West London

West London

Brentford, Southall, Hanwell

The Grand Union canal finishes its 200 mile journey south from Birmingham in Brentford where it joins the River Thames. Also, the Paddington Arm leaves the canal in Southall and travels across North London to join the Regent’s Canal in Paddington. We have classroom workshops and guided walks which focus on the importance of the canals as transport routes and the importance of the trade route from London to Birmingham. Classroom workshops last about 1-hour. Guided walks last about 1.5 to 2-hours. All walks begin with a safety talk.

Guided walks


Start and finish by the Holiday Inn on Brentford High Street. Find out how a lock works and the importance of the gauging lock at Brentford. Compare how the area looked 100 years ago with how it looks today and find out how it is still changing. Should we preserve our heritage or make way for new developments? Look inside the Toll House and find out about the job of the toll keeper. Learn to identify the water birds and their habitats.  


Start and finish at a location to suit you such as Havelock Road, Norwood Road Bridge, The Fox Pub or Green Lane. Other locations are available. Find out about the importance of the canal as a transport route and look for local historic features such as mile posts, boundary markers and old hedges. If you’re near Hanwell, find out how a lock works and, with luck, watch a boat go through the lock. Learn to identify the waterbirds and their habitats.


All About the Grand Union Canal

This talk looks at the importance of the Grand Union Canal as a major trade route from London to the Midlands. When and how was it built? What cargoes were carried? How long is it? What jobs would children have done on the canal? 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!