Everyone has heard it: Birmingham has more canals than the waterway haven of Venice. Of course this is only partly true. It doesn’t actually have more canals. Just more miles of canal. 35 miles of it in fact. It makes Birmingham the capital of the country’s canal system and one of the best spots to explore the beauty of English waterways. While you won’t find any Venetian gondolas here (Brummie ones either for that matter) we still have many options for cruising our gorgeous canals.
Fancy being your own captain on the canal? The eco-friendly, electric boat company GoBoat is offering guests the opportunity to see the city from an entirely new perspective. Pack up a picnic, grab a bottle of prosecco and take to the open water, experiencing all that the area has to offer on board an electric, self-driving boat. GoBoat staff will give you a full tutorial on land, before you and your group of up to eight people can set sail and steer the boat along the Birmingham canals. Book your GoBoat experience here.
2. Rent a big ol’ boat
There are plenty of services that allow you to take to the waters on a long canal boat. Become your inner general that you’ve dreamed of every time you took a walk past a docked canal boat. It’s right there at your fingertips. Try out Sherbourne Wharf Ltd. to start trekking across all 35 miles of Brummie canals.
3. Get guided around the city on a canal tour
Just like the above, but without the faff of manning the boat, as well as an expert tour of Birmingham. Relax as you breeze through Brum with a cold drink on a spring morning. Check out Bosworth Cruises for such a service.
4. Take a canal boat holiday
If one day isn’t enough, then rent a canal to stay on all bloody week, captain. Stay out on the waters and get a taste of the life of a sailor while powering through the rough waters of Brummie canals. You can book your watery vacation with Black Prince narrowboat holidays.
5. Throw a boat party on the Birmingham canals
Stumped for a stag or hen do? Want an original idea? Look no further than a party at the canal, baby. You can go wild on the boats by night and explore the quiescent waters by day. Just triple-check the bride or groom to be doesn’t get seasickness, mind. Check out Central Boat Parties based at Gas Street Basin for your Brummie boat raving requirements.
6. Kayak to your heart’s content
There is an array of Birmingham canal trails to lose yourself in. Rent a canoe, kayak or paddle board and relax among nature. Roundhouse Birmingham guided kayak tours will lead you on a journey through the city on their sit on top kayaks which are stable and ideal for beginners and experienced kayakers alike. Choose from either their ‘Bustling Birmingham’ or ‘Green Escape’ kayak tours and discover the heart of the canal systems and the greenery nearby.
7. Enjoy a boozy cruise on the water
Run by local gin connoisseur, The Gintleman, you can book a ticket for one of these gin-tastic tours along the city’s prettiest waterways. Over the course of two hours you’ll be treated to an impressive selection of perfectly matched gins and tonics, complete with paired canapés and a cream tea featuring gin-infused jam. Something we can definitely get on board with!
There we have it, every awesome way to traverse the Birmingham canals. And not a gondola in sight. Eat your heart out Venice. We know who has the best canal system in Europe now. There might not be anyone singing romantic Italian love-songs over our shoulder. But from boozy cruises and boat parties to paddle boards and self-captained electric boats, travelling Birmingham’s waterways always feels fresh and exciting.