Regents Canal ride as an alternative to overcrowded beer garden

Permanent dwellings at Little Venice

One thing Camden Town can be sure of is being overrun with tourists on a  sunny weekend, no problem, I love it, it’s why I live there, but trying to find a table in a good spot outside to watch the world go by is a challenge.   So whilst wandering around watching everyone take up prime seating around Camden Lock watching the barges manoeuvre through the lock system, we decided to book ourselves on a canal ride instead.  For approx £9.50 you get a 90 minute ride on the boat which take you to Little Venice and back, you can go one way an depart at Little Venice, but why bother as you’ve only got to come back as Camden trumps Little Venice in every department.

We decanted some cider into some Lucozade bottles (don’t worry, we did have some empties already, they weren’t fished out of the canal), and sat ourselves down for a pleasant ride.    We booked ourselves on the Jenny Wren who run a few trips a day, the entrance to these boats are just before the bridge over the lock, inside the Veggie cafe Inspiral.

I think this is one of the best tours as it appears to be the only one that begins before the lock system so you enter the lock itself and wait as you slowly emerge to street level to be met with an audience of shutter snapping tourists and drinkers lining up the canal side bars.   From what I can tell the other boat companies start after this lock system, so they miss this part entirely, and it is a feature of the tour as your host enthusiastically delivers a history lesson on your scenario.

The commentary was excellent, delivered by our guide with genuine affection for the area and its history, and having done this trip before, there was a much more personal touch she gave, she may not be there long as she was pregnant but did a sterling job in perching herself on the edge of the boat regaling us with tales of a bygone era.

Birds nesting on a houseboat flexing their squatters rights

The boat continues it’s trip through Regents Park, this is of course a journey you can and should make by foot aswell, but with less time on your hands and the need for an onboard toilet, this is the best bet for today.  There are glimpses of some of the animals of London Zoo, you can walk the perimeter of the zoo and see many more too.  You continue through dark damp tunnels emerging into the bright light later in wonder how workers on the canals managed this trip so long ago with their heavy load, you travel past many houseboat communities where they pay as much a month for mooring that we do on our brick and mortar homes.  Eventually arriving in Little Venice for a circle round the small island which is home to many birds and then your journey returns back to Camden.

I know this journey well as it is more or less the same as my cycle to work, so there is nothing new for my eyes, though the stories the guide tells you are fascinating, maybe my friends got more from it, I never asked, but it’s a more than pleasant way to spend 90 minutes.   As I mention before, I don’t see the appeal of disembarking at Little Venice as there is little there, a couple of pubs, really not much else.

Where did I put that stool?

We arrive back in Camden, this time descending down into the lock as the slightly more inebriated faces of the pubgoers we left behind disappear from view.

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  1. When did you start your blog?


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