Little Venice

Lonely Planet review

It was Lord Byron who dreamed up this evocative phrase to describe the junction between Regent’s Canal and the Grand Union Canal, a confluence overseen by beautiful mansions and navigated by colourful narrow boats. The canals go back to the early 19th century when the government was trying to develop new transport links across the country.

The Grand Union Canal actually finishes up in Birmingham (you can journey much of its entire length by bicycle): horse-drawn barges were ideal to carry coal and other bulk commodities such as grain or ice. Little Venice is an important mooring point for narrow boats (many of them permanent homes), which keeps the boating spirit bubbling away.