Navigating your way around a city can be part of the fun when you're going sightseeing. And what better way to see the beautiful capital of England, London, than from a quiet vantage point where you can travel at your own pace.
Although they can be efficient ways to see the city, tubes and buses can get busy. It makes sense to reclaim modes of travel that were popular in the past, such as narrowboats and make your stay as peaceful as you would like. As these waterways were important industrial routes they are ideally placed to take in the city's sights and have the added bonus of having pubs and hotels nearby.
1. Little Venice
A lot is given away in Little Venice's name! This is where the Grand Union Canal meets the Regent's Canal in West London. The area is often synonymous with tranquillity, up-market dining, drinking and London hotels. The quiet streets are lined with picturesque period houses and weeping willows that dip into the waterway. Colourful barges and houseboats that have been turned into cafes add more charm to this area, which comes into its own on lazy, sunny days.
2. Regent's Park
Onwards from Little Venice lies the historic Regent's Park. You can reach this by taking a narrowboat tour or by walking/cycling a small distance along the towpath. Initially set aside as a hunting ground by Henry VIII, this London oasis has come a long way since his reign. The sculptured gardens and water features continue the tranquillity you'll find in Little Venice. There are also regular puppet shows, an outdoor theatre and food outlets.
3. London Zoo
Owned by the Zoological Society of London, the zoo is also located along Regent's Canal. Visitors have been coming to marvel at all the different animals since the 1800s. The society's commitment to conservation is clear. Even celebrities like Dermot O'Leary have been getting in on the act by planting trees. The zoo says there are over 760 species living at the attraction, including meerkats, tigers, lions and monkeys.
Forget peace and tranquillity if you're heading to Camden. This borough is a feast for all your senses and is located further along the Regent's Canal. It's a bright, loud, clashing of cultures, where the high street meets alternative outlets that sell anything from comedy t-shirts and vintage wear. It's a people watching delight where if you're not shopping for antiques or battered first edition novels you can tuck into tasty street food.
5. The Olympic Park
Towards the east of London you can follow the canal down the River Lea navigation to Old Ford Lock where the Olympic Park is situated. Tours of the site can be booked so you can see how the massive site is progressing. Afternoon walks take in the sporting venues and also feature talks on sustainability. If you still have energy left after exploring the park then head to Westfield Stratford City for shopping, just a few stops away on the Docklands Light Railway.