Leaving the Paddington Arm near Little Venice, The Regent's Canal heads east across London passing Regent's Park, London Zoo and Victoria Park before
turning south to end at Limehouse Basin.
Named after the Prince Regent the 8.5 mile long Regents Canal was planned by Thomas Homer to provide a commercial link between the
Grand Union Canal via the Paddington Arm
and London's docks beside the River Thames in London's East End. Opened in 1820 the canal was built by The Regent's Canal Company and designed by architect John Nash (who was also responsible for Regent's Park). As well as having access to the River Thames narrowboat owners can use the Regent's Canal as a connection with the River Lee Navigation
(and therefore also the
River Stort Navigation
) via Limehouse Basin.
About using The Regent's Canal for either a Walk or Bike ride along the towpath.
The canal's towpath is generally quite wide and nearly always well surfaced for the entire stretch of the canal so the Regents Canal is great for a walk or to cycle along. Things are straightforward apart from two diversions you have to make - firstly at Maida Hill Tunnel and secondly at Islington Tunnel neither of which were constructed with internal towpaths.
From where the canal starts at the Paddington Arm junction you can only stay on the towpath for a short distance. The last several hundred metres up to Maida Hill Tunnel have permanent stay narrowboats moored and for some reason towpath
access is deemed "private" so you have to use the pavement instead. Getting past the 270 yards long Maida Hill Tunnel is just a question of walking up to the road junction and simply keeping straight ahead over the lights and after a while back down onto the towpath.
Our Canal topics are split into two pages - this covers the route heading east from Bridge 1 (which is the Paddington end) and goes as far as St. Pancras.
Please also therefore take a look at the second part which follows the Regents Canal
for the rest of it's journey to it's end at Limehouse Basin.[ Clicking the thumbnails will open a much larger picture - use the back button to return to this page. ]
Commercial barges carried all types of cargo along the canal systems some of which was quite hazardous.
Blow Up Bridge on the Regents Canal was destroyed in October 1874 when a boat called "Tilbury" which was carrying gunpowder exploded.
The bridge was rebuilt however it's pillars were turned around to provide a smooth surface for the boat's towing ropes - the original rope-grooves can still be clearly seen. Just after Blow Up Bridge the canal passes through the grounds of Regent's Zoo which was opened 8 years after the canal was finished.