Northwest London is full of unique neighborhoods tied together by Regent’s Canal. Each one is different from the others, but they all revolve around canal life. It’s worth getting out to explore them and see how the atmosphere changes as the waterway goes.
If you have 24 hours, I recommend starting in King’s Cross. This area is home to a lot of exciting restaurants and bars, not to mention Harry Potter’s Platform 9¾. You can begin your explorations under the stunning contemporary ceiling of King’s Cross Station, from where you can go to pose for your Hogwarts-inspired photo.
Outside King’s Cross Station, catch a glimpse of neighboring St. Pancras Station — another feat of architecture — before heading north along King’s Boulevard.
Below them sits the canal, which is often home to Word on the Water, a canal boat-turned-bookshop. It’s one of the area’s quirkiest attractions, and it’s worth walking by if it’s moored in the area.
From there, head northwest along Regent’s Canal Towpath until you get to Camden. This area is known for its funky markets, which wind like a labyrinth through the area around the canal. It’s worth stopping to get lost in the warren of tunnels, picking up a vintage find as you go.
The high street is also full of funky art on the building facades, and it’s fun to take a look while you’re in the area.
Don’t forget to look around if you want to spot the animals. Better yet, leave the towpath for a bit and take a wander through the zoo and gardens.
Back on the canal, you’ll pass by beautiful homes and greenery as you work your way toward Maida Vale. When you arrive, you’ll be rewarded with picturesque canal views in Little Venice. It’s worth getting off the towpath here to explore the area around the water, as Maida Vale is home to crescent streets and local pubs.
However you choose to end your day, you’ll have had a great walk and worked up an appetite not only for food, but for seeing more of London’s canal-side areas. There are a lot more of them around the city, so it’s worth coming back to explore further.
Originally from San Francisco, Julie Falconer moved to London in 2007 and runs A Lady in London, a blog about all things lovely London and beautiful travel.