Thursday 23 April 2015

Top 10 Things To Do On Canals This May Bank Holiday Weekend

Top 10 Things To Do On Canals This May Bank Holiday Weekend

Canalway Cavalcade, Little Venice, London

This colourful annual Bank Holiday event brings all the fun of the country fair into the heart of the city. Narrowboats travel from all over to attend the Canalway Cavalcade, Little Venice, London boat rally to fill the hidden gem of London that is Little Venice Pool. Organised by the Inland Waterways Association (, there’s plenty of music, stalls selling real ale, crafts and food, as well as activities for children and an illuminated procession of boats on Sunday evening. MAP - 2nd to 4th May. Nearest tube stations are Warwick Avenue or Paddington.

Somerset Space Walk, Maunsel Lock, Bridgwater

This 15-mile scale model of the Solar System will appeal to all budding astrologists and moon-walkers. Designed by astronomer Pip Youngman in 1997 to demonstrate the vastness of the universe, it runs along the towpath of the Bridgwater & Taunton Canal. Explorers can stroll around Earth and its neighbours or the adventurous can cycle the whole stretch.

Caen Hill Locks, Wiltshire

Kennet & Avon Canal and Caen Hill Flight of Locks at Devizes
Our forefathers didn’t let anything as inconvenient as a hill stop them from building the Kennet & Avon Canal and Caen Hill Flight of Locks at Devizes is the impressive solution to this problem. The stunning climb of 16 successive locks forms part of a larger flight of 29 locks that cover 2 miles from Rowde to Devizes. Currently celebrating it’s 200th anniversary, visitors can stop off at a local pub and sample local brewer Wadworth’s special ‘K&A 200’ celebration ale. A full list of celebratory bicentenary events is

Tees Barrage, Durham

For adrenaline seekers the Tees Barrage provides a unique wetland sports hub. Activities vary from windsurfing, water-skiing, sailing, rowing, powerboat racing, white water rafting and angling. The UK’s first fully sustainable white water course is also being built here in time for the 2012 Olympics. Those with a more leisurely appetite can take a stroll to look at the impressive structure of the barrage itself or look at it more closely from the viewing platform. Visitors can support runners on the Tees Side 10km run on Monday 3rd May.

Pontcysyllte Aqueduct, Trevor, Near Wrexham

Pontcysyllte Aqueduct
For history seekers with a head for heights it doesn’t get much better than Pontcysyllte Aqueduct. Soaring 125 feet from the ground this marvel of engineering carries theLlangollen Canal over the River Dee and was built 205 years ago by two of Britain’s greatest engineers, Thomas Telford and William Jessop. The aqueduct is a Grade 1 Listed structure, a Scheduled Ancient Monument and last year became a World Heritage Site, putting it on the same level as the Taj Mahal and the Statue of Liberty. Visitors can walk across the towpath or enjoy the view from a guided narrowboat. MAP.
From 6th-15th May get an extra dose of history by visiting the restored Shropshire ‘fly-boat’ Saturn, for more information contact call 01606 723800

Standedge Tunnel, Huddersfield

Marsden Portal Standedge Tunnel
This tunnel boasts the claim to being the deepest, highest and longest tunnel on Britain’s canal network. Stretching an impressive 3 ¼ miles, the tunnel was reopened in 2001 after a 20 year restoration project. Visitors can take a 30 minute guided boat trip into the tunnel, take a look around the visitor centre and café, or visit nearby Marsden Moor, Colne Valley Folk Museum and Holmfirth, home of Last of the Summer Wine.
This Bank Holiday weekend Standedge will host a children’s Teddy Bears Picnic (2 May), a free arts and crafts fair (2 & 3 May) and a Horses at Work Day by The Horseboating Society, including a demonstration of how boaters would have traditionally ‘legged’ through tunnels (3 May).
Call 01782 785703 or visit

Foxton Locks, South Leicestershire

Foxton Locks on the Grand Union Canal
Foxton Inclined Plane - a pioneering boat lift opened at the start of the 20th centuryFoxton Locks on the Grand Union Canal is not only famous for its flight of locks, it’s also the site of the Foxton Inclined Plane - a pioneering boat lift opened at the start of the 20th century to speed the flow of traffic. The Foxton Locks Heritage Partnership is set in beautiful rural Leicestershire the site has a tearoom, pub and lots of picturesque walks. To take advantage of Foxton’s tranquil location, British Waterways and Leicestershire Orienteering Club have just created a permanent, family friendly 2km Foxton Orienteering Course to get your minds working as well as your feet. A fun twist to the traditional family walk and no compass necessary! Orienteering packs are available free at or can also be purchased on-site at the Top Lock Café for £2.

Black Country Living Museum Tug Boat Event, Dudley

Set next to the Dudley Canal, the Black Country Living Museum is a unique open air village that brings history to life and demonstrates why canals were the lifelines of the 19th Century. Costumed demonstrators and working craftsmen create a window to the past in an area famous for its intense production of iron, steel and coal. On 1st-3rd May the museum hosts the Tug Boat Event attracting tug boats from across the country. Guided tours, traditional canal crafts and street games will also be going on.

Anderton Boat Lift, Cheshire

Anderton Boat Lift was built in 1875 to carry boats on the 50 foot vertical drop between the the Trent & Mersey Canal and the River Weaver
Anderton Boat Lift was built in 1875 to carry boats on the 50 foot vertical drop between the the Trent & Mersey Canal and the River Weaver. One of only two working boat lifts in Britain, Anderton Boat Lift was in use for over 100 years before falling into disrepair. Restored to its former glory in 2002, visitors now have the opportunity to travel in the lift and enjoy a relaxing cruise along the Weaver Navigation, or visit the modern operations centre.
For more information call 01606 786777 or visit

Waterways Wildlife Survey

Kingfisher - Alcedo atthis
Anyone can take part in this survey to record the nations canal-loving wildlife. All you need to do is visit your local canal, river, reservoir or lake, make a note of what wildlife you see and where, and then log your sightings And keep a special eye out for the magnificent kingfisher which British Waterways ecologists have highlighted as a focus species this year, following our harsh winter.
To get some inspiration for towpath walking or cycling routes visit