Neatly tucked away between Edgware Road and the Westway, Little Venice is a tranquil pocket of calm amid London’s hustle and bustle. Offering no end of scenic spots, gorgeous greenery and excellent eateries, let us take you on a tour of this hidden treasure of West London.
Enjoy our exploration of Little Venice. If you like what you see, read to the end for more details on our West London guide coverage and related guides.
Why is Little Venice called Little Venice?
As you may have already guessed, this wonderfully picturesque part of the capital owes its name to its canals. Admittedly, you won’t see many gondolas, but charming narrowboats and smaller craft of all kinds can be seen on the waters as Little Venice is where Regent’s Canal meets the Paddington arm of the Grand Union Canal.
As a meeting point for different London areas, Little Venice has a delightfully mixed vibe, as shown by its architectural variety. From grand Georgian and Edwardian mansions to more modern townhouses and terraces, this area is a must-visit for those with an eye for design.
One area where Little Venice trumps its namesake is the abundance of greenery. Trees line the majority of the canals on one or both sides. So, enjoy some shade and a level of tranquillity that is rarely found in London, or Venice!
La Dolce Vita (The Sweet Life) – Exploring Little Venice restaurants
It would be simply embarrassing if an area likening itself to an Italian city didn’t have a great culinary scene. Fortunately, Little Venice entirely delivers on that front. Foodies can easily find themselves plenty of stylish cafes, high-end restaurants and quirky eateries to choose from.
Waterside Café: This barge-based kitchen serves up breakfast, cream teas and lighter meals to its tables on the waterfront. On a sunny day, this is a glorious spot to sit with something to nibble and take it all in.
Pearl Liang: Once a hidden gem, now the Pearl Liang is too well-known and is simply a gem on display! It’s a haven for appreciators of high-end Asian cuisine but without the eye-watering prices. Even its lobster and other premium shellfish dishes will delight you without breaking the bank.
The Summerhouse: Fancy some New England clam chowder, rock oysters or even a sumptuous full Mediterranean mezze? The Summerhouse is a solid local favourite as it reliably offers a predominantly seafood-based feast complete with seasonal treats.
Beany Green: A now-legendary Little Venice meeting point, Beany Green is an Aussie-inspired eatery. Wonderfully, it’s equally great for indulgent brunches or just a cup of coffee. The menu almost demands that you try its healthy lunch options, super smoothies and outstanding falafel.
The Waterway: Don’t confuse this with the Waterside Café! This is an exceptional European bistro-style gastropub offering an outstanding array of gourmet meals. Not to mention light bites, sweet treats and scrummy sippable cocktails. These can all be enjoyed on the spacious terrace if the weather permits, or in the cosy interior if it doesn’t.
In Vino Veritas (In wine, there’s truth) – Little Venice pubs
Okay, so that’s a Latin proverb, but the Italians use it a lot! The full phrase is: “In vino veritas, in aqua sanitas” or, “in wine there is truth, in water, health”. So, whether you want wine or water, truth or health, Little Venice has a fine range of pubs guaranteed to satisfy.
Bridge House: A quirky, slightly saucy little spot beneath the Canal Café. The Bridge House offers a lovely waterfront terrace and an appetising assortment of snacks and seasonable lighter bites alongside smart pub favourites.
The Warwick Castle: Open since 1867, this local favourite is perfect for a pint in all weathers. With a roaring log fire in winter and shaded tables out front, any time is a good time to stop by.
Prince Alfred: As the name suggests, this pub is a quintessentially Victorian watering hole, complete with etched glass and mahogany wood panelling. It’s grand but still cosy, making it an ideal spot whatever the size of your party.
The Eagle: A local favourite, one that’s brimming with local character and good cheer. Enjoy its stylish Victorian-era layout and distinct wood panelling as you polish off a cheeky tipple.
A Buon Intenditor, Poche Parole (A word to the wise) – Unique things to do in Little Venice
Image Credit: David Hawgood
It’s somewhat fitting that Alan Turing – the father of computer science and one of the crackers of Enigma – was born in this area. You can follow his example of looking more closely at things to find hidden details when you wander around Little Venice. Throughout the year there are plenty of fun, interesting and unique things to see and do.
This gorgeous park was built in the 1950s and changed its name to Rembrandt Gardens in 1975 when the City of Westminster twinned with the City of Amsterdam. Allow yourself to take in the tulips and an unbeatable sense of wellbeing that comes from finding a quiet, beautiful spot in the middle of a busy city.
You can’t go to a place famous for its canals and then not get out on the water! Take a scenic narrowboat tour of the area or hire a boat yourself – either will unlock Little Venice’s true charm. There’s a variety of guided tour companies operating in Little Venice, all of whom offer the perfect opportunity to learn about the area for 30-45 minutes while soaking up the atmosphere at a very relaxing pace.
Catch some cosy theatre
Little Venice has some excellent theatres tucked away into its nooks and crannies. The Canal Café Theatre offers outstanding comedy acts for just a fiver. Alternatively, you can enjoy some floating theatre by catching the Puppet Theatre Barge, which offers all manner of marionette-based shows.
The Canal Cavalcade
Every May Bank Holiday sees Little Venice burst into colour and festivity as the Canal Cavalcade comes through. Expect plenty of pop-up food and drink stalls, Morris dancing, period costume and for the canal to be packed with brightly decorated barges. The Cavalcade has been going for 37 years and is the biggest volunteer-organised waterway festival in London.
Stay the night in a houseboat
If the thought of gently rocking to sleep on the Thames sounds appealing, Little Venice has you covered. Houseboat stays on offer range from cheap and cheerful to plush, elegant and somewhat expensive. Most can be found on AirBnB or dedicated sites, with prices varying between £30 to £150-180 per night.
Little Venice – Discover London’s Tranquil Treasure
Image Credit: Mark Ahsmann
For a relatively small area of London, Little Venice packs in a surprising array of intriguing sights, smells and tastes. Though the height of its appeal is in the summer – especially during the Canal Cavalcade – any time of year is right for exploring this uniquely beautiful area. Once you discover Little Venice, you’ll find plenty of reasons to keep coming back.
Little Venice is renowned for its architectural variety and offers visitors some incredible examples of period homes. If you want to know more about the differences between Edwardian, Georgian and Victorian homes, read our guide here. For more inspiration regarding the best places to live in West London, try here.
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