Day 4. Little Venice and Chinatown, London

Breakfast in our hotel again this morning then a tube journey northbound to Camden Town.  A popular market is held there at weekends but to be honest,  I’m not a fan of this one as it’s mostly a collection of touristy stalls and shops along the road.  The reason for our visit was to take a morning stroll along the Regent’s Canal.  It’s easy to find, on leaving Camden Town underground station turn right walking a short distance past the market until you reach Camden Lock.  Overlooking the lock you will notice a pub and across the bridge, Camden Lock food court where you can find some tasty snacks in an attractive outdoor setting.

Camden Lock Food Court
Camden Lock Food Court

Following the towpath along Regent’s Canal and we soon found ourselves far away from the hordes of tourists visiting Camden Market.  Regent’s Canal was originally built as a link between the Grand Union Canal and the River Thames but it is now a haven of tranquility with many points of interest along this three mile stretch to Paddington.   It’s one of our favourite Sunday morning London walks and I believe, one of the capital’s best kept secrets.

Regent's Canal, London
Narrowboat homes with their own small gardens

Strolling along, one can view elegant waterfront mansions and the large aviary of Regent’s Park Zoo which borders the canal.  A little further along,  the towpath passes the Little Venice basin in Maida Vale, home to a collection of narrowboats, most of these being permanent homes.  I especially like this section of the canal as the narrowboat residents take great pride in their homes and even have their own small gardens across the towpath.  Apart from spring bulbs, there’s not much in flower in February but walk along in a few months time and there will be magnificent displays of trailing wisteria and clematis.

Little Venice, Maida Vale
Little Venice, Maida Vale

From the canal basin it’s possible to take boat trips and there are some attractive cafes, and one of them is actually on a narrowboat.  It’s then necessary to leave the towpath for a short distance but the canal walk is signposted and rejoins the canal a little further on.  Towards its end near Paddington Station there are more cafes, bars and restaurants. Of course, the walk can be taken in reverse starting at Paddington and ending at Camden but please bear in mind that if you are visiting at weekends Camden station is for exit only due to the large crowds and you may need to extend your walk along to Mornington Crescent station to continue your journey.

Chinatown London
Gateway Arch to Chinatown

From Paddington we travelled along to Piccadilly Circus, a square that’s always bustling with activity.  From there, it’s only a short walk to nearby Leicester Square,  another popular tourist hub.  Located just off Leicester Square is London’s Chinatown with its ornate gateway arch and as it wasn’t long since Chinese New Year, the streets were still festooned with bright orange paper lanterns.  Chinatown only covers a small area but it’s fun to explore and perhaps enjoy a meal in one of its many restaurants.

A short walk from Chinatown lies Covent Garden, an attractive tourist location situated around the former fruit and vegetable market.  The area was transformed in 1980 when the elegant old buildings were tastefully refurbished into bars, cafes and small shops.  A craft market takes place in the former Apple Market whilst street performers entertain crowds – it’s certainly a vibrant place to visit in central London.

National Gallery, Trafalgar Square
National Gallery, Trafalgar Square

Our afternoon stroll continued to Trafalgar Square, home to both the National Portrait Gallery and the National Gallery both free to visit except for special exhibitions.  I particularly enjoy visiting the National Portrait Gallery where one can view portraits of famous British people from the 17th century to recent times.

All this walking was making us hungry so we headed off to a branch of Pizza Express near the Royal Festival Hall on the south bank for a meal.  It was then time to return to our hotel in Vauxhall to collect our luggage in good time to take the 7.30 pm train home from King’s Cross station.

If you have enjoyed reading this post you may also like other posts in this series:

A weekend in London

You may also be interested in my previous visits to London:

South Kensington, South West London and Maritime Greenwich

The V&A, Imperial War Museum and Chinese New Year

City of London, Temple Gardens, South Bank, Portobello Market and London Docklands

Central London, V&A Museum of Childhood and the Olympic Park, Stratford

24 thoughts on “Day 4. Little Venice and Chinatown, London

  1. Pingback: Day 6. Little India and the Arab District, Singapore – Love Travelling Blog

  2. sinikka

    Loved reading this. I am actually travelling to England for a week in April. Four days in London, and then attending an international English teachers’ conference in Birmingham for another 3 days. I’ve been planning to go to Camden, just to check out the Amy Winehouse statue in the Stables market. I remember once enjoying a nice Pimms by the canal in that pub by the lock. You’ve given me an idea to do some walking along the canal side, weather permitting. Cheers!

    Liked by 1 person

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