London Family Adventure - Little Venice to Limehouse

One of the reasons for going south to London this year was the prospect of boating with some of our family who live in the capital. On previous trips we have managed only to briefly meet up and perhaps take a short trip, but this time it all fell into place and the weather played its part too. We arranged to meet our daughter Lucy and our three granddaughters at Little Venice on Monday morning and take extended trip along the length of the Regents Canal to Limehouse Basin. Because our nephew Matthew lives in a flat by the basin in Limehouse he took a day off work and joined us too. To put it simply this plan worked well and we had a magical day out.

The London Canals Adventure Crew
Steve, Maggie, Florence, Matthew, Amelia, Lucy and Nancy

We all met up at the Facilities Mooring Point at Little Venice (glamorous spot!) around 10 o'clock and made our way into the Maida Hill Tunnel. The tunnel trip was a first for our granddaughters. All but baby Nancy coped well.

Maida Hill Tunnel with Cafe
This was swiftly followed by London Zoo where the granddaughters spotted a flying eagle in the famous Snowdon aviary.

Snowden Aviary London Zoo
A turn left at Cumberland Basin soon brought us to Camden Locks where there were helpful volunteer lockeepers on duty. Our descent of the first lock created lost of interest among those out enjoying the glorious sunshine

A musical punter at Camden Lock

Camden Lock and spectators

The area around St Pancras and Kings Cross was much changed since our last visit. We were particularly taken by the Gasholder development where the original gas holding structure had been incorporated into the heart of the new development and some buildings had been constructed within a a gas holder.

Gasholder developments at St Pancras

As we waited for the lock, as if on cue, a Eurostar train crossed the viaduct behind us.

Eurostar arriving at St Pancras

It was lunchtime as we got close to Islington and this drew out the crowds taking advantage of the glorious warm weather - it was about 25 deg C.

Canal Side Lunch

We passed through the Islington Tunnel, which I found a bit smoky since it has no air shafts unlike  Blisworth Tunnel, and we stopped for our own lunch close to City Road Lock.

Nancy sharing lunch with Lucy

City Road Basin

After lunch we pressed on, dropping down more locks. The locks near Victoria Park were particularly welcome since they were manned by CRT Volunteers and we new that we hadn't much further to go until we reached Limehouse. 

Amelia holding onto Albert
Lucy and Matt operating a lock
Lucy steering with Canary Wharf in sight

Commercial Road Lock - last of the day

We finally got to Limehouse just after 6:00 PM and moored up on the 24 hr visitor moorings which are just below Matthew's flat.

Albert moored up in Limehouse Basin
Albert from Matthew's balcony

Lucy and the girls met up with Chris and made their way back to their home in Teddington after a well deserved late tea in Matthew's flat. Matthew then took Maggie and I around the basin and we ended up eating at The Grapes, Narrow Street. It is one of those wonderful riverside inns and it is in effect Matthew's local. The leaseholder is Sir Ian McKellen. 

River View of Canary Wharf 

The Shard and other London landmarks as the sun sets

An Anthony Gormley Statue, complete with seagull
The statue is on the pebble beach outside The Grapes - here it is low tide

The meal at The Grapes was excellent and brought a fitting end to a very special day. Downstairs was very busy since it was quiz night. 

Fish and Chips and Shepherds Pie at The Grapes, Limehouse