When you think about water and river cruises in London, you likely think about the boat trips on the River Thames. However, there is a lovely alternative North of the famous river: A few companies offer cruises on the Regent’s Canal, a 14 km channel system North of the city center. I had a cruise with the London Waterbus Company from Little Venice to Camden Lock.
London Waterbus Company – Route & Admission
London Waterbus Company is commuting between two stops, one at Camden Lock and one at Little Venice. The cruise time between the two points is roughly 45 minutes. You typically pre-book (or buy at the pier) a one way trip. Both spots are beautiful to hang out on a sunny day. The closest major public transport stop to Camden Lock is the Camden Town Underground station, served by the Northern Line. Little Venice is close to Paddington Station, which is served by the Underground and rail connections, including the Heathrow Express and the Elizabeth Line.
In general, the cruise schedule does differ by season, but in high season, there are typically departures on the hour at each stop. London Waterbus Company is private and not part of the TfL system. Thus, travel cards, Oysters or London Passes are not valid. The one-way cruise is 15 GBP per adult at the time of writing. There is no explicit return ticket, but you can buy two one ways to get back to where you started.
London Waterbus Company – The Ships
The company is having three vessels, which typically run the Regent’s Canal service. I had a trip with Milton, but Perseus and Gardenia have similar services. They are concerted narrow canal boats, which have bus-style seating and large windows. which offer a very nice view of the area. They have a closed roof and you may not be on deck or similar. The vessels don’t have toilets onboard, but there are public bathrooms near the boat stops. Regarding the rather short cruise time, the Milton felt absolutely fine for purpose. There is no catering and you should not bring major luggage on board. The company is also driving a fourth ship, Alfred Le Roy, which is equipped for hospitality events.
London Waterbus Company – The Cruise
As said, the cruise time is roughly 45 minutes, which was also the case during the cruise I took. Despite great weather, the vessel was not that full, which made it very convenient. Here and there, the rather low position above the water is leading to interesting views (sometimes also in a bothering sense). Especially on a sunny day, the canal is really busy and there are also tunnels with one-way traffic, so that there might be some deviations from the cruise time envisaged.
The area along Regent’s Canal. There are some beautiful houses, some f them inhabited by celebrity. A really nice part of the cruise is also when you are shipping through a park, which partially belongs to the London Zoo grounds. There are also some very eye-catching places, like the pier of the Feng Shang Princess Chinese restaurant. Getting closer to Camden, the atmosphere becomes significantly more vibrant and less relaxed than on the rest of the trip.
London Waterbus Company – Service
There is live English commentary on board the ship. However, I felt it was a bit of limited. Nonetheless, you absolutely enjoy being on the channel. During boarding and unboarding, the crew was very helpful.
London Waterbus Company – My View
Especially if you have a sunny day in London and feel like having a relaxing activity, this one is one of my absolute favorite recommendations. The scenery is just so beautiful and the two stops, Little Vence and Camden Lock, are beautifully parts of the British capital. The service is fine, even though there are neither drinks nor bathrooms on board. Great experience!
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