East London

East London

Olympic Park, Limehouse Basin, Enfield Lock

Walks and Talks

Our guided walks are well established and have been awarded the Learning Outside the Classroom Quality Badge. You will compare the nearest river with the canal, find out how a lock works, learn about the local history and spot the surprisingly wide variety of water birds. During most of our walks children have spotter books to complete.

The River Lee navigation runs from Hertfordshire through East London and the Olympic Park to join the River Thames at Limehouse. We have classroom workshops and guided walks which focus on the importance of this river as a transport route, and in the development of London. Workshops last about 1 hour, guided walks last about 1.5 to 2 hours. All walks begin with a safety talk.

Guided Walks

Carpenters Road Lock in the Olympic Park

Start and finish by the Aquatics Centre or White Post Lane near Hackney Wick. Explore the history of the River Lea which runs through the Olympic Park. Find out about its importance as a transport network. Visit Carpenters Road Lock and find out why it is unique. Discover the more traditional Old Ford Lock and see it in action.

Unfortunately, there are no toilet facilities on this route, however there are accessible public toilets in the Westfield centre if arriving from Stratford station. There are outdoor, public spaces available for eating lunch.

Limehouse Basin

Start and finish at Limehouse DLR station. Today Limehouse Basin is an attractive location full of boats and waterbirds. Find out why it was built and what it looked like 150 years ago. Compare the manmade Regent’s Canal with the mighty River Thames. Be amazed at the rush of water as the river lock fills and, if you’re lucky, watch the road bridge open to let a big boat into the basin.

There are toilets available on this route, including an accessible cubicle. The route is step-free. There are outdoor, public spaces available for eating lunch. Download a visitor map of Limehouse Basin

Enfield Lock

Start and finish by Enfield Lock (close to the 121 bus route to Enfield Island Village). Compare the River Lee Navigation with the old River Lea. Examine the quality of the water and learn to identify the different water birds and their habitats. Find out how the lock works and walk through the old armaments factory.

Two toilets are available on this route. The tour route is fully accessible, unfortunately the toilets are not adapted to improve accessibility. There are outdoor, public spaces available for eating lunch.


All About the River Lea

This talk traces how the river has been used over the past 1,000 years, from Viking invaders to its role in the Olympic Park. Is it a river or a canal? Is it spelt Lea or Lee? Why is the river important for fishing, cucumbers and guns? Children will have lots of archive pictures to look at, some objects relating to life on the canal to handle (no guns!) and some costumes to wear.

All About the Limehouse Cut

This talk looks at why the Limehouse Cut was built. Where is it and why is it called a cut? What’s the link to EastEnders? What is a rope-walk? What would Limehouse Basin have looked like in the past? Children will have lots of archive pictures to look at, some objects relating to life on the canal to handle and some costumes to wear.

Learning Resources

Use the following resources to support learning on your trip and back in the classroom:

All About Rivers

All About Canals

Life on the English Waterways

Canal & River Habitats Topic Pack


All visits to our London sites are FREE!


Site visits are limited to one class of children (max. 35) at a time, due to guide numbers and space limitations. On most occasions we can host two visits in one day.

All East London site visits are outdoors with very few shelter options. Please ensure participants are appropriately dressed. All visits are weather dependent.

See individual site information above for toilet availability and accessibility.