The long promenade along London’s Regent’s Canal isn’t one of the best-known walks in the city, but definitely one of the loveliest. The canal stretches across London, and walking alongside it is a peaceful, fun way to discover new places in the capital. Walking from Camden in north London to Hackney Wick in the east, you’ll pass plenty of good restaurants, food markets, cafés and pubs. Here are the very best ones along the (water) way.
Market, Street Food, $$$
Perfectly located right by the canal, the West Yard food market is run by Camden Market. The charming, cobblestoned yard is full of different food stalls and open seven days a week, selling everything from arepas (Venezuelan wraps) to calamari, mac and cheese and curries. West Yard gets busy in the summertime, but it’s a great option for when you want to grab something either to eat while walking or to enjoy sitting by the canal. The wide variety of food on sale also means that it’s a good choice for groups.
A short walk up from the Regent’s Canal, inside Camden Market, you’ll find The Cheese Bar. It’s exactly what it sounds like: an homage to cheese in any shape or form. All cheese is sourced from UK-based farms and urban cheesemakers, and you can mix and match smaller snacks (like jalapeño poppers and cheesy puffs) with grilled cheese sandwiches and main courses including fondue, corn tortilla quesadilla and blue cheese raclette. If you’re in London during the week, their Fondue Thursdays make for a gooey, fun way to spend an evening.
Bar, Restaurant, Fusion, Halal, Street Food, Indian, $$$
Courtesy of Dishoom
Dishoom is many Londoners’ favourite restaurant and has a number of restaurants in the capital. One of them is located next to the Regent’s Canal in King’s Cross, on Granary Square. There are plenty of food options around the area – food market KERB can also be found here – but Dishoom will always be one of the best. It can get very, very busy, so be prepared to queue, but Dishoom’s wonderful Persian-influenced Indian food is well worth the wait.
Tom Dixon is one of the UK’s most well-known designers, and since 2018 it’s one of the companies that have their headquarters in Coal Drops Yard. As well as a stylish store that showcases his famous products, it’s also home to Dixon’s restaurant Coal Office. It serves fresh, Mediterranean food by chef Assaf Granit and has a beautiful outdoor terrace – as well as Dixon designed-tableware, naturally – making it great for dates and special occasions.
To keep walking along the canal you have to come off the path in Angel, where it goes underground for a short stretch. Take the opportunity to visit Kipferl, London’s premier Austrian coffee shop. It’s set in the beautiful Camden Passage, just a few minutes from Angel tube station and close to where the canal begins again. The restaurant serves classic Austrian dishes like dumplings, wienerschnitzel and beef goulash in a charming, wood-panelled space that will make you feel like you’re in Vienna.
Plaquemine Lock has a pretty unique selling point: the pub serves Cajun and Creole food, and the menu will delight anyone who’s into cooking from the American South. Gorge yourself on gumbo, jambalaya, shrimp and grits, oysters and fried chicken, and finish the meal with one of its authentic pecan pies. The pub is nicely located right by the canal, and its live jazz events (usually on Wednesdays and at the weekend) bring some of that Big Easy swing to London.
One of the most charming cafés by the canal, Towpath is closed during the winter months, but during the rest of the year it opens its shutters and you can sit right by the canal and watch the world go by. The ever-changing menu usually has good vegetarian options as well as feel-good classics like grilled cheese sandwiches, and Towpath makes good coffee, too. The no-frills vibe and its popularity means you may have to wait for food, but the location, cute design of the space and quality of the cooking make Towpath worth setting aside some time for.
In the summertime, the tables outside Market Café fill up with people drinking Aperol Spritz in the sunshine and enjoying the restaurant’s food. On the menu are European favourites like moules marinières with frites, as well as fast-food options like hot dogs. Inside there’s a cute retro vibe, with patterned wallpaper and sturdy wooden furniture. Stop by for dinner or lunch during the week and on Sundays, and if you’re on Broadway Market on a Saturday, Market Café is a perfect pit stop for a drink before exploring the street market.
Victoria Park is a magnificent East London destination, a gigantic park built in the 19th century to create an open space for the people in the crowded East End. It remains a wonder – you can spend hours wandering around here. And the Regent’s Canal runs right by it, making the park’s Pavilion Café great for a pitstop. As well as its tasty homemade bread (there are now three more Pavilion bakeries in London), it also serves locally sourced, plant-based dishes and Sri Lankan food. The location, right by the West Boating Lake in Victoria Park, isn’t bad either.
Right on the edge of Hackney Wick, Crate Brewery overlooks the canal and the Olympic Stadium. The brewery and pizza place has been a popular neighbourhood joint since it opened in 2012, in time for the Olympics, and puts on regular brewery tours and beer testings. As well as the tasty stone-baked pizzas, you can try out zero-waste food in upstairs restaurant Silo. If spirits are more your thing, Crate’s Alfred Le Roy, a barge moored outside the brewery, makes a mean cocktail and offers sharing food platters.