Hidden London – Camden to Paddington

I like London. It’s a great city. I wouldn’t want to live there and nor would I want to have to commute up there everyday to work but it is a beautiful and richly varied city.

A great example of this is the almost jarring contrast between Camden Market, with it’s brash high street and shops with large footwear adorning the frontages, and the canal-side walk from the lock to Paddington. This weekend we did the walk for the first time and is a beautiful 2.5 mile stretch of path.

At one end lies Camden Town with it’s market selling mainly tee shirts with humorous slogans, mobile phone covers and other tacky souvenirs. A number of the shops had 3D objects attached to the outside signifying what they sold: shoes, clothing etc. In a way it reminded me of the touristy shops along the 192 in Florida and those selling buckets & spades at the seaside.

At the far end is Camden Lock on the Grand Union canal. It’s a pretty spot, teeming with tourists and noisy but walk just a very short distance along the tow path and suddenly it is quiet as few bother to make the trip, which is their loss.

The tow-path is very quiet and, for the most part anyway, lined with trees. At one point you pass through London Zoo and you can see a bird enclosure on your right. A little further up on the left hand side are several large buildings. It is not clear if they are houses still but there is no doubt that they are worth a bob or two.

Eventually you reach a point where the canal passes through a tunnel which you cannot walk along and have to make your way through over the top. Once the water emerges you can see a number of boats moored where people are living permanently. While this seems great when the weather is fine like it was the day we passed I do wonder what it would be like in the winter.

Then you reach Little Venice where once again there are a number of private boats that are residences – it’s a lovely area.

Finally you reach Paddington station and there is an entrance that takes you right to the ticket barriers of the underground.

If you have the time I would definitely recommend the trip – you won’t believe that you are in London.