If you have the pleasure to be spending your time close to London now and are looking for a way of escaping from a city, what would you say for a walk along the canal?
No, I am not sending you to Venice (however, that would definitely be nice!) but to discover the Grand Union Canal, a part of the British canal system.
If you are not encouraged yet I shall add that the route from Apsely to Berkhamsted I recommend has few nice pubs on the way so no way you are going to be thirty during your walks!
First, you will need to catch a train from London Euston to Apsley (trains leave every half an hour most days, check your timetable here). By the way, don’t forget to have your coffee at Euston (for example in one of our favourite Illy Stands) as I wouldn’t count for anything decent after you leave.
Apsley is a little town, with a well maintained canal and a recently modernised marina. The boats in the marina and along the canal belong to people who usually live in them permanently.
The first pub on your way, Paper Mill, is quite a nice place for a quick pint, especially if you sit on the terrace outside. I wouldn’t recommend eating there though.
When you are ready to go head north and just keep going along the canal. There are stands with information about the canal, its history and anecdotes related with it along the way.
The next town on you way is Hemel Hemspead – maybe not the most attractive place in the country but there is a newly renowated pub on your way called Fishery Inn if you need another drink.
For lunch I would recommend ‘The Three Horseshoes’ in Winkwell. This is a charming, traditional 16th century pub with a nice terrace overlooking the canal. My personal favourite from their menu are sausages with mash and red wine gravy – this is definitely going to give you lots of energy for the rest of your walk.
It will take another hour more or less from this point to Berkhamsted. Take it easy and enjoy the nature around you. People from the boats are usually very friendly if you fancy a chat (or even a lift). You may even get invited to a barbecue if you are lucky ;)
Berkhamstead is a really nice town, full of old little houses with colourful doors and lazy atmosphere. For a well earned rest I would choose a table on a patio of ‘The Boat’.
And for a larger meal, or dinner perhaps there is only one place there, ‘The Old Mill’.
This is a really nice and quirky pub/restaurant with a cute garden and lots of benches at the canal, offering really great local food the whole day. This includes breakfasts, lunches, lots of nibbles and boards to share and elegant dinners.
Plus a perfect place for my favourite British summer drink – Pimm’s lemonade with strawberries, cucumber, oranges and lots of mint.
To come back to civilisation just take a train back to Euston from Berkhamsted. Or walk back along the canal if you fancy ;)