EPT London Day 1B: Take a walk in the park

Yesterday afternoon, Stephen Bartley dared to dream of a world outside the Grosvenor Victoria casino. He claimed there was somewhere called the Edgware Road in the vicinity, with shops and restaurants and things like that. It even has its own Twitter account, which tutted its disapproval at Bartley's suggestion that it wasn't one of London's most desirable neighbourhoods.

But here's the thing: London is one of the most exciting and diverse cities in the world, where you can find pretty much anything you ever want. Even poker players sometimes like to see something other than the inside of a casino, and as this tournament progresses and the inevitable eliminations occur, there are going to be more and more of them looking for alternative entertainment.

Most of the PokerStars Blog team lives in London and we consider it our responsibility to make sure you enjoy your time in the capital. So every day for the duration of this tournament, we'll give you some suggestions of things you might like to look at, with our sights widening slightly every day.

So after Bartley centred his scouting report on Edgware Road, I have permitted myself a two-mile radius from the casino. Let's see what we can find.

The obvious direction to head out of the casino is south, towards Marble Arch, where you'll find the start both of Oxford Street and Hyde Park. But if you instead headed north east, you would find yourself in Regent's Park, a smaller but arguably even more charming spot than Hyde Park.


St John's Lodge in Regent's Park. (Credit: Creative Commons)

It was originally planned in the early 19th century by the legendary architect John Nash, with acres of empty space, areas of landscape garden, rows of immaculate terraced housing and even a theatre.

And at the north side of Regent's Park, still only 1.7 miles from the Vic, is London Zoo, which is among the best city-based zoos in the world. Go in if you want - it's excellent, if a little pricey - but you don't need to stump up a penny to wander around the zoo, down a little staircase, and onto the banks of the Regent's Canal.

The Regent's Canal is a man-made waterway linking west London with east, and permits you the chance to walk all the way--along the "tow-path", so called as its the path along which the horses used to walk that "towed" the barges carrying various goods, coal, etc. to the city.

The canal cuts through London Zoo, with the bird aviaries on one side and the giraffe enclosure on the other, and you can almost always catch glimpse of a lot of the animals.

One of the most charming walks in the capital takes you from the Zoo west towards Maida Vale and the area of London known as Little Venice. It is where several canal boats are moored permanently amid one of the swankiest neighbourhoods in the city.


Little Venice, London (Credit: Creative Commons)

You can also take a trip on a barge yourself down the canal, heading east towards Camden Lock (and the vibrant market there) or to the aforementioned Little Venice. You'll pass through St John's Wood, home to the rich and famous, plus everything else mentioned above, then end up in the eclectic melting pot of Camden Market.

You can eat and drink to your heart's content at either end of the canal When you get to Maida Vale, there are some terrific London pubs to sample around the Paddington Basin. In Camden, it's falafel, tattoos and tie-dye, but it has its own charms.

Either way, you will have forgotten whatever ills blighted you at the poker table in no time.

Tomorrow, we'll cast the net even wider and offer another trip you might want to take outside of the Vic.


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Howard Swains
@howardswains in European Poker Tour