Quick Guide To London’s Little Venice | Canals, Boat Trips, Restaurants & Tours

Little Venice Boat Tour

A city that has inspired many a romantic poem, paintings, and architecture. Venice is glorious, seductive and timeless in its beauty and appeal. If you manage to avoid the crowds, you can spend a day getting lost in the cultural districts and marvel at historic and charming displays of art that is on offer or you can take to the streets and mingle with Venetians or maybe wine and dine where locals dine. With that picture in mind, if you scale it down a little bit(maybe a lot!) and change destination to London we should have ourselves Little Venice in the midst of a bustling London. 

Little Venice is a little village in the borough of Westminster where Regent’s Canal meets Grand Junction Canal. It’s cut between Paddington, Maida Vale and Warrick Avenue. Lined with beautiful Georgian and Victorian town houses, willow trees, and canal waterways. Beautiful architecture, some of which was designed by John Nash who designed the beautiful Regents Park that I showed you over the summer. Now, you won’t find gondolas here and the whole village doesn’t float on water like Venice, but nonetheless, Little Venice has a certain charm about it. You can take canal boat trips and navigate through the picturesque routes along Regents Canal in this affluent part of London. It’s a haven for beautiful architecture, restaurants offering to din with views of canal boats floating by. With its close proximity to Abbey Road, recording studios don’t be too surprised if you spot a musician or two in the area.

London hasn’t been blessed with much of a summer this year but when we took Little Venice on a Sunday afternoon for a late breakfast it was just perfect! Nothing better than a Sunday spent chilling on a canal side cafe, bright sun glimmering on the waters and offering some much-needed reflections of warmer tones. Water boats floating by, Londoners taking to paddle boarding and kayakers circling Browning’s island in the center of the canal. We may not have singing gondoliers on gondolas, but the charm of an area opened in 1820, is still just as enchanting now, as it might have been then. Public and private moorings with houseboats in an assortment of colours and names to amuse passers by. Little windows decorated in a range of comical, eccentric and some so elaborate and detailed in design as if to add a touch of elegance to canal boat living.  You may not be able to take a gondola ride but there are plenty of tour boats to lazily cruise you around the canal with a touch of tales of London’s old time or if you fancy something more intimate there are smaller boats you can hire with your very own captain for you and a few of your posh posse. With some even offering afternoon tea on the water – a floating afternoon tea so to speak.

Park Place Villa - Maida Vale Little Venice
Little Venice Boat Tour
Waterside Cafe Little Venice London

Waterside Cafe Little Venice London Narrowboat housing
Cute Dog on Little Venice Canal London Grand Canal
With the sun was out in its last bid before autumn takes over the show, we took advantage of the bright sunshine when it turned up in London. So old boy, a teen and myself took to having breakfast on the boat while indulging in a little people watching. We also walked along the canal on our very own tour of the back streets and the moorings. Although there are guided tours available – we opted for a little self-guide. I love Little Venice as its just busy enough with small crowds on Sundays because not a lot of tourist make their way this side of London. Most go straight to Camden Town and miss out on this lovely little pleasure trove. It’s also a great way to just chill out in the little cafes dotted around the canal.  

Getting There: Unlike Venice where visitors will most likely arrive by boats, water taxi or the Vaporetto water buses. You will get to Little Venice by Train or bus if you choose. The nearest tube stations are Warrick Avenue and Paddington Station. 

Where to eat: There is a vast array of cafes and restaurants ensuring you never leave it long between exploring and refueling. My favourite is the Little Venice Waterside Cafe. Here you can sit on the boat or on the pavement next to the boat. You can pretend to be in Venice while dining in the many restaurants or gastropub surround in the area; from a Scandinavian-inspired -The Waterway eatery on the bank of the canal to highly rated dim sum at Pearl Liang

Waterside Cafe Little Venice London Warrick Avenue Paddington
Waterside Cafe Little Venice London Warrick Avenue Paddington
Waterside Cafe Little Venice London Warrick Avenue Paddington
Food at Waterside Cafe Little Venice London Warrick Avenue Paddington
Little Venice London Warrick Avenue Paddington
Waterside Cafe Little Venice London Warrick Avenue Paddington
Things to do in Little Venice:

Active Sports:  If you are up for something a little more active or perhaps you want to work off a hearty English breakfast eaten from the many food stops along the canal, then you can work off the calories and take to the water by way of paddle boarding. This seems to have made its way to London. In my mind, I always picture this activity in more tropical and sunnier destination. Hey, what ever floats your board! There is also Kayaking if paddle boarding is not your thing.
Kayaking Paddle boarding Little Venice London Warrick Avenue Paddington
Kayaking Paddle boarding Little Venice London Warrick Avenue Paddington
Kayaking Paddle boarding Little Venice London Warrick Avenue Paddington
Tours:  You can either walk or take a boat up the canal, with several operators offering guided boat or walking tours. There are several boat companies, but one I have personally used with my friends was Jason Canal Trip which navigates the picturesque routes along Regents canal from Little Venice to Camden Lock, passing London Zoo and Regents Park surrounding areas. The tour also comes with live commentary lasting about 45 minutes. You can buy a single or return ticket if you want a return journey back to Little Venice or you can stay and mingle and check out Camden Market. You can also walk from Little Venice all the way to Camden Lock. The walk is about 30 minutes.

Canal Museum: This is not in Little Venice but still on the canals by in Kings Cross. You can also head to the London Canal Museum which is housed in a nineteenth-century ice warehouse. The museum looks at the history of the waterways and those who worked in them. It also includes an exhibit of the little-known trade in ice imported from Norway which was once stored in the huge wells beneath the museum. From here you can also walk to Camden Lock or head back to Little Venice

Little Venice London Warrick Avenue Paddington
Jasons Boat Tours Venice London Warrick Avenue Paddington

What’s Nearby: Edgeware Road
A short work from Little Venice is Edgware Road, where, if you are into your Arab food then there is no need to fly off to Morocco, Egypt or Lebanon to feast or experience the sensation of being in the Arab world. The whole road is lined up with enough choice you satisfy any appetite or craving for a Shawarma or falafel.

Boat Tours walking Little Venice London Warrick Avenue Paddington

Boat Tours Walking Little Venice London Warrick Avenue Paddington
Tours Boats and WALKING Little Venice London Warrick Avenue Paddington
Grand Canals Little Venice London Warrick Avenue Paddington

Where To Stay In Little Venice + London River/Canal Side Accommodation.

Little Venice sits along the Regents Canal. Its also close to Paddington which is a fairly busy area(due to being close to Paddington Station – one of London’s main transport hubs) and not one that is easy on the budget but you will definitely find something for everyone. For hotels near Little Venice check out the list of hotels in Camden, PaddingtonRegents Park and Kings Cross. You want to specifically stay on a boat in London then check out The Good Hotel(former dutch prison) and Sunborn Hotel that are both beautiful hotel boats located on the Royal Victoria Docks. Another one is an Airbnb called Jessie the Narrow Boat. You can get £14 off Airbnb with my link.  For a full list of London accommodation option covering all budgets and includes apartments, hotels, hostels, and boats in London check out this list of hotels in London.

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  1. September 16, 2014 / 2:22 pm

    Waterfront restaurants with outdoor seating are my absolute favourite. I love people-watching too so I know I would enjoy exploring London's Little Venice. Have you gone paddle boarding along the canal yet? I've only tried it once before and it was a lot tougher than I imagined so I think kayaking would be more my style.


    • September 22, 2014 / 12:35 pm

      Hey Danielle, nope I have not tried the paddle boarding yet. I actually didnt know we had it going in London until I was down by canals. I am definitely keen to try it though. Just depends on our amazing weather here in London.

  2. September 16, 2014 / 4:05 pm

    Wow, this is lovely! And all found in the middle of London? Looks like I might have to visit again!!!

  3. September 16, 2014 / 4:36 pm

    I think it's kind of cool you can paddle board and kayak here. I wouldn't imagine that in a place like this. It seems like a lovely part of London to explore. Thanks for sharing!

    • September 22, 2014 / 12:37 pm

      Brick Lane is beautiful too. I usually head over the for a dose of street art with good food thrown in.

  4. September 16, 2014 / 9:46 pm

    London is one of my favorite cities in the world, but I had no idea about Little Venice. Looks awesome! I'll have to check it out next time I'm there 🙂

  5. September 16, 2014 / 9:55 pm

    I can see why they call it Little Venice. Looks like you had nice weather for your visit as well 🙂

  6. September 16, 2014 / 10:11 pm

    Ooooh! I've lived in London for 20 of my 26 years and i've never been. You've now convinced me to go 🙂 It looks gorgeous!

    • September 22, 2014 / 12:39 pm

      I know, there are many places in London even as close walking distance that I have never been to. Just one of those things as we take things for granted when they are so close and easily accessible.

  7. September 16, 2014 / 11:41 pm

    It is lovely place to explore we just need good weather to enjoy the place.

  8. September 17, 2014 / 8:39 am

    I'm glad tourists don't know about this place. Makes it perfect for us 🙂 I had never heard about this place before, but I'll sure keep them in mind. I wouldn't even mind if the weather wasn't that great.

  9. September 17, 2014 / 9:40 am

    Lovely photos as always! When I saw them I wouldn´t say that was London. Would love to go there 🙂

  10. September 17, 2014 / 3:13 pm

    Great pictures, nice to read an article like this. Who knew there was yet another little gem to be discovered here 🙂

  11. September 18, 2014 / 3:03 am

    Wow I never even knew about this! And it's in the middle of London?? Wow – I'm there in two weeks and I'll definitely try to find it 🙂 Beautiful photos!

  12. September 18, 2014 / 10:53 am

    It's a lovely area – it seems a world away from the centre of London!

  13. September 18, 2014 / 12:00 pm

    It´s the first time I hear about Little Venice but it seems like a place to definitely check out. Great pictures.

  14. September 18, 2014 / 1:43 pm

    I totally misread your title and got really confused the second paragraph in! Haha! You are so right though it is such a picturesque, pretty area to soak up the atmosphere. I've always dreamed of living on a canal boat there! (Although I think the dream will be better than the practicality!) We may be getting some late summer weather in September too, so it's a perfect time to head back down there!

    • September 22, 2014 / 12:54 pm

      Maybe you could just rent one for the day and see how that goes? You never know. You might just like it 😀

  15. September 18, 2014 / 3:43 pm

    Really feels like you're somewhere else than London, especially with the bright blue sky and no rain lol

  16. September 19, 2014 / 8:05 am

    oh wow…I didn't know that there was a little Venice in London…it looks stunning!

  17. September 19, 2014 / 9:16 am

    It's funny how there are so many little Venices all over the world.. I wasn't aware of the one in London, though! To be honest, it reminds me more of Amsterdam than Venice 🙂 Anyway, it looks great, especially as you were lucky and got some sunshine in your photos 🙂 And the paddle boarding there? That's really cool..!

  18. September 19, 2014 / 3:15 pm

    Oh my gosh! I had no idea this even existed, it sounds like such a fun way to spend an afternoon/evening. I just love all the random treasures you find in big cities like this.

  19. September 20, 2014 / 8:35 am

    I love waterfront restaurant that offer some seating outside. It's just perfect to have a look around, relax for a while and take the sun for a bit. That looks lovely!

  20. September 20, 2014 / 10:31 pm

    Thanks for the lovely trip down memory lane Bianca. I lived in London for 5 years and Little Venice was one of my fave places, where I spent many a Sunday afternoons. I can't believe you can stand up paddle board there now!

    • September 22, 2014 / 1:15 pm

      It certainly is pretty. Shame I am not down this part of London often.

  21. September 21, 2014 / 6:47 pm

    It has been years since I have visited, it's such a lovely place isn't it? Loving the autumn sun, and that breakfast!! 😀

  22. September 23, 2014 / 9:11 am

    I've never heard of such a place but I must visit! Thank you for sharing!

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