London Canal Museum

Visitors and locals alike often forget that there is a whole network of canals that were created to deliver goods to London and beyond. Many of these canals still exist and are used now for pleasure often with paths alongside to take in their natural surroundings.

The Canal Museum is a small museum located in the back streets of the Kings Cross area but is well worth a visit. The museum charges a small entrance fee (£5/adult at time of writing) but is well worth an hour or two of your time.

The Museum

The museum is housed in a former ice warehouse in Battlebridge Basin just off of Regent's canal. Exhibits occupy two floors with the first floor (up the stairs) having more indepth material.

Ground Floor

On the ground floor a main feature is one of the two icewells that were used by the ice warehouse the museum is housed in. Excavated to only about a 1/3 of the depth the size is quite impressive. Ice was delivered by boat from Norway and stored in these wells before being delivered throughout the city or beyond.

Another feature on the ground floor is half of a barge with it's cabin that you can walk around in giving you an idea of what it must have been like to live and work on these boats.

A door at the back of the floor allows you to go outside to have a look at the canal basin the museum sits on with a number of boats moored there. I am told that there are several boats that are part of the museum that you can visit but I believe none were there when we visited.

First Floor

The first floor houses a number of interesting items including a complete map of all of the canals in the city as well as a video presentation showing films from the hey-day of the canals in London (very worth your time to sit and watch). The far side of the floor has a recreation of a stable where the horses used by both the canalboats/barges as well as delivery vehicles for the ice warehouse were stabled, walking up a long, steep, ramp from the ground floor (now where you can secure your bike, if you visit using it).

When we visited there were some interesting displays talking about long lost canals of the UK as well as the current use of canals in London. All very informative and well written with not too much reading to do.

The Shop

A small on-site shop has a number of books about canals as well as items hand-painted in traditional canal-boat style. Note that other than a small hot-drink machine in the corner of the ground floor there is no cafe or restaurant on-site but there are a number of these nearby that can be easily accessed.

Additional Information

For further information please see the museum's official site at