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Cyclist on towpath of Hertford Union Canal

Hertford Union Canal

At just 2km long, what the Hertford Union Canal lacks in length it makes up for in charm. It runs alongside leafy Victoria Park in Tower Hamlets, with its lakes, fountain, sculptures, children’s playgrounds, tree trails and cafes

Hertford Union Canal

Length2 miles

Maximum boat dimensions

Length26m 85ft 3"
Width4.45m 14ft 7"
Draught1.3m 4ft 3"
Headroom2.33m 7ft 7"

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This arrow-straight canal provides a walking and cycling route from Mile End to the Olympic Park. From one end, you get a view of the impressive Olympic Stadium.

For boats, it is a vital short-cut from the Regent's Canal to the River Lee, avoiding the River Thames.

Days out in East London

The waterways in and around London simply abound with fabulous places for a family day out. What's more, an afternoon spent feeding the ducks, walking or careful cycling along the towpath and watching the colourful narowboats comes absolutely free. We've put together some useful family guides to our best waterside destinations.

The history

The canal is also known as Duckett's Canal after Sir George Duckett, its original promoter. His father, also named George, was earlier involved in promoting the Stort Navigation and had changed his name from Jackson after being made a baronet.

The Act authorising the Hertford Union Canal was passed in 1824 and, in a manner that was to prove prophetically indicative of its fate, it opened unceremoniously in the Spring of 1830. It was never a great commercial success and for several years in the mid 19th Century it was unnavigable. In 1851 it was advertised for sale but there were difficulties in finding a buyer willing to invest in it. The line was eventually purchased by proprietors of the Regent's Canal and from 1857 onwards it became a branch of the Regent's Canal until in 1929 it fell under the auspices of the Grand Union Canal Company.

photo of a location on the canals
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