An 8.6-mile waterway carving across North London, Regent's Canal offers London guests and locals a unique path for traveling from Paddington Basin to Limehouse Basin. Dating back to 1820, the canal today serves as a quiet conduit for bikers, boaters, and curious strollers taking in highlights that range from a floating bookstore to the London Zoo.
Take a Tour by Kayak
See London from a different perspective by gliding along the water in a kayak. A 90-minute guided excursion with London Kayak Tours takes in all the major sights along Regent's Canal, including Camden Town, London Zoo, Little Venice, and Regent's Park. Led by British Canoe Union instructors, the tours are suitable for all levels of experience, including children 9 and over.
This picturesque corner of London lies at the point where the Regent's Canal meets the Grand Union Canal. The waterways here are lined with colorful narrowboats and you can hop between cafes, bars, and restaurants at the water's edge. Beautiful Regency-style houses with wrought-iron balconies and bow windows line the area streets.
Dine at a Floating Chinese Restaurant
Tuck into dishes like wasabi prawn dumplings and crispy Peking duck in the quirky surroundings of Feng Shang Princess, a floating restaurant in the Cumberland Basin of the Regent's Canal. This converted narrowboat was handcrafted in the 1980s and is decked out with authentic Chinese-style interiors. It's said to be one of Paul McCartney's favorite Chinese restaurants.
Shop for Books in a Converted Barge
Word on the Water is London's only floating bookshop. It's stuffed full of affordable books and hosts live music and poetry events up on the roof of a restored 1920s Dutch barge. After several years of rotating locations, it was moored permanently in 2017 at Granary Square near King's Cross Station.
Cruise Aboard a Traditional Narrowboat
Ride the gentle waters of the Regent's Canal on a traditional narrowboat between Little Venice and Camden. The London Waterbus runs a regular service throughout the year (weekends only during the winter months) and the 50-minute journey sails past elegant waterfront mansions and through the Maida Hill tunnel. You can also buy a London Zoo ticket that includes a boat ride into the zoo itself as the boats have access to a canal gate right inside the attraction.
Sip Cocktails at East London Liquor Company
Hipsters flock to this former glue factory-turned-spirits distillery at the edge of Victoria Park to sniff whiskeys and sip craft cocktails. Just off Regent's Canal on the Hertford Union Canal, East London Liquor Company serves artisan drinks made with its own brands of gin, vodka, rum, and whiskey. Swing by for a potent drink or to learn about boozy botanicals with a tour and a tasting.
Watch a Puppet Show on a Barge
The Puppet Theatre Barge is an intimate playhouse in a converted barge in Little Venice. The 55-seat venue was founded in 1978 by the Movingstage theatre company and moved to Little Venice in 1986. It puts on regular puppet shows for children and adults between October and July and is moored in Richmond between July and September.
Learn About London's Waterways
The history of London's waterways is the focus of the London Canal Museum. Explore inside a narrowboat and learn about the people who have lived and worked on the canals throughout the years. The museum building used to be a warehouse that stored ice for an ice cream maker and dates to 1862. The museum runs regular Tunnel Trips, a guided narrowboat tour of Islington's long canal tunnel.
Explore Buzzy Granary Square
A hopping canalside hub near King's Cross Station, Granary Square features over 1,000 choreographed fountains that dance throughout the day and are lit up at night. The square is home to a number of hip restaurants including Caravan, an industrial-chic spot that serves brilliant brunches, and Dishoom, a Bombay-style restaurant that dishes up Indian street food. In the summer months, the steps leading down to the canal are carpeted to provide a comfy seating area. Regular events take place in the square throughout the year.
See a Spectacular Moving Bridge
Just off the Regent's Canal in Paddington Basin, the Rolling Bridge is a striking bridge with an innovative design that allows it to curl up into an octagonal shape. Created by British designer Thomas Heatherwick, the bridge is made of eight triangular sections that can roll up into an octagonal ball in order to let boats through. It's unfurled for people to walk across on Wednesdays and Fridays around midday and Saturday at 2 p.m.