Something different. Something special.
There are now 20 London Walks canal walks. A repertory that has been built up over many years by the Inland Waterways Association (IWA) members who guide the walks in partnership with London Walks.
There are always at least two – and sometimes more – canal walks every month. The fixed “berth” for the canal walks is the 2.30 pm Tour du Jour slot on the first and third Sunday of every month. That regular, bi-monthly canal walks fare is then often topped up with one or two “canal walks specials” seeded here and there in the London Walks programme. You can “take survey” simply by doing a search for “canal” on the www.walks.com search engine.
Why go on a canal walk? Why not? The reasons are manifold.
There’s the lure of the new – canal walks take you into a London you won’t have seen before, a London that will surprise and delight you.
There’s the lure of the old – this is a bygone London that hasn’t gone by. It’s still here, living history. Everything slows right down on a canal walk, slows down to the speed of “the canal age.”
A canal walk is by the water.
Canal walks are sequential, they come in tranches: aficionados get hooked, they get a lot of knowledge and a pleasing sense of achievement from walking the stages, getting the I Walked the Regent’s Canal tee-shirt.
Canal walks guides have specialist knowledge. They are all IWA members. They are boat and barge owners. They have many years’ experience plying these waters. That’s the sine qua non to a successful canal walk because there are features throughout the canal network that a “lay person” wouldn’t notice, let alone fathom. These guides – these IWA members – know where to go, where to look, what it is you’re looking at. Why it’s there. What purpose it served. Things snap into focus.
You go on a canal walk you’re supporting a good cause: the canal walks guides donate their fee to the IWA.
A canal walk is car-free.
In short, here are the canal walks taking place this season:
Sunday 7th August: The Regent’s Canal – King’s Cross, Granary Square, St. Pancras
Sunday 21 August: The Regent’s Canal – River Tyburn to Little Venice
Sunday 4th September: Grand Surrey Canal, Royal Navy Victualling Yard, Greenland Dock
Sunday 18th September: The Regent’s Canal – King’s Cross, Granary Square, St. Pancras
Sunday 2 October: Royal Victoria Dock to East India Dock Towpath Walk
Sunday 16th October: The Regent’s Canal – Mile End to Limehouse
Sunday, 6th November: The Regent’s Canal – River Tyburn to Little Venice
Sunday, 20th November: The Regent’s Canal – King’s Cross, Granary Square, Camden
Sunday, 4th December: The Regent’s Canal – Little Venice to Camden Town
Sunday, 18th December: The Regent’s Canal – King’s Cross, Granary Square, St. Pancras
Below the dotted lines I’ve started to put together a compilation of the full range of canal walks on offer. Some of the walks in this master list of Towpath Walks are not scheduled to run in the current season (Summer 2022). That said, any walk in the Canal Guides’ repertory can of course be booked for private outings. Just email us at [email protected] – or ring us on 020 7624 3978.
The Regent’s Canal – River Tyburn to Camden
The Regent’s Canal – King’s Cross, Granary Square, St Pancras
The Regent’s Canal – King’s Cross to New River
The Regent’s Canal – Islington to Hoxton
The Regent’s Canal – Islington to Mile End
The Grand Union Canal – Uxbridge to Denham
The Grand Union Canal – Uxbridge to Little Britain and West Drayton
The Grand Union Canal – Kensal Green to Alperton
The Grand Union Canal – Kensal Green to Little Venice
The Grand Surrey Canal – Rotherhithe, Russia Dock Woodland, Greenland Dock
River Lee Navigation – Enfield to Ponders End
Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park, Three Mills & Bow Back Rivers
Secrets of the northern Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park
Four Hundred Years of the New River
Limehouse – Thames – Docklands
East India Docks – Thames – Docklands