Limehouse Basin, just next to the Thames in East London, is busy. Not as busy as it may have been when ships from all over the world were unloaded here but now full of houseboats, yachts and sometimes a tall ship or two.
The sharp edges of the new apartment blocks bring into focus the aged brick walls and cobble stones of the dock.
And from here it is possible to walk or cycle most of the way across the capital to the other side of London.
Along the way there are many surprising sights. Further up the canal there are locks with charming country cottages where lock keepers lived and worked.
The tow path through East London has long stretches of open space with trees and patches of grassland.
Aquatic plants grow at the edge of the canal which swans and their cygnets nibble at.
Along the way there are colourful displays of flowers, some cultivated and others wild. There is also vegetation here and there climbing up walls, their leaves purifying the air and their berries providing sustenance to birds.
This is an ideal place to walk on a winter’s day.
The houseboats look snug and cosy with the smell of smoke in the air from their wood burning stoves but any day of the year gives us the opportunity to walk or run or cycle across London and notice a whole variety of features from the past and the present.
No wonder so many people choose to live here, beside or on the river. Mile End is so close to the City of London, a densely populated area but just a few moments from the tube station and so it is possible to tie up a barge and return to the tranquility of the river each evening after work.
Arriving at Kings Cross, one of the busiest transport hubs in Europe, it is time to cross one of the bridges into a nature reserve. Right here, in the innermost part of the capital.
We have strayed from East London postcode areas into North London but we have also made our way towards the heart of London – and the rural retreat of Camley Street.
Join the Regents Canal Towpath at Limehouse Station or Mile End Station