Lots of places to visit and things to do around the canals.

You don’t have to stay on the boat when you’re on a canal holiday, there’s plenty to see and do around the Canals – Castles, Stately Homes, Theme Parks, Shopping Centres, Festivals, Boat Rallies and canal pubs of course!

  • Explore country villages, market towns, city centres, nature reserves, golf courses.
  • Visit National attractions – castles, stately homes, gardens, theme parks, garden centres.
  • Admire Canal Heritage – museums, aqueducts, bridges, tunnels, Locks and boat lifts.
  • Spend time in Canal side pubs, cafes, restaurants and places to eat and relax.
  • Enjoy Boat rallies, gatherings and festivals, trading boats, music and other festivals.

What Attractions Can We Visit While We Are On The Canals?

The network offers a myriad of canalside attractions for all the family to enjoy, many of which are open even during the winter months. These range from puppet shows to medieval castles, restaurants to indoor ski centres, factory shops to golf clubs, fitness centres to second hand book depositories.
You can find more from our Canal Guides and in the hire company and hotelboat company brochures, but here’s a few examples:


The National Waterways Museums at Gloucester, Ellesmere Port and Stoke Bruerne, The Black Country Living Museum in Dudley and the London Canal MuseumMore about canal museums.


Some of the UK’s finest castles, stately homes, gardens and nature reserves are either visible or within convenient walking distance from a canal or navigable river, see our Castle Listings.

Heritage sites:

The Canal & River Trust owns over 3000 listed structures. Aqueducts such as Pontcysyllte and Chirk on the Llangollen Canal, the the Anderton Boat Lift, the amazing Falkirk Wheel, the ‘Stairway to Heaven’ Hatton flight of 21 locks near Warwick, the Standedge Tunnel – the longest in the UK at more than 3 miles, the list goes on and on! Staggering feats of engineering are a commonplace on the canal network, both impressive to contemplate and beautiful to behold.

Canalside Pubs:

The canalside pubs that you find everywhere on the canal network are classic examples of the olde English public house, and as most of them were built to service either the canal’s construction or the boat-people who worked on them, the history and culture of canal life runs straight through the heart of them. Many of them are worth a special visit on their own.


Rallies and Gatherings:

There are a wide range of boat gatherings on the canals, some locally organised, some nationally run. The Inland Waterways Association holds an annual National Festival at different locations to highlight waterways campaigns and issues, and there are regular boaters gatherings at locations such as Braunston and Ellesmere Port.


A number of music festivals are either focused around or are directly adjacent to stretches of canal, such as the Saul Canal Festival on the Gloucester-Sharpness or Cropredy Music Festival on the Oxford Canal.


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