London Canal Cruises

We spent a very enjoyable day cruising the canals around London in May ’05 aboard the narrowboat Helix through London Canal Cruises (63 Salisbury Rd., High Barnet, Hertfordshire EN5 4JL, U.K.; tel. +44 [0] 20 8440 8962 or visit

We departed at 10 a.m. after being welcomed aboard by our hosts, Alex and Jenny, and served a glass of champagne.

From the departure point, we traveled through the Islington Tunnel and made a brief stop at the London Canal Museum, where Alex (a former chairman of the museum trust) gave us a guided tour.

Upon our reboarding Helix, Jenny was ready to serve coffee/tea and chocolate croissants. We sailed toward Camden Market, where we ascended the three Camden locks, then cruised through Regents Park and past the London Zoo. Each of us had the opportunity to drive the boat, under the direction of Alex. Eventually, we reached Little Venice, home to many colorful narrowboats.

As the journey continued, we passed by a variety of landscapes. Jenny served cocktails before we tied up for lunch, a 3-course meal which we had selected when booking the tour. Our selections included homemade chicken liver pâté appetizers; main courses of rib-eye steak or chicken kebabs, and dessert consisting of either a frozen meringue with brandy or poached apples in light syrup. The meal was served with red or white wine, and liqueurs were provided as well.

Casting off again, we continued to the North Circular Road aqueduct, where the canal carried us over one of London’s major roads. We got off the boat and watched the traffic pass below.

This was the turnaround point from which we retraced our path back to Little Venice, where we stopped for afternoon tea of homemade scones with cream and jam. We disembarked in the Camden area around 6 p.m.

This was a very enjoyable day out in London, providing a view of the city which the typical visitor does not get. The trip was even more enjoyable due to the gracious hosting of Jenny and Alex and the excellent food and drink served on board. The price was £120 (near $220) per person, with a minimum of two people and a maximum of four.


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