Sightseeing in London: the walk through Regents Park and along Regents Canal to Camden Town
This is an easy walk which you can take if you would like to slow down the pace of sightseeing for a day. It will take you through Regents Park with its beautiful Queens Mary Garden and along Regents Canal to Camden Market. On this walk you will pass several places of interest including The Sherlock Holmes Museum, Madam Tussauds Waxworks and London Zoo.
Around Baker Street Station
Start at Baker Street tube station. The Circle Line platforms are the platforms of the original station built in 1863 and you can still see the ventilation holes to the surface for the smoke and steam created by Victorian steam-engines. This station has several exits one of which will take you onto Baker Street, close to The Sherlock Holmes Museum and another onto Marylebone St., next to Madam Tussaud’s Museum.
Baker Street is firmly associated with the name of the famous fictional detective Sherlock Holmes whose adventures written by Arthur Conan Doyle became hugely popular when they were published in The Strand magazine in 1891.
On the demand of the public 56 stories appeared in which the detective used his own method of abductive reasoning and careful observations to unravel the most difficult criminal plots. Although a fictitious character, Sherlock Holmes had a distinctive personality which was enhanced by eccentric habits such as keeping a tobacco in the toe end of a Persian slipper and playing the violin in the dead of the night. It is thought that the character of Sherlock Holmes was inspired by a police surgeon Sir Henry Littlejohn whom Doyle met while he worked in Edinburgh.
The three-store building of Sherlock Holmes Museum at the Baker Street recreates the Victorian atmosphere of Sherlock Holmes’ stories. The house looks as if the detective just left it to pursue one of his investigative threads – his correspondence pinned by a jack-knife to the table, his pipe is on the coffee table, and his violin is next to his chair.
Madam Tussauds Wax Museum in London was the first wax sculpture museum in the world. It started with death masks of convicts that were executed. Nowadays you can see wax effigies of everyone there – from Queen Elizabeth II to Tony Blair, Albert Einstein, Prince Charles and Rod Stewart. Experience the 4D superheroes film, a ‘black cab’ taxi ride through the centuries of British history and the realistic Chamber of Horrors.
From the Madam Tussaud’s Museum turn right to Baker Street Station and continue to the end of Baker street and cross into the gates of RegentsPark.
Queen Mary's Rose Garden , Regents park, London
In the park you will see a crescent-shaped lake with a wide variety of waterfowl leisurely swimming around or waddling on its shores. There are rowing boat that you can hire if the weather is good. Cross York Bridge over the lake and walk past the Band Stand towards the Inner Circle road. Here is Queen Mary’s Garden, a gem of Regent’s Park which is worth to explore for a while. It contains more then 100 species of roses, delphiniums and begonias.
In the north-western corner of the garden is The Open Air Theatre which stages performances during the summer months. You can stop for lunch at the Garden Café which serves freshly-cooked meals and delicious but light cakes and has alfresco sitting.
Exit the Queen Mary’s Garden through the gates next to the Rose Garden. Then turn left and follow the circular road. After 100m you will pass the entrance to what looks like a narrow dead-end alleyway surrounded by hedges , but is in fact the entrance to what is called ‘The Secret Garden’. This is a part of the gardens of St.John’s Lodge owned by The Sultan of Brunei, and is open to the public. Go along the alleyway and behind hedges you will find a series of carefully tended and delightfully peaceful gardens where blackbirds sing and thrushes find their worms.
Afterwards, continue along the circular road until you reach the next entrance on the right into the grassland of the park. Here through the gate take the path to a bridge across the lake. After the bridge turn right again and walk towards The Broadwalk, a wide path which cuts right across RegentsPark from RegentsPark tube to the zoo. Take the Broadwalk left passing The Honest Sausage Café, where you can honestly judge the organic sausage served with honestly organic bread, then continue alongside the zoo to the park gates. The entrance to London Zoo is just 100m away to the left.
London Zoo was built in the1820s and still has some buildings and the atmosphere of an exhibition centre of Victorian times. Now in our enlightened age, many of the larger animals have been moved to more extensive facilities outside London, but there are still hundreds of species from all over the world and close-up encounters with tamed birds and farm animals that delight the younger visitors. The Nocturnal House, lit by dim red lights, has a rare collection of nighttime creatures, including a Tree Kangaroo that climbs up high in North Australia treetops. The Aquarium has reptiles that have grown huge in captivity, and there is a tortoise that has been there since Victorians visited Regent Park back in 1890! Children will also love the Hummingbird House where by going through double doors you can be in the same room as the birds feeding from the flowering shrubs and hovering on wings beating faster than the eye can see.
REGENTS CANAL AND CAMDEN MARKET
From the exit of London Zoo turn left and cross the road. As you come to the end of the zoo enclosure there is a path and a footbridge over Regents Canal. The far side of the bridge leads to a road at the foot of Primrose Hill, one of the vantage points that provides a fine view of the city. Climb up the hill if you would like to take photographs, otherwise take the steps down by the footbridge to the Regents Canal and turn left (westwards.)
Regents Canal is 180 years old and is built to connect The Grand Union Canal that starts in Birmingham to the London Docks on the River Thames. Today the industrial traffic of former times has given way to leisure craft and former barges converted to floating houseboats.
Camden Market is about 15 minutes walk along the tow path of the canal, where faithful horses would tread pulling the barges of coal, wheat and timber throughout the canal network of Britain before the railways were built.
Along the waterway you will pass The Feng Shang Princess, a floating Chinese restaurant tethered to the canal bank, as are numerous brightly painted houseboats. The Pirate Castle comes into view bridging the canal and housing Camden Town’s young people community centre. Shortly after, at Camden Lock, the walkway goes up from the canal straight into Camden Market. You will pass a maze of small shops selling ‘alternative’ fashion and bohemian- style decorations. The market is buzzing and it’s worthwhile to have look around, maybe just to feel the atmosphere and to buy a souvenir to take back home.
After the market you can take a tube to Central London from Camden Town Station, or have a meal in one of the Camden’s restaurants.