Walking Along Regent’s Canal from Mile End to Victoria Park

I’ve already featured walking along Regent’s Canal in my best things to do in London post, but that was at a more northern section, close to Regent’s Park. As Regent’s Canal was right next to my Roomorama accommodation in Stepney during my trip to London in August 2012 I walked it in both directions, south to Limehouse Basin and north towards Victoria Park, described in this post.

Just past Mile End station, I spotted some unusual sculptures.

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Sculptures close to Regent’s Canal path

I was really glad that I went over to the sculptures, because just beyond them was a beautiful lily pond in the Terrace Garden. There was a modern building behind the pond which was closed, but I could see workmen inside. I later discovered that this is the Ecology Pavilion and it’s available for rent for private functions and events. That’s a pity in a way, as I think it’d make a great cafe/restaurant.

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Lily pond at the Terrace Garden

A bit further north along the Regent’s Canal path there some more sculptures.

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Sculpture of horse by Regent’s Canal

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Sculpture of woman near Regent’s Canal

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Barge and sculptures at Regent’s Canal

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Sculpture of fish by Regent’s Canal

The Hertford Union Canal, also known as Duckett’s Canal, branches off the Regent’s Canal just before Victoria Park.

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Hertford Union Canal

When I reached Victoria Park, I consulted the park map to find the nearest public toilets and made my way over to them by the Pavilion Cafe. The toilets were some of the worst I’d ever had to use.  The permanent toilets were under renovation and a mobile toilet van was there. The toilets were in desperate need of a good clean, there was no soap or toilet paper. It was quite incongruous, as the adjacent cafe was quite upmarket and very popular. The cafe is privately run, but I assume the toilets are (supposed to be) maintained by the Tower Hamlets local authority. I emailed them to complain about the state of the toilets. I received a reply from the Parks Officer the following day with an explanation (pasted below) and an apology.

“The underground sump pump which removes the waste failed and although an order was immediately raised to fit a new pump Comm Park Rangers were not informed to totally close the toilets to the public as is our normal practice with such matters.   The new pump has since been fitted and the cleansing contractor has been instructed to carry out three cleans per day .”
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Sculptures in pond at Victoria Park

I learned that Victoria Park is the oldest public park in London, opening in the 1840s.  There used to be a Lido at the park and the following day I saw the Lido clock in the Ragged School Museum.

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Victoria Park Lido clock at the Ragged School Museum

The kids play area looked fantastic; there was something like a large suspended swinging log which seated around ten kids. I couldn’t get any close up shots of the play area as there were so many children around.

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Kid’s Play area at Victoria Park

There were some beautiful flower beds.

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Flowers in Victoria Park

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Pagoda in Victoria Park

I was starting to get a bit peckish, so I asked a couple of locals if they could recommend anywhere to eat, preferably with some outdoor seating. They suggested that I walk along the Hertford Canal where I’d find a Thai restaurant and a pub. I didn’t like the look of either of them; so walked a bit further to Roman Road where I found a nice little cafe, the Zealand Road Coffee Shop. I had a tasty Warmed Goat’s Cheese Salad served with flatbread and a mug of tea which cost £6.50 in total. The cafe had free WiFi but I didn’t try it. There’s one very clean toilet behind the counter.

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Warmed Goat’s Cheese Salad at Zealand Rd Coffee Shop

I didn’t bother rejoining the path along Regent’s Canal, as I needed to do some food shopping at Mile End. I noticed the Mile End Art Pavilion as I headed toward the crossroads by Mile End station. It looked as though it was closed at around 4.30pm, so you should check opening hours before you visit.

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Sculpture of dog near Mile End Station

I really enjoyed the walk along Regent’s Canal from Mile End to Victoria Park.  Of course, decent weather makes time spent mainly outdoors a lot more appealing. I’m glad that I stuck to my resolution of doing things I hadn’t done before and exploring areas outside central London during my trip.

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About Karen Bryan

Hello, I'm Karen Bryan, I created Europe a la Carte in 2002 to highlight the best places to visit in Europe with travel tips, photos and no fluff reviews. I’m also an artist; my artworks are often inspired by my travels