We Found Little Venice And Camden Market In London
The first day we land in Europe after leaving Toronto is usually a slower day as we struggle through jet lag and the lack of sleep on the plane. On our first day in London, we took the suggestion of the chatty front desk staff and walked the short distance to Little Venice And Camden Market. It was kinda weird to see this reminder of Italy just before we were heading to Italy for 10 weeks!
At this point, the canal widens out at Little Venice forming a triangle shaped basin which is where the canal tour boats leave for Camden Market.
There is a small island draped in weeping willows in the middle where Robert Browning used to write, which is now a bird sanctuary. Forgetting how early it really was when you land in London at 6am, we waited for the tours to begin for the day at a little floating cafe called the Waterside Cafe.
The London Waterbus provides a bus-like experience in a closed boat, so we opted instead to take a narrated trip with Jason’s Canal Boat Tour (which would have been free rather than 9£ if we had gone after we picked up our London Pass .
It was a gentle ride down the historic canal in a boat that had long ago been a coal boat. We passed large numbers of assorted types of boats with permanent mooring spots along the canal (for the mere cost of £7000 per year).
The bridges were old and interesting. Many still showed the rope burns from when horses used to pull the boats up and down the canals along the towpath. You can still walk along most of the towpath (barred only where permanent boat.
Camden Lock Along the London Canal
Arriving at Camden Lock, we walked around the market, first taking in the smells from the food stalls and then browsing thru a mix of artsy crafty booths intermixed with tourist trash.
I took the time to add my entry to the chalk board bucket list – trying to inspire at least one person with my choice (“diving in Wakitobi”).
Leaving the market area, we had lunch nearby at Poppies, voted best fish and chips for 2014. It looked like a diner straight out of the 1950’s, with waitresses dressed in strange costumes. We shared a plate that must have had a full fish on it and still left fries behind.
Refreshed we continued our stroll, marvelling at the characters on the streets and the shops decorated to draw your attention.
Wandering over the actual Camden Lock, we watched the lock in action as the staff opened and closed the gates by hand.
Heading Our Way Back By Public Transit
When we started to slow down we headed to find a public transit way back. London public transit is extensive, with bus and subway lines crisscross sing the city. A helpful transit greeter at the tube stop sent us with bus instructions. He assured us that our “contactless” credit and debit cards from Canada could be used on the bus. Of course not a card in our wallets worked! We walked all the way back to the tube stop to buy some kind of a pass only to find it closed up tight at 2pm – some Sunday anomaly or some kind of rotating strike? We finally found a convenience store and bought an Oyster card to load and went back to the bus stop to wait for a bus. One bus and one subway ride later we arrived back with a short walk to the hotel.
It was a nice leisurely way to spend our first day in London slowly on the canal visiting Little Venice And Camden Market – before crashing and sleeping the sleep of the dead for 10 hours! We would certainly remember this when we hit Venice in Italy in a few weeks!
Have you experienced Little Venice And Camden Market in London? What interesting characters did you meet when you got to Camden?