An industrial era waterway tagged with a royal name, Regent’s Canal still flows quietly through some of the busiest parts of London, its towpath improbably stringing together some of the most different places you could think of. Walking down the towpath, layers of London’s development unfold before your eyes. This is an opportunity to see London almost like a film reel, with new tableau opening round each bend. The railway lines form a rhythm. Every time you pass under one, the environment completely changes.
A stroll along the Regent’s Canal teaches you how cities are made. There are different ways of addressing water – green slopes or concrete banks, boathouses or public houses, fenced off or open to influences. Bridges over the towpath seem to mark the passing of time, and recite something of history in street names – Royal College Street, York Way, Roman Road or Salmon Lane. Most of all, the canal experience teaches you to value melancholic industrial landscapes. People regularly find happiness and leisure in them – canal boats, cyclists, and walkers.
Click through the image gallery to learn more about the first stretch, from Paddington Basin to Camden Town. Total distance, 2.8 miles.
By Shibani Bose and M@
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