If there’s one thing that’s better than a pub crawl it’s a canal-based booze cruise. What could be more convenient than taking your boat to the pub, and having just a short walk down the towpath to return home at the end of the night? I lived on a boat in and around London for years. If you’re planning on travelling through London this summer I can recommend three very different pubs to visit.

Assuming that you are travelling down the Grand Union from west to east you will approach London via Greenford and Harlesden before passing Kensal Green cemetery and gasworks. If you’re a boating visitor to London you’ll want to stop for at least one night in Little Venice. This can get busy and you may end up with a towpath mooring rather than a visitor mooring. However, there is a good choice of pubs in the area. You’re also a short walk from Paddington and well connected to central London for sight-seeing.

The Bridge House W2 6NG

This is recommended not so much for the pub, (which is cosy, pleasant and serves food,) but for the theatre upstairs. The Canal Café Theatre is home to the long running News Revue; a comedy sketch show, and also hosts various other comedy and theatre evenings. The audience sits comfortably at tables enjoying their drinks, and the show is always of hilarious good quality. It is advisable to book in advance.

Lock 17 NW1 8AL

Continuing your journey east you’ll travel through Maida Hill tunnel, Regents Park and London Zoo before (if you’re lucky) finding a visitor mooring in Camden. It’s an obvious choice but the canal visitor to Camden in summer will enjoy sitting outside at a table on the decking upstairs at Lock 17 (formerly known as Dingwalls) and watching other boats work through the pair of locks below. Lock 17 is also well known as a comedy and music venue, so if you manage to secure an overnight mooring you could have a proper night out.

The Island Queen N1 8HD

After passing the gas cylinders at Kings Cross and emerging from the Islington tunnel you can find yourself a pretty leafy mooring at Angel, Islington and try a little shopping in trendy Upper Street. The canal side pub around here is The Narrowboat, which has a pleasant enough canal side view, but the real gem is in Noel Road behind it. The Island Queen is one of my favourite London pubs, oozing with character, as sunshine splashes in through tall windows onto wooden floors and cosy tables.

Onwards from here you have yet to explore Victoria Park, Hackney and the River Lee before heading up and out of London towards Waltham Abbey. There’s so much to see in London, and you’ll be surprised at how tranquil and rural some parts of the canals and rivers can feel. For more waterside pubs check out The Canal and Riverside Pub Guide or 3 Grand Union Pubs Every Boater Should Visit.

If you fancy settling down on a boat in London we usually have boats for sale with London moorings, and if you have a boat for sale right now do contact us. We’d be happy to help. For some more advice get our free ebook How to Sell a Boat: The Ultimate Guide

Image credit: Beer in the Evening


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