Jo’s Monday walk : Regent’s Canal

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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!

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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.

141 comments

  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. 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. 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 🙂

  6. 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…

  7. 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. ♥

  8. 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 🙂

  9. Oh, I could get lost in a place like this for hours, and then make an escape to the beautiful canals for the rest of the day. Thank you for the tour, I would LOVE to return to London and have a visit for myself someday. 🙂

    1. Thank you so much for spending time with me today, Elisa! I really appreciate it 🙂 Always somewhere new and wonderful to visit, isn’t there? I really enjoyed your company 🙂

  10. Wow Jo, this was a neat walk. I was amazed at the horse history, wonderful architecture and those beautiful buildings dotting the watery way, but I was also intrigued by the houseboats and can’t imagine living on one. This was my kind of walk, the sites and sounds of the canal that you captured made me feel like I was walking right along side you. Have a wonderful week!

  11. Next time I am in London I will not miss the Regent’s Park Zoo or Little Venice. This is beautiful and full of charm. Thank you for the stroll, Jo.

    1. Hi Paula 🙂 I must have just missed you this morning. I went chasing daffodils (and sheep 🙂 ) on the York Moors and am just back. Glad of your company, as always, and thank you for the token 🙂

  12. Hey Jo that was a great photographic walk . It’s amazing how another person can see so many different sights somewhere one has visited already . I’m not sure I took too much notice of the *horse connection either ! You certainly covered some ground . I love the canal boats … always look so appealing .. well, in good weather of course although with a little wood burner one could be cosy . We took a couple of holidays along the canal du midi some years ago it was fantastic . Always a lock round the corner mind .. and I’m not sure I would be so nifty jumping onto the bank with the rope nowadays 😀

    1. That was one of the noticeable things with Prunella Scales, Poppy-that she was hesitant getting on and off. 😦 And you know how clumsy I am! There’d be many a ducking! Ugh- I bet that canal water tastes vile! You’re right- I’ve completely gone off the notion 🙂 🙂

  13. I really enjoyed this walk Jo, I’d forgotten how pretty some of those canals are, so thanks for the refresher! Life on a barge on the canals sounds very tempting.

  14. Having only spent a few days in London last year it is clear there is so much more to see. Thank you for this beautiful tour. It looks like spring is arriving. I loved the reflections you captured in the canals Jo. Wishing you a great day!

    1. Thanks, Sue 🙂 This was back in January when I had my 2 day flying visit. I spent 4 years there when I was a youngster and I still didn’t get around all of it. Can’t really have been trying 🙂 Of course, I did have to work for a living then, too 🙂 Hope you had a lovely time with the folks!

  15. The stable history is fascinating, Jo. I could spend hours there, but, like you, I would have to walk the canals. You take me to places I’ve never been and I so look forward to that. 🚶🏃🚶

  16. What a charming piece of history to re-purpose The Stables. I love that part of visiting new places. I’d be escaping the crowds, too, and probably walk right by you on the canal path 😋. The willows by my pond are showing that distinct yellow right now as they are in your photos – soon to turn to green as leaves cover the branches.

      1. Ours don’t get bright yellow until the green shoots are ready to pop. It’s crazy ‘cuz one day I look and they’re yellow and the next day they’ve all gone to pure green with no in-between. I often wonder if I stared for 24-hours non-stop would I catch the switch being turned or would I see some interim shades.

    1. I’d have needed an invitation, Jill 🙂 Probably an oil baron! Come to think of it- he might well have a boat 🙂 🙂 Cheers, hon. Did you have a peaceful Easter?

      1. It is warming up but very slowly. Actually, we had a warm day last week (12C) but then the next day we woke with a coat of snow. Today it is around 2C but the forecast is for double-digit temperatures by the end of the week with staying power…so maybe we will eventually get some kind of spring.

  17. The stables are just wonderful, Jo. Love the bronze horse sculptures. What a find! The mansion is gorgeous and in such a prime position. Maybe I just just afford to rent the bench. I wouldn’t mind a ride on the canal, but couldn’t live there all year round. i do enjoy my creature comforts. Our daughter and family tried it out of necessity for a couple months one winter, and it wasn’t fun. As always, I enjoyed walking with you, Jo. It’s such a great way to keep fit. (Our Boot Camp class was cancelled at the last minute, so we had a narrow escape.) 🙂

    1. No Boot Camp? Well, don’t go swimming with alligators for exercise 😦
      If you have time, Ad, there are lots of vids on YouTube of The Stables. The architecture throughout is extraordinary. I was going to include a vid but couldn’t find one that either wasn’t too long, or wasn’t full of food stalls and irritating people.

  18. That was a lovely walk Jo – and good weather for January by the looks of it. I’ve never been to Camden so need to put that right – the stables look fascinating and the canals are so pretty. Thank you 🙂

    1. Never, Sue? Good grief! 🙂 Saturdays can be a bit frenetic if the weather’s good but the architecture within The Stables is really remarkable. Hope you had a good Easter 🙂

  19. Life on a canal would be lovely in summer, but I’m not so sure about the rest of the year. The canals are a great way of seeing the more tucked away parts of London. I’m hoping to post a stroll this week 🙂

    1. You’re probably right, Gilly 😦 I guess I’m just thinking of the mobility it gives me to get from place to place. Canal du Midi might certainly be nice. We’ve got sea fog here today so I’m under a depression again. When’s Barcelona? I shall look forward to your walk 🙂

      1. Arrghh mizzley weather is horrid, (((hugs))) maybe tomorrow you’ll get the sun we have today. Barcelona is in just over two weeks, for three nights and I’m really looking forward to it now except that I won’t be able to take my big camera 😦

  20. I liked this walk. It would be nice to be able to walk alongside the canals, but I suspect there are several places where there is no suitable towpath 😦
    I managed to catch the Canal programme last night too – very interesting! Made me want to shoot up to Glasgow straight away! Now a narrowboat would be my answer to not being able to choose where to live wouldn’t it? Except, they are narrow. And I am claustrophobic. And I’m not sure I could cope with those locks. Sigh…
    Oh, and my local deli also sells pastel de nata with coffee – now when did they become in fashion over here?

    1. Claustrophobic explains why you’re not so keen on boats, Jude. You’ll have to have one of those big mansions 🙂 Have you managed a garden this weekend? I’m feeling shortchanged today as the sea fret has got us! I’d go inland but Mick’s at ‘the match’ this afternoon. This is why I need a boat. I could just follow the weather. (and rest my legs 🙂 )
      Ha! One more reason to revisit Ludlow 🙂 I’d better go up to Falkirk first!

      1. The mansion looks rather grand, though the bench definitely comes with a view. Just back from visiting a nearby garden – gorgeous weather today about 18C too. But the flowers are nowhere near as advanced as they were last year at this time. Still a lovely lunch sitting outside and a nice stroll listening to robins singing their hearts out plus saw two red kites on the way home. Can’t complain 🙂

  21. Lovely walk Jo, I do love the Regents Canal.
    Funnily enough I had just spotted that canal series before you mentioned it last week, I saw the French one which had always been on my to do list. Then I caught p with the others on catch up tv. I haven’t seen last night’s yet but I have vowed to get back up there this summer and take a trip around the Falkirk Wheel. The weather was truly dreadful when I visited before Christmas and I haven’t showed my photos as they were all rather rain spattered. Though I may check them over in case they are suitable for this week’s Blur theme!
    The sun is out here today and I’m torn between a walk and tidying the garden!
    Have a good day x

    1. Hi Debs! Was having a minor sulk because suddenly we were swathed in sea mist! 😦 Happens sometimes, when the rest of the country is basking. It’s breaking through now so I’ll be in the garden for a while later. Sounds promising for ‘Blur’ 🙂

  22. Thanks for the mention – canals are obviously the place to be at the moment! I enjoyed your walk too. The Kelpies and the Falkirk Wheel are both worth visiting. There’s also a walk behind the Wheel to Rough Castle, another fortress on the Antonine Wall.

    1. You’re very welcome 🙂 I really must get up that way. It’s not so far from us for a weekend break and I’m desperate to see those Kelpies. Thanks for the information. 🙂

  23. So fascinating – a wonderful and inspiring walk… 🙂

    Maybe we should buy this holiday home (or call it a small mansion) half and half – so have it your family in equal numbers of weeks and my unequally numbers of weeks – there are none of us who have the time to stay there permanent… 😀 😀 😀

      1. ‘hehehe’ – we could rent it out all the weeks we didn’t have to use it – all kind of celebrities would stand in line, no doubt… 😀

      2. When I was younger I had a dream – living on a house boat – instead of the house or apartment – even investigated opportunities – now I dream just about a sailboat or yacht… 🙂

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