Step after step – London Canal Towpaths

If you’ve ever had an injury preventing you from doing the things you like to do then you will understand the forces that drive me, and you might have some sympathy for my attempts to try and find a silver lining.

IMG_5324While I am working to get rid of the back pain that’s been preventing me from running or cycling, walking has been the main go-to (pun intended!) for some outlet and outdoors exposure. The ideal would be the real outdoors for some green horizons and fresh air, but a city dweller sometimes has to get creative. So in my search for some exploring I again resorted to the Londonist Tube map of walks – this time tackling a section of the Canal Towpaths.


Regent’s Park

Street art, ZSL London Zoo’s African Wild Dog and some Canal sights nearby Regent’s Park

I caught the first sight of the canals on the side of Regent’s Park just a few roundabouts away from the Lord’s Cricket ground. The moment you leave the street level and get closer to the water, it takes an effort to convince yourself you are in the same London you just left up the steps.

The route winds itself on the outer edge of Regent’s Park, past beautiful gigantic houses with elaborate gardens and past more recent infrastructure covered with graffiti tags and a few more thought out street art pieces. But of course the biggest treat of this stretch for me is the bit that passes the ZSL London Zoo. And what do you know – some of the animals were awake to say hello!

Boats, sights and art along the canal

Camden Town

If you’ve been to London for more than a weekend break, you will know that a visit to Camden Town on a Saturday afternoon is to be avoided or at least should be carefully planned 🙂

More art, boats, crowds and even a pirate castle this time!

There’s plenty to be gained if you have a goal when you are there, but it will not serve you well if you are after a relaxing wander. The route up to Camden Town was lovely and after a quick-ish escape of the main bedlam of a market it’s relatively easy to rejoin the towpaths. There’s a closed off section around Camden Town currently because of some  construction works , but it is easy enough to catch the trail again. There’s a map where the trail stops which points to the continuation.

As Camden Town is left rumbling behind the view reveals some spaceship looking blocks of flats and then winds around various iterations of flats and houses none of which left any impression on my untrained eye. Apart from the well timed pub stop at The Constitution for some well earned Six Nations Rugby action. But we won’t speak of that too much!

St Pancras and Haggerston

The stretch past St Pancras offers a lovely sight of the St Pancras lock with some snoozy out of season disco boats parked up until the next party and lovely spring flowers on the banks. Further up there are detours to cafes and bars, and on the canal there are two adjacent boats – one with books and another with vintage clothes. What lovely neighbours! I love reading good books in historic hats. But that’s a story for another time.

St Pancras lock and surrounding area

With daylight swiftly fading Angel and Islington floats by and then it’s just the search for the nearest station left. Can’t risk offending the inevitable cyclist in the Shoreditch area trying to navigate a narrow path between the wall and the water in the scarce light of dusk so a prompt departure from the trail is due for the day. To be continued for sure and more adventures to be had.

As ever, suggestions of trails and other means of keeping sane are welcome!

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