a club or watching a live show at Koko, the music venue, you’re in for a good time.
Where to Eat in Camden Town
Camden Market is the best place to grab a bite and something to drink while you shop around, but if you like to sit down and enjoy a proper meal in between your wandering, here are the best places to eat in Camden:
Pub options with great food include The Lock Tavern, an excellent place for burgers and tacos; Lockside if you’re in the mood for brunch, and The Camden Eye, located right next to Camden Town station, for quick bites and pizzas.
If you’re into international food there are countless possibilities, so unless you’re good with whatever you find first, don’t wait until you’re hungry to start looking!
Italian Food: Purezza is the place to satisfy all your italian craving, from sourdough pizzas to gelato, you have it all. Beware if you’re in the mood for bacon on your pizza, because it’s a Vegan Restaurant. Gluten-free requirements? No worries, they can make that happen!