There are hundreds of famous streets and districts throughout London, each packed full of history and culture, but if you don’t mind potentially getting a little wet, then there is a lot to discover off dry land too. You can find a series of canals and rivers that intertwine throughout the city, just a stone’s throw from the Park Grand Hotel Paddington. There is a lot of history to discover, and a lot of activities to take part in, when you venture onto the water. So here is our guide to London’s waterways, hot off the press from our Paddington Hotel experts.
For centuries the river Thames has served as a distribution channel for business dealers and traders looking to transport goods. Even before that, the river was used as a source of drinking water for the citizens of London, which soon ended after the integration of pumped water supplies. The 220 mile long river was used to dispose of the city’s waste, leading to over-pollution and unbearable odour problems.
Today the snaking river is used by tourists and locals who want to see London from a different point of view. There are several companies offering tours along the Thames, while teaching you about the history of the city. If you want a more personal experience then you can hop into a canoe or paddle-boat and slowly make your way down the river and see the diversity of London’s architecture and natural beauty firsthand.
The Thames is home to all sorts of different plants and marine life. If you’re lucky enough with your timing then you may spot a seal or two on your travels down river. In recent years these sightings have become more common, with dolphins and even whales popping their heads up occasionally.
London is full of canal systems that run through the city. These systems were relied on during the Second World War for the transport of essential equipment and supplies. Many of the waterways were created centuries ago as trade routes for pilgrim travellers. There is much to be seen along the canals of London. Hopping in a barge will let you experience a side of London that most people rarely get to see. The great thing about the city is its diversity, both in culture and architecture. Travelling along the waterways will open your eyes to a world of natural beauty and urban design.
During the building of the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park, a number of rivers and canals in the surrounding area were cleaned up and restored. This is a perfect area for a cruise along the water, giving you the chance to see the amazing buildings that hosted the 2012 games.
If you want to learn more about the waterways of London before you spend the day exploring it, then it’s definitely worth taking a trip to the London Canal Museum. There you can find out more about the history of the city’s canal systems and how they were used as trade routes.
If you want to experience a different side to London and find out more about its history as a trading port, then be sure to explore the city’s waterways during your stay at our Paddington Hotel.