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Places to take children

on London's canals

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The Family Zone

canal scene
There are some interesting places to take children on London's canals. Remember that children should be properly supervised by a responsible adult when near water. Have fun safely! The water is generally around four feet deep - enough for a small child to drown in. Falling in can also be dangerous if irresponsible people have dropped large items of rubbish into the water. Children should never be allowed to run around at locks or to dangle their legs over the side where there are boats in use.

Why not visit some of the sites of London's canals with all the family. Here are some suggestions:

London Canal Museum. The museum tells the story of the canals and children can go inside a narrowboat cabin and find out about the lives of the people who lived in crowded, difficult conditions with a whole family. See the canal art, model boats, and try your hand at making knots. Watch fascinating archive film, and much more. See Visitor information for more details.

Hanwell Locks. The largest flight of locks in London, the six locks of the Hanwell flight and two Norwood Locks are located at Norwood Green in the west of the City. The walk up or down the flight has a very green, rural feel, with open space one side and the former Hanwell Asylum, now part of Ealing Hospital. The side ponds are being restored - they were reserves of water which were used to reduce the amount used when a boat goes up or down the flight. The six Hanwell locks are a Scheduled Ancient Monument and they raise the canal by just over 53 feet in a third of a mile. Near the top of the Hanwell flight is Three Bridges, an unusual location where a railway runs beneath a canal which runs beneath a road. The combination of bridges was built by the famous railway engineer Isambard Kingdom Brunel who is buried in Kensal Green Cemetery, beside the Paddington Arm of this canal.
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Little Venice. You can easily walk from Paddington Station (exit at the west end of the station between platforms 8 and 9 via the high level covered footpath) to Little Venice. It is a canal junction and a beauty spot. The Regent's Canal meets up with the Grand Junction main line, in a large pool, with an island in the centre, called Browning's Island. There are other activities for children here, including a puppet theatre on a barge, and there is a cafe on a boat with outdoor seating in summer. Regular boat trips operate to Camden, in summer, and there are a few services at weekends in winter.

canal scenery illustration
Canal scene illustration