This artificial canal was built in 1769 to improve the navigation of the river Lea. It runs from the Lea Bridge in Hackney to Old Ford near Bow, a distance of 3.2 km. Over the years the canal was widened to allow bigger barges through, some of which were used as warehouses. There are still a few factories dotted around the canal, but they are mostly used as studio spaces. The Channel 4 show The Big Breakfast was filmed in the lock houses around Old Ford; more recently the Hackney Cut has attracted attention thanks to the creation nearby of the Olympic Park.
The Hackney Cut Canal
Lea Bridge Road to Old Ford Lock, E3 5SX
Bethnal Green (0.56 miles)
The Hackney Cut Canal Picture Gallery
The Cut is an artificial waterway that cuts through the east of Hackney, where the water is flanked by a nature reserve on one side and the soothing stillness of the towpath on the other. Stroll all the way up to Springfield Park (an underrated attraction that could have made it onto this list in its own right) or stop off for a pint at the pub on route.