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A walk along the canal - Part 2: Great Western Road to Paddington Basin

A walk along the canal - Part 1 took us from Ladbroke Grove to Great Western Road. In Part 2, we'll head off further east along the towpath from where we concluded before. Our destination will be the end of the Grand Union Canal's Paddington Branch, a distance of 1.5 miles. Google Maps says you can cover the distance in 31 minutes, but feel free to go at your own pace.

The start of the walk at the Great Western Road canal bridge features an undeniably urban landscape with the bus garage to the right. Shortly after that, the Westway flyover looms overhead, followed by three tower blocks. But then things take a rather more attractive turn with the majestic spire of St Mary Magdalene, completed in 1872. Nestling beneath that is a tempting if somewhat early pit stop, the Grand Junction Café.

Narrowboats and luxurious houseboats

Soon after there's a picturesque avenue of moored narrowboats and luxurious houseboats. Billionaire astronaut Richard Branson once lived in one of the latter. Moving along this section, the canal narrows sharply as it passes an old white-painted cottage, once a toll house.

Then, quite dramatically, the canal opens out into Little Venice, a large canal basin that forms the junction between the Grand Union and the Regent's Canal. We'll go straight on but if you chose to turn left across the bridge you can take the Regent's Canal towpath.

Little Venice

Along the Regent's Canal, you'd eventually reach Limehouse Basin by the Thames in East London after passing through Camden, Islington and Hackney. You can catch a passenger narrowboat at Little Venice which takes you along Regent's Canal to Regent's Park Zoo and on to Camden Lock.

After Little Venice, the towpath passes beneath the Westway flyover again before a section of modern development, Sheldon Square. It's worth a short detour just off the canal towpath here into the square where there's a splendid amphitheatre surrounded by towering office and residential blocks. There's a selection of cafés, bars and restaurants here as well.

Sheldon Square amphitheatre

But back to the canal. The towpath now leads along the edge of Paddington Station, past a couple of caravan cafes, before a footbridge crosses the canal leading to the towpath on the other side. There's more modern development here plus a boat-hire outfit, details available at goboat.co.uk . The back of St. Mary's Hospital runs along the other side of the canal.

Ahead is Paddington Basin and the canal's end

And finally, we reach the end of the towpath at Paddington Basin where a floating garden sits in the water. If you've had enough of walking you can nip back to Paddington Station and catch the tube back to Ladbroke Grove, or jump on a 23 or 7 bus on Praed Street. Alternatively, you could meander westwards back to North Kensington via the somewhat battered splendour of Bayswater.

Read A walk along the canal - Part 1