Sunday, August 12, 2018

Paddington - Canals and Little Venice

Travelling yesterday with friends of mrs maytrees to London Paddington Station and thence to the adjacent canals, was a most enjoyable day and a lesson on how best to find  a decent venue for lunch, in an area crowded (understandably) with tourists enjoying the sunny weather.

The  Edgware Road branch of the District line starts at Wimbledon so the journey to Paddington  Underground station was straightforward enough. The canals run alongside the  Paddington  mainline terminus although the signposting to the canals from the main part of the station is barely discernible. 

The canal, the route of which runs all the way to Birmingham, divides into two near to Paddington. People were taking water buses eastwards  to Regents Park and Camden; the second  section also goes east but south of the canal to Regents Park. We opted to walk along the second section and find  coffee shop enroute before returning for lunch. 

Interestingly when many years ago my parents decided to hold a birthday supper on a canal barge in the area, the whole place seemed dilapidated although the family supper on the travelling barge was fun. I recall the bank sides being full of unattractive dilapidated buildings and  canal side walking   would not have been fun for tourists or anyone else at that time, which if memory serves me well was maybe 20+ years ago.

However in August 2018 the canal banks were bustling and  as mentioned already, there were queues for the water buses for the Regents  Park section. 

We decided to find  place for coffee along the southern section of the canal. The whole  of that area has been hugely redeveloped in the intervening years with modern flats, shops, new footbridges and even a site for open air cinema and TV. 

Some 5 minutes downstream this section terminated in largish area of the canal, where an unusual bridge  could be raised  in three of four strip sections, presumably for barges wishing to turn 360 degrees for their return journeys. 

A mother duck with a brood of some six of the tiniest ducklings, were swimming on the canal at that point and  caught the attention of the two wives with us. Indeed for a while, we all watched them  experimenting with diving and fishing with mother duck.

A decent cafe provided liquid refreshment before the walk back to Little Venice. Unfortunately the  canal barge selected for  our lunchtime was  already full  with diners and walking on, all places for lunch both canal side and nearby, were also crowded.

Crossing over a bridge to the North side of the canal, we began to walk eastwards when by chance one of our friends spotted an old pub down a small side road. The pub  called I believe, The Union Tavern, was almost empty yet had a lunchtime menu.  We all decided on a fish and chip lunch, which was delicious. Unsurprisingly perhaps, by the time we finished our lunch, the pub was full. Looking at the reviews on line it was no surprise to me that part of  one reads:

Love this place!!! Been there twice, usually to eat, Haddock fish and chips something amazing basically best fish & chips I ever ate in London, and tartar sauce delicious (I roughly eat this sauce because I don't like it, but this one was banging!!!)

Paddington Station then beckoned once more. Interestingly just outside the station we came across a blue life sized Paddington Bear statue. Indeed during our canal bank side walks,  there were a   a number of life sized statues which are interesting and popular with photographers. 

Another large terraced section on the canal south side, again  quite near to Paddington  with a cinema screen and attractive banked seating open freely to all,  was  popular with  locals and tourists.  

We were  soon  back at  the mainline station, which thankfully has also  been modernised in recent years, thence the District Underground line to Wimbledon. 

A full, interesting  and most enjoyable afternoon, for all.

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