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Top 10 Best Restaurants & Pubs on the Canal in London

Picture of Top 10 Best Restaurants & Pubs on the Canal in London

Canalside pubs and restaurants: amblers, strollers, joggers, snoggers, dog walkers, cyclists, fishing enthusiasts and those who just love getting lost along the waters of London, take note. The romantic nostalgia of watching the canal boats float along the Regent’s Canal or the Grand Union canal provides a fitting setting for some of London’s best hidden gem bars and restaurants. This top 10 guide to the secret pubs, bars and restaurants along London’s canals will provide plenty of drinking and dining stop off points for London’s waterside enthusiasts.

Image of Rotunda

Kings Cross
Bar / Restaurant

The canal-side location of this restaurant (pictured above) makes it a lovely location for a light lunch, evening cocktails, or, during the summer months, fun and games in the sun. From April to October, the restaurant boasts its own beach hut bar on the outdoor terrace - with hot dog cart Thursdays and Fridays - which is cleverly positioned for maximum sun coverage. Table football, giant Jenga and swingball are also provided, and, when the sun goes down, the outdoor heaters go on. Inside, the daily changing menu features beef and lamb bred exclusively for the restaurant on a farm in the Northumberland countryside. A private dining room also affords views over the adjacent Regent's Canal.

Image of The Waterway Bar & Restaurant

Maida Vale & St Johns Wood
Bar / Restaurant

We all love a pleasurable dining experience, especially at this time of year when the sun is out (occasionally) and there are the weekends to look forward to as well. For something a little different, we love heading to Maida Vale and spending time in The Waterway in Little Venice on the Grand Union Canal. Brilliant food and impressive cocktails served with a view of the historical and beautifully picturesque canal, adding a touch of summer glamour to any relaxing Saturday afternoon. The Waterway is not just a restaurant but the wonder of Little Venice in the heart of London.

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Notting Hill

The Union Tavern on the Grand Union Canal is very unique in the London brewing scene, only specialising in beer that is brewed within the M25. You will only find the most local cask and keg products to drink. Beer couldn't get any fresher; the motto of The Union Tavern being 'drink fresh, drink local'. The food is all freshly made and takes full advantage of the amazing smokers onsite. Smoked ribs, coffee smoked brisket, London's finest pulled pork plus many other treats. The Union Tavern is a diamond on London's urban waterside.

Image of Feng Shang Princess

Swiss Cottage & Primrose Hill
Bar / Restaurant

This elaborately decorated, hand crafted Chinese restaurant moored along the banks of the Regent's Canal, opposite London Zoo and between Primrose Hill and Regent's Park, is walking distance from Camden tube station (and a nice stroll it is too). It is also a meat lovers floating paradise. Whatever once had a heartbeat and lived on land or in sea is now likely to appear on the broad Asian menu. The chefs onboard the Feng Shang floating restaurant sauté, stir fry, grill, steam, and braise a multitude of tasty meats (there's even a Crispy Vegetarian Duck on the menu!?). A unique restaurant in so many ways.

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Canary Wharf

Although technically not situated on a canal, this traditional Fullers pub in Canary Wharf has the feeling of an canalside pub, especially as the adjacent river water is calm and quiet, save for the odd gust of wind creating a ripple effect. A nice spot to enjoy a burger and a pint and a view of the old steamboats backdropped by London's modern architecture. The classic pub grub and Master Cellarman status cask ales will keep help to loosen a few ties at lunch and after work. The addition of Sky Sports screens showing football, cricket and rugby provides entertainment when the weather inevitably turns gloomy. The roasts are legendary for anyone seeking tranquil adventures on Sundays.

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This is one of our all-together favourite London restaurant experiences, not just along the canal. Although moored near Paddington station, this romantic floating restaurant sets sail along the canal every day, taking in Little Venice, Regent's Park and Camden along the way. There are several courses throughout the steady cruise, most involving seafood of some kind (depending on what they found at market that day). The wine list is exceptional as well, bringing together some niche and small batch labels. It's also a lovely way to meet complete strangers as you share a very cosy table set-up.

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This is one of those hidden gems you'll find totally by accident. We did, when we cycled along the Regent's Canal between Kingsland and Angel one sunny day. It should really remain a secret, but we know you can keep secrets (unlike us). It's a long walk from almost everywhere, thus ensuring its secrecy too. This south facing cool cafe has some communal chairs and tables on the actual towpath - clue in the name, people - and serves breakfast, cakes, coffee, and lovely sourdough sandwich fuel using locally sourced ingredients. Dog-friendly, kid-friendly, cyclist-friendly (there's a bike tune up shop next door), so kick back and enjoy a lovely glass of homemade ginger beer. Or a glass of wine.

Image of The Narrow Boat

Angel & Islington

The Narrowboat is the ideal stopover on a leisurely weekend walk along Regent's Canal. This cosy canalside pub boasts remarkable views of the lively bustle of boats and joggers, plus a little terrace to soak up the sun on sunny summer days. Choose from a changing menu of British classics, including bangers and mash and beer-battered cod, or try the scrumptious Sunday roast with all the trimmings. The drinks list features some locally brewed beers, a good choice of wine, and classic cocktails.

Image of Heist Bank

Bar / Restaurant

Heist Bank is an all-day bar and restaurant in Paddington near the canal which specialises in fresh wood-fired pizza with seasonal toppings, a wide selection of local beers and cocktails. It's the ideal spot for quick lunches if you're exploring the Paddington Basin canal area, en route to Little Venice; or maybe even a weekend birthday party if you want good transport links (Paddington station) but with a bit of privacy. If you're a fan of seasonal flowers you'll also find lots to enjoy about Heist. It has an in-house artisan florist called Botanique.

Image of KuPP

Bar / Restaurant

KuPP is the restaurant you visit if you're looking for an alternative brunch menu in a venue that doesn't have a queue of millennials outside waiting for a mediocre plate of food to snap for their Instagram feed. It does, however, have pleasantly calming views of the end of the canal, which you can soak up through the large floor-to-ceiling windows. This is definitely a restaurant best enjoyed on a sunny day. The Scandinavian offers plenty of surprises too. We particularly recommend the fiske smorgasbord which includes Norwegian gravadlax.

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