For anybody who lives around the canal in London a trip along the cut offers a splendid alternative to the usual traffic-choked streets of the Big Smoke. The London Waterbus Company has been offering this service for years, shuttling passengers between Little Venice and Camden Market, with stops in between for those who wish to get out early. For those who wish to go further, there’s also a free go-boat water taxi service from Merchant Square by the floating pocket park to Bishops Bridge by the entrance to Paddington Station. They offer the service Monday-Friday from 12 noon till 2pm between April and October.
The London Waterbus plies its trade along the Regent’s Canal, which was opened in 1820 to cut through the heart of London, connecting the Grand Union at Little Venice with the Thames at Limehouse. The canal was a belated but vital addition to the national waterways network, as it gave boats a fast and direct link to the London docks. The Regent’s Canal passes through some fascinating parts of London, travelling through East London and Hackney through Islington, and King’s Cross to Camden and then on to Little Venice. It’s increasingly become a space for walkers and cyclists, but there’s also a very busy life on the water, with many floating traders and houseboats.
The London Waterbus Company travels the lock-free portion of the canal between the pool at Little Venice and Camden. Little Venice is one of the prettiest parts of the London canal system, and has numerous attractions including floating cafes and a puppet theatre, while Camden Lock offers all the bustle of the street market. The boat also stops at the midway point of London Zoo, which has its own pontoon allowing visitors to get off and explore on foot – you can get combined tickets that cover both the zoo entrance fee and the water bus fare. There is plenty to see and do at all three locations, and London Waterbus offers a great way of getting to all three destinations.
Canal & River Trust