Mike in Finland

Wednesday, 22 September 2010

London Sights Part 2

In this post I´m going to introduce two places, Camden Lock Market and Little Venice. The two locations are about 3 kilometres apart and are joined by the Regent Canal. On a warm and sunny day it is very pleasant to walk from one location to the other.

The closest underground to Camden Lock Market is Camden Town. From there it is a short walk (500 m.) up Camden High Street to the first part of the market area. There are several separate sections to the entire market area, which is pretty large and includes many clothing and food stalls. It´s nice to just wander round and see what takes your eye. It´s large enough to get confused about where you are and how you got there, but you can´t get really lost. You´re never that far from where you started, so it´s easy to find your way out!

Close to the entrance to the market from Camden High Street, there is a bridge over the Regent Canal. Steps lead down to the canal side where there is a tow path. This is where the horses that pulled the barges used to walk in the days before engines. There is also a lock (no surprise, right), which is where the name comes from. A lock, for non-English-speaking readers, is where the water level in a canal changes. Kanavansulku in Finnish. This is where you can start to walk the 3 kilometres to Little Venice. Not far from Camden Lock, maybe 500 m. there is a large old wooden boat moored beside the canal which has been converted into a Chinese restaurant. We didn´t eat there, but it looked like an interesting place for a meal.

The canal itself is not the most beautiful stretch of water. I suppose canals never are. But it passes through some pleasant areas. It skirts the edge of Regents Park at one point and you can see the bird house of London Zoo. There are also some lovely houses on the opposite bank that would surely cost a fortune. A different style of life is lived by the people who have house boats along the canal. You pass a few small communities on the walk from Camden to Little Venice. The boat houses are converted old barges and many of the owners have decorated them and made them homely in various ways. Some even have little gardens beside the tow path.

As you get closer to Little Venice you come to an area called Maida Vale. It´s a quite up-market part of London. There are some very nice buildings. Flats would surely be very expensive round there. There are also good pubs in the side streets. Close to Little Venice there is a bridge over the canal at the point where Edgware Road and Maida Vale (which is also the name of a street) meet. Right on the bridge there is a small Italian restaurant called Cafe Laville. At the back of the restaurant there is a large window that is directly above the canal and looks down towards Little Venice. It´s a very nice spot to stop for some lunch if you´re peckish, or just to have a drink. As I remember the meals were not very expensive. We stopped there last summer and had a glass of wine beside the window. Here´s a picture of the view:

Little Venice itself is the point where two canals, the Regent Canal and the Grand Union Canal, meet. There is a wider expanse of water there. There is also a small community of house barges and some boat cafes, which also have tables and chairs beside the water in good weather. The atmosphere is really pleasant.

It´s also possible to take a trip on the canal in one of the barges that takes visitors between Camden and Little Venice, if you don´t want to walk. Or of course, you could walk one way and take the boat the other instead of using the underground. The closest underground station to Little Venice is Warwick Avenue.

There are pictures of the places I´ve described at these websites:


  1. This is lovely, especially as I have emotional links to both places.

    I lived near Little Venice for years and did this walk along the canal.

    Camden has always been the centre of poetry for me and I'm back there these days at the twice-monthly Camden and Lumen open mics.

    I know I can get to these places regularly, but I love London so it's always a pleasure to read about it!

  2. Thanks, Adele. I´m glad you enjoyed the piece.

  3. This is also a very good post which I really enjoyed reading. It is not every day that I have the possibility to see something like this.. nuremberg sights