West London

West London

Brentford and 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.  

Hanwell Flight

Start at Three Bridges or Hanwell Bottom Lock and explore this historic stretch of towpath. Find out the importance of the canal as a transport route and look for local historic features such as hidden tunnels, horse ramps and boundary markers. Compare the canal to the river Brent, exploring how they are connected. The impressive ‘Three Bridges’ and a lock demonstration will inspire some young engineers, and habitat hunters or bird spotters will have plenty to search for at Hanwell. Please note there are no toilets available at this site. The tour is step free.


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 Learning Bundle


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 West 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.