Although usually only a summer event, for one day over Christmas, there will be trips through the long canal tunnel that runs underneath Islington.

The long straight canal tunnel was dug just over 200 years ago to help the Regent’s Canal avoid a long series of canal locks to get over the hill that Islington is built on. Only open to boats as there’s no canal path, the nearby Canal Museum runs rather enjoyable trips in a narrowboat along the canal tunnel to the far end and back again.

The tour starts in the museum next to King’s Cross, where you pick up the boat, and after a bit of history, it’s a gentle chugging ride into the tunnel. The barge has a floodlight to show off the tunnel, and you can easily see the exit in the distance, so it’s not, as some might worry, scary to be in a dark tunnel.

Although we’re sat here chugging along, with a few areas pointed out, it’s an odd mix of excitement and yet also delightfully relaxing to glide through this stygian space. The tour takes between 45-60 minutes as the tunnel is one-way traffic only and sometimes there’s a delay to get inside so allow for the full duration if making a visit.

The tours are for small groups, and there’s just about enough space for everyone to sit on the outside, and that’s where you want to be, for the views of the long tunnel and the 200+ year old brickwork.

The Christmas tours take place on Thursday 29th December — from 11am to 3pm for return trips, or at 4pm there’s a one-way trip to Islington.

The tours need to be booked in advance from here.

  • Adults: £12
  • Children: £8
  • Concessions: £11

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