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Five of London's prettiest canalside neighbourhoods

Water: it’s good for you. Why not get a flat near it?

Written by
Paula Akpan

Back in the day, London's historic canal network used to be smelly and industrial. Now though? Canalside neighbourhoods are some of the prettiest in the city – and are great places to live. Think: well-connected walking routes, heaps of hip coffee shops, and windows overlooking the water. Here's a quick roundup of some of the city's best. 

Kings Cross Station and Around
Andy Parsons

The extremely well-connected one: King’s Cross 

What’s it like? You might know it as the home of trains and a big Waitrose, but thanks to some extremely chichi development work, King’s Cross is now the proud owner of numerous sparkling pedestrianised squares, canalside sunbathing spots, posh restaurant chains (hello, Dishoom!) and the bougie outdoor shopping mall Coal Drops Yard. Basically, move here and you’ll never run out of Aesop. 

Best places to eat and drink? Granary Square Brasserie does a mean steak tartare, then roll over to nearby pub The Lighterman for a pint on its pretty terrace.

Any downsides? If you’re after a quiet neighbourhood, give this one a wide berth. King’s Cross is buzzing well into the early hours.

How much would it cost to rent a place here? According to property aficionados Rightmove (who let us know all the prices in this piece), the average rent is £2,958 per month.

And to buy? An eye-watering £1,094,282.


Hackney Wick canal
Matt Russell

The hip one: Hackney Wick 

What’s it like? This east London area has a vibrant but kinda weird energy. Once home to a community of artists living in warehouses, it’s now filled with new-builds galore. Although these are broken up by kooky little restaurants.

Best places to eat and drink? Find tasty dishes made from locally sourced ingredients at No 90 Bar & Kitchen. And, in an area with no shortage of breweries, Crate is one of the best, with a drinking terrace right by the canal

Any downsides? If you’re after a house, you might have a little difficulty. This is a flats zone.

How much would it cost to rent a place here? The average is around the £1,818 mark.

And to buy? £596,225.

The one that’s almost in the countryside: West Drayton

What’s it like? Think: suburban, quaint and extremely green. It would be understandable if you mistook this west London neighbourhood for a Yorkshire village. 

Best places to eat and drink? Family-run restaurant Poppins has a home-away-from-home vibe. Your local? The Plough and its pretty beer garden.

Any downsides? Heathrow is just a few miles away, so aircraft noise is no joke. 

How much would it cost to rent a place here? £1,368 per month.

And to buy? £389,713.


Little venice canal
Kristi Blokhin

The iconic one: Little Venice

What’s it like? It has a Continental holiday energy with postcard-perfect waterways. Plus, when looking at the canal and saying ‘that’s nice’ no longer hits in the same way, you can catch some quality cabaret, comedy and gigs at the Canal Café Theatre

Best places to eat and drink? The Summerhouse specialises in seafood faves. The Prince Alfred pub does a mean Sunday roast.

Any downsides? Truly, the price. Read on...

How much would it cost to rent a place here? Rightmove estimates that an average monthly rent would set you back £3,101 – tranquillity here costs a pretty penny.

And to buy? £1,261,230 on average. 


Kensal town street view
Kevin Cole

The hidden gem: Kensal Town 

What’s it like? Officially an area of Kensal Green, Kensal Town sits along the Grand Union Canal and has a calm, residential and tight-knit community feel. Portobello Market is just a short walk away, as is Notting Hill – perfect if you feel like a) retracing Hugh Grant’s steps, and b) never having to do that dreaded journey home after Carnival.

Best places to eat and drink? Joy at Portobello serves simple dishes alongside the canal, and you can drink showstopping cocktails at Paradise by Way of Kensal Green.

Any downsides? Nope, this neighbourhood is pretty perfect. 

How much would it cost to rent a place here? You’d be looking at around £1,902. 

And to buy? About £638,479.

Really pretty walks around London

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