Jo’s Monday walk : Regent’s Canal


You might remember that last week I left Judith from London Walks standing beside Hampstead Road Lock.  We were about to plunge into the cornucopia of wonder and excitement that is Camden Market.  Why don’t you come with us?

Judith in the midst of the market

Judith in the midst of the market

It's all about the stables!

It’s all about the stables!

One of the things that I hadn’t been aware of on my previous visits to Camden Market was the existence of The Stables.  Possibly because I am more drawn to the canal than to market stalls.

Before the advent of the motor car, all of London relied on horse drawn carriages for transport.  A huge number of stables were required to house these horses.  Many were associated with the canal trade, and The Stables Market is located in Pickford’s, the hauliers, former stables and the Grade II listed Horse Hospital.  The latter served sick and injured horses which pulled the distribution vans and barges.  The scale of the enterprise can be seen in this excerpt from Camden Railway Heritage Trust.

Today the vaulted arches have been transformed into a number of chic sales units and some of the former stalls are now a party venue.  The power of the bronze horse sculptures dominate the market in a way that is hard to capture. Despite the crowds that regularly throng the area and the numerous fast food outlets, I would urge you to seek them out if you’re in the area.

One of many proud horse sculptures

One of many proud horse sculptures

The Stables Market

The Stables Market

A moving tableau of horses

A moving tableau of horses

I could have stayed taking photos in The Stables Market all day, but the tour was coming swiftly to an end.  I just had time to snatch a last couple of shots.

When I reluctantly left Judith, I hoped to catch the Waterbus for the next stage of my journey, to Little Venice.  At 1pm the food stalls were all heaving and as I shrugged my way through them, I realised that the crew of the Waterbus had also declared lunch hour.  But the sun was still on my shoulder, and the lure of the towpath simply too strong.

Time to escape the crowds

Time to escape the crowds

A spot of lunch might be nice!

A spot of lunch might be nice!

The Feng Shang Floating Chinese Restaurant did look very appealing, but I hadn’t the time.  I did find a very nice empty bench, though, in prime position to admire it.  I rested my tired back and snacked on some fruit as I looked at my canal guide to check what lay ahead.  Not far along the towpath I could see one of the aviaries of Regent’s Park Zoo.

Regent Park's Zoo

Regent Park’s Zoo

I joined the spectators admiring the antics of the birds, and wondered if perhaps I might make time for a look into Regent’s Park.  It’s many years since I’ve been there but, regretfully, I let it go.  How was I to know that Debbie would take me there this week?  For now, I was approaching Lord’s Cricket Ground and the prime real estate of St. John’s Wood and Maida Vale.

Time to choose a mansion?

The wintry trees reflected in the canal

Time to choose a mansion?

Time to choose a mansion?

Even upside down they look good!

Even upside down they look good!

A bench with a view, Jude?

A bench with a view, Jude?

At this point I have to leave the canal temporarily while it burrows through Maida Hill Tunnel. The way ahead is not immediately obvious, but by dint of a couple of roadside maps and checking with passers by, I manage to rejoin it. I’m now just a short distance from my final destination.

Soon I'm back among the boats

Soon, I’m back among the boats

Life on a canal wouldn't be so bad!

Life on a canal wouldn’t be so bad, would it?

One last bridge to pass beneath

One last bridge to pass beneath

The sight I have been waiting for

The sight I have been waiting for, Little Venice

Little Venice is a triangular stretch of water, also known as Browning’s Pool, after the Victorian poet Robert Browning, who lived near by.   It marks the junction of Regent’s Canal with the Paddington arm of the Grand Union Canal.  I am delighted to spot the Waterside Cafe nestled at the canal side and even happier to treat myself to an unexpected pastel de nata with my coffee. The Portuguese custard tart was the last thing I expected to find on an English canal.

Satisfied, I cross over the bridge and look wistfully at the stretch of canal lying ahead of me.  My time has run out and I know that I must leave the Puppet Theatre and the floating art gallery for another visit.  But today I have conquered 5 miles of London’s watery world, and enjoyed having Judith broaden my knowledge of Camden Town.

A last look at the sun dappled water

A last look at the sun-dappled water

Doesn't it look wonderfully peaceful?

Doesn’t it look wonderfully peaceful?

If you were with me for To Camden and beyond last week, you’ll know that I’ve been watching ‘Great Canal Journeys’, with Timothy West and Prunella Scales.  The series ended last night, with the Lothian Canal in Scotland. I’m not so very far from the Scottish Borders and I’m now determined to see the Falkirk Wheel and the Kelpies for myself.  If you missed this excellent series you can still find it on YouTube.

You’ll probably find me, walking somewhere, next week.  Please do join me, if you can.

walking logo

Our Easter weather’s been pretty good for getting out and about, so I’m hoping you’ll have lots of walks to share with me this week.  Details of how to join in are on my Jo’s Monday walk page or simply click on the logo above.  Time to settle in with a cuppa and enjoy my shares this week. Many thanks to all of you!


What could be a better accompaniment to this week’s walk?  Perfect timing, Debbie!

Take a Walk in Regent’s Park

The loveliest Robin photo I’ve seen in a while.  Thanks, Drake!  A bird friend?

Out of Nowhere

Lots more street art from Geoff!  Do you have a favourite?

Dulwich Street Art- part 3 

Also featured on last night’s ‘Great Canal Journeys’ was the Antonine Wall.  Many thanks, Anabel! I’d never heard of it before :

The Antonine Wall

Tobias’ offering this week is full of the gravitas of Good Friday  :

Festung Ehrenbreitstein 

And lastly, it’s my very great pleasure to share the amazing graphics of an old friend.  Please welcome Jake!

Roald Dahl

That’s it for this week!  I hope you’ve had a great Easter break and I hope to catch up with you all soon.


  1. I love this part of town too Jo!! The photographs bring Camden so alive. So grateful to have a few moments spent there with you! Great to love London Town! Happy weekend. Looking forward to the next walk.

    1. I am awake at silly o’clock in the morning replying to this, Lita 🙂 Thank you for treading the canal path with me. Happy weekend to you too 🙂

    1. Wow ! I love the idea, Madhu, but I wouldn’t have the first idea how to make it happen. Do you think anyone would buy it, or are you thinking more so that I can admire my handiwork? I know there are companies that will compile a photo book because Andrew Petcher does that. Maybe I should ask him for tips. Anyway- thank you for the lovely compliment 🙂

  2. How interesting Jo! I’m in London at present and went up to Little Venice this morning with my daughter – the first time I’ve ever been there even though I lived in London for 9 years! The weather remains good and we had tea and a snack at one of her favourite cafes, Beany Green by the water. I really didn’t know too many about west and northwest London but have been exploring the area a lot this last few days. Lovely photos of the canal and boats! 😃

  3. I love the green and purple barge, and so many other things, including the post-processing. A great walk. I’m going to send the link to an English friend in Australia who is also a canal-walker.

    (I’m always late with comments on your blog because they seem to require a thoughtful and substantial response – and then I only manage something feeble!)

    1. I’m always delighted if you come here at all, Meg, even with the merest ‘like’. 🙂 And you’re on the road so much that I don’t have high expectations (but I do!) Receiving your comments is like getting a reassuring hug. And your email has bowled me over!

  4. What a interesting walk Jo. The boats and architecture are so different from what i would see here. I love that bench with a view and the mansion is not so shabby either. 😉 Too bad you didn’t have time for lunch on the floating restaurant. Looks like a fun place to eat.

    1. It was a bit ‘best of all worlds’ for me, Beth, because I love boats in all their shapes and sizes, and I love being in the heart of the city without the crowds. 🙂

  5. One of my favourite walks Jo 🙂 I grew up around horses and stables and spending time on a canal boat or barge is something I would love to experience one day. Beautiful.

  6. I really enjoyed the canal tour, Judith. The boats are marvelous. I could imagine myself sitting on the upper deck of that boat with the chairs and table, having some tea and watching the other boats along the water. Sounds like a perfect afternoon! 🙂

    1. I could’ve done with a sit down at lunch time, Bebs, but I so enjoyed Judith’s tour. Doubt I’ll have the opportunity again so I had to make the most 🙂

  7. enjoyed this stroll Jo – and I would like to have lunch in that red restaurant on the water – !
    those are the most unusually canal boats I have ever seen….
    and the bench for Jude – well I would have missed it at first, but what a “stately” bench that is- truly a royal feeling…

    1. You’d need to have ‘a few bob’ to sit on that one, Yvette. By invitation only 🙂 But no charge for looking 🙂 Thanks for keeping me company.

  8. We really fancy doing a canal boat trip in England. They always look so quaint. I think I would have to leave the driving to my husband though. I wouldn’t want to crash into the side of the canal.

  9. Such a great and interesting walk as always Jo. It’s so much fun with you for sure. 😀
    Love those houseboats and the photos are amazing as always. Thanks for sharing hon. ♥

  10. That’s it – I want to live on a canal boat! Seriously though, a visit to Camden town is definitely coming up. I’m fascinated with the floating Chinese restaurant. Loved this walk Jo, let’s go again… 🙂

    1. I always wanted a canal boat holiday, Sherri, but I suspect I wouldn’t want to go ‘home’ again. 🙂 Well… maybe to the Algarve home 🙂 Isn’t this burst of Spring glorious? I’ve been down on the Moors all day, lapping it up 🙂

      1. Me too Jo! Yes, glorious weather, too nice to be indoors, bet it’s beautiful on the Moors, I love it there 🙂

Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.