London Canal Museum Narrow Boat Trips in 2024

The London Canal Museum (LCM) has launched its new summer season of canal boat trips on the Regent’s canal. Booking is open now and the trips start on 28th March.

This is the museum’s second season of trips made possible by a collaboration with the nearby Angel Community Canal Boat Trust (ACCT) who have been taking disadvantaged kids & adults on canal trips for almost 50 years. Their purpose built 75 ft narrowboat takes up to 12 passengers on week-long cruises on the canals but is not particularly suited to short day trips in London.

So when a short (45 ft) narrowboat became available, both organisations agreed to buying and jointly operating the ironically named ‘Long Tom‘, which can carry 12 passengers in a glass enclosed cabin.

“It seemed like a marriage made in heaven,” explains the London Canal Museum chairman, Martin Sach. “Our areas of skills and expertise are complimentary. They are competent in boat management. We are good at marketing and ticket selling. So between us we have all the expertise needed to run a [short trip] boat.”

Martin Sachs leans into shot in front of the London Canal Museum
Martin Sach

Long Tom is based at the LCM in Battlebridge Basin near Kings Cross and spends half the week operating the LCM’s programme of short trips (25 mins – 90 mins), and longer day trips eastbound to Victoria Park and westbound to Little Venice.

One of the most popular short trips passes through the Islington Tunnel, which separates the two organisations. It is 960 yards (0.88 kms) long and takes 20 minutes to navigate in each direction.

Boat trip tickets include entry to the museum, and, except on the short 25 min trips, a guide/narrator for the trip.

The London Canal Museum

The museum is worth a visit by itself. Housed in an historic canal warehouse, it has displays and artefacts on two floors. They tell the story of canals from their construction, the goods and industries that relied on them for transport, the lock keepers, boatmen and their families who worked on them, the boats themselves, and the means of propulsion from horses to engines.

The museum building itself was a specialised warehouse built in 1858 on Battlebridge Basin for the restaurant owner and ice cream maker, Carlo Gatti. It was an ice store.

In the century between 1820 and 1920 (when mechanical refrigeration took over), ice was carved from lakes and glaciers in Norway, cut into 2ft square blocks and shipped across the North Sea and up the Thames to London where it was used extensively by fishmongers, butchers, restaurants and other food trades, including ice cream makers. It was big business. The museum building had two deep ice wells that could each store up to 750 tons of ice.

One of those ice wells has been opened up so visitors can see into it.

You don’t even have to visit the museum to see it. They have a controllable ‘live’ webcam in it (Ignore non-https warning). To be honest…. it’s not the most exciting livestream you’ll ever watch, but there you are!

The museum does have plans for the future. At some point it would be ideal to replace Long Tom with a more environmentally-friendly electric boat, but before that Martin Sach has his eyes focused on a new exhibit. They now have planning permission for a new pontoon in Battlebridge basin which will be the home of an 1898 horse-drawn cargo canal boat that the Canal & River Trust are giving to the LCM as a floating exhibit. 

Declaration: I was on a press visit. Museum entry was complementary.



London Canal Museum

Getting there: London Canal Museum
12-13 New Wharf Road
N1 9RT

Boat Trips (2024) There are five itineraries…

  • Tunnel boat trip. From the museum through Islington Tunnel, three-quarters of a mile long, and back. Approx. 50 minutes. Available on Thursdays and Sundays.
  • Long trips to Little Venice in west London via St. Pancras, Camden locks, Regent’s Park, and the Maida Hill Tunnel. Departs 1100 on alternate Fridays, and takes around two hours each way.
  • Long trips to Victoria Park (Bethnal Green). Departs 1130 on alternate Fridays. The trip takes about two hours outward and 90 mins for the return journey which terminates at Islington near Angel Underground station.
  • Cream Tea cruises. Every Thursday afternoon. The 90 min trip, with traditional cream tea, passes through the Islington Tunnel and the City Road Lock before returning to the museum.
  • Short trips. On limited dates short trips are operated lasting about 25 minutes. These don’t go through a lock or tunnel, or offer refreshments.

Boat trip dates, details and booking here.


Prices (2024):

  Adults Concessions Children (0-15)
Museum only ** £ 7.00 £ 5.50 £ 3.50
Tunnel Trip * £ 16.00 £ 14.00 £ 10.00
Long Trips * £ 30.00 £ 28.00 £ 23.00
Cream Tea Trip * £ 25.00 £ 23.00 £ 18.00
Short trip Trip * £ 12.00 £ 11.00 £ 9.00

* Trip tickets include museum entry
** Museum family ticket £ 15


Museum Opening Hours (2024):

Tuesdays to Sundays, 1000 to 1630 (last entry 1600).
The museum is closed on Mondays, except bank holidays.




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