Canalside events this August bank holiday
After the exhilaration of the Olympics, the bank holiday weekend marks the end of a truly magical August. Thankfully, our canal and river network is hosting an Olympian spread of events and days out, so you can finish summer 2012 on a high note.
Take a trip to the fascinating London Canal Museum and book your place on one of their boat trips through underground London. Islington Tunnel on the Regent’s Canal opened in 1820 and is three quarters of a mile long. Once you’ve emerged back into the sunlight, take a walk along the canal towpath and watch the colourful boats float by.
It’s all go at Rye Meads Nature Reserve this bank holiday weekend. Take part in the bird race, enjoy their 10th Birthday celebrations or join the Wildlife Watch in the hide. Children can go for gold as part of the Olympic celebrations – and the Triathlon family week follows from Tuesday.
Staff at the Museum, based in an old Victorian warehouse in Gloucester Docks, will be dressed up as the villains of the High Seas while young visitors will have the chance to make their own pirate accessories and take part in the treasure trail.
The picturesque village of Alrewas on the Trent & Mersey Canal is always worth a visit, but never more so than from 25 August – 1 September when it hosts a week long Arts Festival. Come along for arts, music, crafts, concerts, fireworks and more. Don’t forget to stop off at the Cheese Boat to stock up on unusual and delicious cheeses.
Or head to Tamworth for a boat gathering and charity summer fair, including live music, beer festival, bbq and vintage motorcycles.
Stoke Bruerne has all the ingredients of a great day out: the historic village, Blisworth Tunnel, walks, wildlife, boat trips, traditional pubs and of course the Canal Museum. Inside the museum you’ll learn the story of Britain’s canals from the great engineers and navvies who created them, to the boat families, leggers and lock keepers who lived and worked on them.
The National Waterways Museum at Ellesmere Port is brimming over with things to see and do this bank holiday. As well as the boat collection and canal docks, you can see historic cottages brought to life, a blacksmith’s forge, stables, the pumphouse and the island warehouse exhibition. Boat trips are available on the Manchester Ship Canal and you can relax at the Waterside Café.
Or you can experience the thrill of being lifted 50 feet off the ground by a giant spider, with a trip to the Anderton Boat Lift. Built by Edwin Clark in 1875 to transfer cargo boats from the River Weaver to the Trent & Mersey Canal, the Boat Lift is well worth a visit.
Standedge Tunnel is a grand day out under any circumstances, but this bank holiday weekend sees a petting zoo, bouncy castle, donkey rides and much more adding to the fun of boat trips through the longest canal tunnel in Britain. There’s a playground for the kids to let off steam and a café for light refreshments as well.