Coolcanals: Waterways Directory & Information Guide. Waterside Walks & Cycling, Boating & Holidays in the Waterways Outdoors

[main pic - Stourport-on-Severn canal basin]

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Sightseeing on the canals

Britain's canals are tranquil havens from a chaotic world, with a treasure trove of living heritage to discover on every twist and turn of over 2,000 miles. Honey-pot sites, secret cities, forgotten trade routes, hidden gems - a leisure destination of contrasts not to be missed.

Birmingham's Hub

Capital of Britain's canals
Birmingham's Hub London shouts loudest across a nation, but the city of Birmingham can whisper with pride that it is the capital of Britain's canals. The Brummie voice famously chants, "We've got more canals than Venice" and the BCN (Birmingham Canal Navigations) proves it, sprawling the heart of England (without a gondola in sight). Birmingham is a vibrant multicultural city, bursting at the seams with designer shopping, art galleries, markets and more. And as the city spins its own frenzied delights, an oasis of calm remains quietly hidden away from it all: Brindleyplace is the canal basin tucked right in the city centre. It's where the urban tourist is invited to step into the city's quiet zone, enjoy the balm of water and the laziest bout of slow sightseeing the city can offer.
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Gloucester Docks

An army of waterside warehouses
Gloucester Docks The Gloucester & Sharpness Canal was built to bypass the most difficult section of the River Severn. When the canal opened in 1827, it was the widest, deepest canal in Britain - and it must have messed with the minds of ordinary villagers who witnessed tall ships walking miraculously inland on their way to Gloucester Docks. Trade was at its peak with the arrival of the canal and the newly built docks at Gloucester were handling exports and imports from around the world, with grain and timber as the bulk. Huge warehouses were built to store cargo; some have survived and are protected in their full glory today, including Llanthony Warehouse, home of Gloucester Waterways Museum. The docks are paved in history on the sweat of their past, but modern sounds today click with tourist cameras and smells of mouth-watering gastro food waft across the water between the scuffle of ropes as boats moor for the night.
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Stourport Basins

A unique canal town
Stourport Basins Stourport-on-Severn is the only town in Britain built solely for the canals. The traffic of the Industrial Revolution has gone but, in this millennium, Stourport sits on one of the busiest cruising rings in Britain (aptly known as the Stourport Ring) and holiday boats keep the basins alive. The basins are home to around 100 narrowboats and yachts, and Stourport is famed for prolific gongoozling.
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