Regular trips through a long dark canal tunnel under Islington will resume later this month, and tickets are on sale now.

(c) ianVisits

Run by the Canal Museum near King’s Cross, the tour is simple but wonderfully atmospheric — a trip from the museum in a narrowboat through the tunnel to the other end and back again.

You embark at the museum, and then there’s a brief talk in the boat before heading out into the canal to go through the tunnel. The tours are for small groups, and there’s just about enough space in the boat for everyone to sit on the outside. That’s where you want to be for the views of the long tunnel and the 200+ year-old brickwork.

The barge’s chugging sound dominates as you glide into the tunnel mouth, and the bright sunshine is replaced by the reddish-brown light reflecting off the bricks that line 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.

The tour guide points out the industrial history at the far end of the tunnel, where the boat turns around and repeats the journey.

(c) ianVisits

The standard tour takes between 45-60 minutes as the tunnel is one-way traffic only which means there can sometimes be a delay to get inside, so allow for the full hour when making a visit.

The tunnel boat trips cost £16 for adults, £14 for concessions, and £10 for children. That includes admission to the museum, which is usually £3.50-£7. So, for an adult, the canal tunnel is just £9 on top of the museum entry.

The tunnel tours will run most Thursdays, Fridays and Sundays from late March to October, and tickets can be booked here.

There’s also a Long Tour option that runs on alternate Fridays. It goes from the Canal Museum to Victoria Park or Little Venice and lasts about two hours on the return trip.


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