The Regent’s Canal cuts through the centre of London, from the picturesque Little Venice and past Regent’s Park then through multiple boroughs like Islington before arriving at the Thames.
The canal offers a perfect route for pedestrians to explore the city while staying off the busy roads, and one of the best sections is to walk from King’s Cross to Limehouse.
While the western half of the canal can take you past beautiful surroundings like Primrose Hill and Regent’s Park, as covered in our blog following the Camden to Little Venice walk, the western half takes you through other sites like Victoria Park and ends at the river.
The King’s Cross to Limehouse canal walk takes approximately 2 hours to complete. We walked the route on a mild September day which stayed dry for the most part, but having a raincoat ready came in handy during a couple of brief showers.
Starting the walk
The beginning of this King’s Cross to Limehouse canal walk can depend on how long of a walk you’re after. At 8.6 miles long, it is possible to walk the entirety of the Regent’s Canal, which we’d recommend if you’ve got the whole day to commit to it.
Alternatively, you could start around Camden, which the canal runs through. Exploring Camden Market is a great way to start the walk, and it’s a short distance away from King’s Cross so it makes for only a brief extension of the overall walking route.
King’s Cross station, as well as St Pancras, offer the most straightforward locations to arrive at for the beginning of the walk. Just head straight up Pancras Road to St Pancras Basin and you’ll be at the Regent’s Canal.
Heading out from King’s Cross
The redeveloped area around King’s Cross and St Pancras basin hosts a variety of great places to eat and drink, and there are plenty of areas to sit with a picnic if you want to have lunch before starting the walk.
Follow the curve in the Regent’s Canal and stick along the towpath as it takes you under York Way and eastwards away from King’s Cross.
With the canal boats docked right along the towpath and the glass apartment buildings on the other side of the waterway, this is one of the most scenic sections of the walk, especially on a sunny day.
London Canal Museum is located on the other side of the towpath, by Battlebridge Basin, if you want to take a detour to learn more about the history of the Regent’s Canal and the route you’ll be walking.
Cutting across Angel & Islington
Just as the walk is getting started, the canal will head into Islington Canal Tunnel and you’ll have to take some stairs up onto Muriel Street above.
From here, you can roughly follow the canal as it flows underground beneath your feet through Islington. Due to the layout of the streets, there’s not a single straight route to follow but it’s difficult to get lost.
We recommend cutting over Culpepper Community Garden and then crossing over the road when you get to the A1. From here, there are some cute streets with independent shops you can look around before heading down Duncan Street to where the Regent’s Canal re-emerges.
Go down the ramp back onto the towpath and you can pick up the canal walk where you left off.
Walking east to Victoria Park
Now you’re back on the Regent’s Canal and off the streets again, the King’s Cross to Limehouse canal walk is straightforward to follow. There are no more tunnels so you can stick to the towpath all the way to your destination.
This next section of the hike takes approximately 50 minutes, so it’s a great time to stride out and see what sights the route has to offer.
On the way, you’ll pass by a couple of locks – City Road Lock and Sturt’s Lock – and under multiple bridges.
One of the quirkiest sights you’ll see on the walk is the Hackney Sharks on the other side of Haggerston Bridge, an art installation with a contentious history.
Exploring Victoria Park
Keep following the Regent’s Canal east and you’ll eventually reach Victoria Park which is one of the most popular parks in London to visit and borders the waterway.
You can either keep along the path next to the canal, or you can walk along one of the paths just inside the park. This will take you right by Victoria Park Chinese Pagoda and a scenic lake, so it’s a good opportunity for a brief change of scenery.
Victoria Park is just over the halfway point on the King’s Cross to Limehouse walk, so it’s the perfect spot to sit down on one of the many benches and have a swig of water, or even a picnic.
Down to Limehouse Basin
From Victoria Park, the Regent’s Canal turns southwards towards the Thames. Once again, it’s a simple walk along the towpath before getting to your final destination in Limehouse.
Much of this stretch will border Mile End Park, so if you’re after a slightly different route you can take a short detour along one of the paths through the park. These can take you up hills that offer views of the surroundings that you wouldn’t get from the canal.
The hike is otherwise very straightforward, and once you pass Salmon Lane Lock you’ll be coming up to Limehouse Basin.
Looking around Limehouse Basin
Now you’re at Limehouse Basin at the conclusion of the Regent’s Canal walk, you can follow one of the paths encircling the water to see the picturesque marina from different angles.
This is a good place to finish the King’s Cross to Limehouse canal walk, and there’s a lot of places to sit with a drink and rest up within the scenic Limehouse Basin which is a great stop off point for many of the best walks in London.
If you’re looking to get back into central London, you can head to Limehouse station and take the DLR line to Bank.
Extending the walk to Canary Wharf
For those who want to see more of London and aren’t ready to finish the walk, there’s fortunately an easy way to extend the route by another half hour or so which takes you to one of the most distinctive areas of the city – Canary Wharf.
While you may have come to the end of the Regent’s Canal, you can continue a waterside walk by following the Thames.
Head east along Narrow Street away from Limehouse Basin then cut right through the buildings when you can and on the other side you’ll be by the Thames.
With a good view across to Tower Bridge behind you, just follow the Thames Path along the river and head towards the iconic skyline of Canary Wharf ahead of you.
You can follow the route all the way down to the Isle of Dogs, but we headed inland amongst the towering skyscrapers then jumped on the Elizabeth Line at Canary Wharf station to get back to central London.
Other recommended London walks:
There are many amazing canal walks in London and routes that take you through different areas of the city. To see other parts of London, check out some of these other top walks in the capital that we’d recommend trying:
- Blackfriars to Battersea
- Camden to Little Venice
- London Bridge to Greenwich
- Greenwich to Woolwich
- Limehouse Cut walk