Little Venice is a beautiful quaint district in West London with a scenic and quirky appeal. It’s full of waterside eateries, lush greenery and picturesque canal boats.
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Even though it’s situated in the heart of the busy capital, it has a lovely local feel to it. I love the area as its great for summer walks along the canal to Camden or Kings Cross.
If you’re looking for a change of pace and are eager to discover a quieter side of the city, Little Venice should be high on your list of places to visit. Although the typical London tourist attractions are great, there’s just something to said about the unique and low-key ones too.
This is your inclusive guide to exploring Little Venice and the immediate area. It includes everything you need to know, from where to eat to top things to do in Little Venice London and commonly asked questions.
The Little Venice area is situated in the City of Westminster. It is made up of parts of the Maida Vale and Paddington residential neighbourhoods/areas. It’s situated where the Grand Union Canal and Regent’s Canal meet in North London. Little Venice is one of London’s hidden gems.
There are a few ways to reach Little Venice. Warwick Avenue Tube Station (this is the closest tube station) is just a five-minute walk away. Once you depart the station, head south on Warwick Avenue, and you’ll be in Little Venice in just minutes.
You can also take the Paddington station to Little Venice. Once you arrive, depart the station from the Grand Union Canal exit and walk north for about ten minutes, following the signs to Little Venice. Maida Vale Tube Station is a third station nearby that’s less than a ten-minute walk away.
The bus lines: 18, 187, 27, 36, and 46 also stop near Little Venice.
You can also walk from Paddington Central along the Regent’s Canal Towpath to the Little Venice around. This will take around 15 to 20 minutes and is great way to see more along the canal.
If you’re coming from Camden Town, a fun way to travel to Little Venice is on a scenic water bus along Regent’s Canal. You can also walk from Camden Town to Little Venice along the Regent’s Canal.
Little Venice, London, is full of secret gems that showcase a different side of the city. It’s perfect for an eventful day (or two) of sightseeing. Here are some of the top attractions the area is known for.
1. Rembrandt Gardens
The Rembrandt Gardens enjoy a picturesque location along the Regent’s Canal. The site was laid out in the 1950s, and its original name was Warwick Avenue Gardens. In 1975 the name changed to celebrate the 700th anniversary of the founding of Amsterdam, the ‘Venice to the North.’
A ceremony was held where the Dutch gifted thousands of tulips to Westminster City Council. Following suit, the park was renamed in honour of Rembrandt, one of the Netherlands’ most celebrated artists.
The gardens are a lovely scenic spot to take a break from the hustle and bustle of London. You can sit and admire the ornamental flower beds and shrubs next to the water. Or, take a walk along the canal and marvel at the mirror effect that the lake has against the colourful boats.
2. The Puppet Theatre Barge
If you’re looking for a unique experience in London, the Puppet Theatre Barge will provide just that. From the outside, the theatre looks like a regular canal boat, but once you step aboard you’ll be transported to a magical world of stories and make-believe.
Enjoy a live performance by string marionette dolls. The venue hosts child-friendly shows that are enjoyable for all ages. It’s surprisingly spacious and can seat up to fifty people. Hot and cold drinks, sweets and fruit are sold at the venue to enjoy during the puppet show.
Although not required, it’s a good idea to book your ticket online in advance to secure your spot.
This Little Venice canal boat provides an entertaining experience for the young and the young at heart.
3. Regent’s Canal – Camden Lock Walk
For a good stretch of the legs and a great sightseeing opportunity, take the Little Venice to Camden Walk. It’s an easy route that’s about 2.5 miles long (one way) and should take you just under an hour. Unless, however, you want to stop for a coffee and pastry at one of the charming waterside cafes you pass along the way.
The canal side walk follows the serene Regents Canal. It travels next to quirky boats, small bridges, and charming old houses, all of which are outlined by gorgeous, lush greenery.
Part of the path also passes by a section of Regents Park Zoo. If you’re lucky, you might see a few animals out as you walk by their canal-side enclosures.
You’ll finish at Camden Lock in Camden Town. This lively area of London is also worth checking out. It houses one of London’s most popular markets, the Camden Market, you’ll find more information about that below.
4. Little Venice Boat Trip
Alternatively, if you don’t feel like walking, you can also hop on a Little Venice canal boat tour that travels from Little Venice to Camden Town down the Regent’s Canal.
This is another excellent way to explore the area. Sit back and relax while you admire the stately homes, colourful canal boats, and idyllic gardens that the area is known for.
Since the boat tours include commentary, you’ll be able to learn more about the history of Little Venice from your guide. The boat trip takes you on a nice leisurely ride that lasts for about 45 minutes.
5. Canal Cafe Theatre
The Canal Cafe Theatre is a 60-seat canal boat theatre that’s been around since the ’70s. It specialises in comedy, cabaret and theatre shows. This independent theatre has hosted some big names, including John Oliver and Miranda Hart.
One of the most popular shows the venue puts on is NewsRevue. This politically themed performance runs regularly and holds the Guinness World Record as the longest-running live comedy.
The boat may be small, but it’s the total package. There’s even a bar in the theatre for purchasing drinks to enjoy during the show.
6. The Canalway Cavalcade
The Canalway Cavalcade is a lively canal festival that takes place in Little Venice each year. It usually happens at the end of April or the beginning of May (around the May Bank Holiday weekend). This very British event celebrates life on London’s waterways.
Many colourful barges flock to the festival, but you don’t have to have a boat to join in on the fun. There’s a range of unique craft stalls, pop up pubs, and mouth-watering street food for visitors to enjoy.
There’s also live music and Morris dancing, a unique form of English folk dance. The cheerful atmosphere is contagious and fun for all ages.
7. Alan Turing Plaque
Alan Turing is one of the great heroes from history. He was a British mathematician who lived from 1912 to 1954. Turing played a pivotal role in breaking Nazi cyphers during WWII. The film, The Imitation Game, starring Benedict Cumberbatch, is based on his life.
He was a brilliant man who also happened to be gay. However, he had the misfortune of living during a time when homosexuality was illegal in the UK. He was prosecuted for being gay, which led to him being barred from working. His untimely death came at 41, following suicide by cyanide poisoning.
In 2013 his criminal conviction was posthumously pardoned by Queen Elizabeth. A law was also created in his name, known as “Alan Turing’s law”, which erased all historical convictions for homosexuality in the UK.
There is a small blue plaque, known as the Alan Turing Plaque at 2 Warrington Crescent in Maida Vale. It marks the site where Turing was born.
Little Venice is a relatively small section of London, which means you’ll probably be able to see the main attractions in a day or two. But if you’re keen to spend some more time exploring the area, here are a few nearby attractions that are worth checking out.
8. Paddington Green
Paddington Green is less than a mile away from Little Venice. This quiet green space is the oldest area of Paddington. It features St Mary on Paddington Green Church, which was built in 1791.
The church houses a graveyard known as St Mary’s Gardens, where several notable residents are buried, including actress Sarah Siddons and sculptor Joseph Nollekens.
Bring a picnic or grab a takeaway meal from one of the restaurants nearby. There are plenty of tall trees that offer shade to relax under.
Even though this public green space is in the centre of busy London, it still allows you to spend some peaceful time outdoors.
9. Regent’s Park
Regent’s Park is about one mile from Little Venice and is one of the nicest parks in London. The walk that takes you there is pretty much a straight shot. This is one of the capital’s royal parks, which means it’s very well maintained.
Take a scenic stroll and see the formal gardens and sculptures, find a nice grassy spot for a picnic, or find a tall tree to rest under with a takeaway coffee.
The park also houses some great London attractions. If you’re a fan of animals, the ZSL London Zoo is located inside the park. It opened in 1828, making it the oldest scientific zoo in the world. On a nice day, it’s a lovely place to spend an afternoon wandering around.
You can see a live performance at the Regent’s Park Open Air Theatre. Nestled between the trees and flowers, the magical setting will make seeing a show even more exciting. Pre-theatre food and drinks are also available for purchase.
10. Camden Market
If you take the Little Venice walk or boat tour to Camden, the route ends just a stone’s throw from the Camden Market, also known as the Camden Lock Market. This lively multicultural market is one of the city’s most popular.
From vintage fashion to handmade jewellery, unique gifts and the typical UK themed souvenirs, it provides a shopping experience unlike any other.
Then there’s the food. You’ll find no shortage of mouth-watering street food options. It might feel a little overwhelming trying to choose something to eat, but many of the vendors will offer samples for you to try before you buy.
Most of the stalls in the market are open every day from 10:00 to 18:00.
11. Primrose Hill
The pleasant neighbourhood of Primrose Hill is about two miles from Little Venice. You can easily walk the whole way. Part of the path travels along the Regents Canal and through the affluent St Johns Wood neighbourhood.
Similar to Little Venice, Primrose Hill is another lovely low-key area of the capital full of local charm. It contains some great independent cafes, chic boutiques, charming tea rooms, and more.
It also contains a park (Primrose Hill Park) that features one of the best views in London. Climb to the top of the park’s Primrose Hill and you’ll be treated to picturesque panoramas of the city.
Visit during sunrise or sunset for an exceptionally magical view of the capital.
12. Everyman Maida Vale
Everyman Maida Vale is a small 2-screen cinema with lots of charm and character. It’s just a quick 10-minute stroll from Little Venice. The venue screens mainstream movies and new releases.
There’s a full drink and food menu offered, and you can indulge in a pizza, burger, or hotdog. You can also order one of their sharing plates to enjoy with friends. Of course, popcorn and sweets are also on the menu as well as build your own ice cream sundaes.
Thanks to the comfy sofa seating, you’ll feel like you’re at home watching a film.
13. Abbey Road Crossing
Abbey Road Crossing is about a 15 minute’s walk from Little Venice. This is the spot where the Beatles shot their famous zebra crossing album cover. You can recreate the picture yourself; just be mindful of traffic, as it’s a public road.
If you’re a hardcore fan of the band, you can also take a Beatles tour of London and explore more of the places in the city associated with the famous group.
Little Venice is a place you’re going to want to bring your appetite to. The area is full of little local gems that serve up mouthwatering food with some exceptional views of the area.
Whether you’re looking for traditional British food, cafe fare, or just a strong cup of coffee, you’ll find lots of lovely eateries along the water.
London Shell Co is a floating restaurant and bar. The menu is mostly made up of fresh British seafood. Some of the mouth-watering menu items include Cornish Seabass, Hand Dived Scallops, and Smoked Haddock. Each dish pairs wonderfully with the carefully curated wine and bubby list.
The canal boat sits still most of the week, but on certain days it leaves the dock to cruise around the quiet waters of the Regent’s Canal. Enjoy a delightful meal while travelling down one of London’s most picturesque waterways.
The Summerhouse is another great place to go for seafood. Overlooking the calm canal, this boat restaurant features indoor and outdoor seating. The menu includes seafood favourites like crispy calamari, seared scallops, and seafood risotto.
The atmosphere is very casual and inviting. It’s a pleasant place to unwind with a glass of wine and fresh seafood and watch the boats slowly go by.
The Warwick Castle is an oak-panelled pub that’s been around since 1867. Their menu is simple but caters to all taste buds.
From dishes like the classic English fish and chips or sausage and mash to vegan burgers and curry, all diets will be satisfied.
If you’re looking for authentic British food in the area, they offer an all-day Sunday roast each week. Indulge in pork belly, chicken, beef, roast potatoes, maple-roasted carrots, Yorkshire pudding and gravy. There’s also a vegan Sunday roast for plant-based eaters.
The Waterside Cafe is a quaint and cosy floating restaurant in the heart of Little Venice. It offers seating both inside on the canal boat, as well as on the pavement right outside where the boat is docked. Wherever you sit, you’ll be treated to perfect views of the canal and all its glory.
Pop in for their delicious all-day breakfast and a coffee. They also offer cafe fares, like soup, salad, and paninis. For a traditional English experience, order the famous Waterside Cream Tea, which includes fresh scones, strawberry jam, clotted cream, and a hot pot of tea.
Cafe Laville is another charming eatery that overlooks the calm canal of Little Venice. It specialises in Italian and Mediterranean cuisine, with dishes like pizza, pasta, and focaccia sandwiches.
They also have breakfast items, including omelettes, eggs benedict, and English breakfast. Each will pair wonderfully with your morning cup of coffee. If you’re not hungry, you can simply swing by for a drink and to watch the boats slowly pass by.
The waterside Waterway Restaurant is a bistro-style eatery right next to the Grand Union Canal.
During the warm months, you can’t beat the lively atmosphere from the outdoor terrace.
When it gets a bit chilly, the indoor seating area features large windows where you’ll be able to admire beautiful views of the water.
Their modern European menu includes items like a confit duck burger, braised lamb shank, and a grilled fillet of salmon.
There are also options for vegan and vegetarian diets, like a superfood salad, halloumi and portobello burger, and a plant-based burger.
Considering Little Venice, London is a quieter area of the city, it doesn’t attract as much hype as the other districts. For this reason, you might not have heard too much about it. Not to worry, here are the answers to some frequently asked questions about Little Venice, so you’ll be fully prepared when you visit.
Like many other areas of London, Little Venice is a very walkable part of the city. In fact, this is the best way to explore the neighbourhood.
You’ll be able to walk between all of the main sites, so there’ll be no need for public transportation during your visit. Unless of course, you want to explore the area from the waterways on a canal boat.
Little Venice is a very safe area of the city, especially considering its proximity to central London. Even if you’re travelling alone in London, you shouldn’t have a problem during your visit.
Little Venice is a somewhat recent name for this area of London. It wasn’t until after the Second World War that it even began to be widely used.
The neighbourhood had been referred to as ‘London’s Venice’ for about a century before “Little” was added on.
The origins of the name ‘Little Venice’ are widely disputed. Many people attribute the poet Robert Browning, who lived in the area between 1862 and 1887, with adding ‘Little’ to the name.
It’s believed that he was the first to refer to the area as ‘Little Venice’, and after a while, the name just stuck.
As you’ve probably gathered from reading this guide, Little Venice is absolutely worth visiting. There are so many local spots to explore, and the idyllic scenery makes you feel as if you’re far away from the concrete jungle that is London.
If you’re visiting London and looking for unique things to do, Little Venice has some great attractions to check out. This picturesque pocket of the city has a lovely sense of community and is a breath of fresh air from the craziness of the capital.
Take a Little Venice canal walk and see the waterways lined with tall trees and stately Georgian townhouses. Pop into a cosy cafe or a scenic eatery for a traditional British meal. See a show at a canal boat theatre.
Afterwards, you can keep on exploring the area around Little Venice and discover more of London’s lovely sites.