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Exciting canal events this spring

Put a spring in your step with some wonderful events at a canal or river near you next month.

With waterside festivals, floating markets, and historical open days, there’s something for everyone.

Join in the fun at these boat shows and festivals.

Crick Boat Show 2018

Crick Boat Show is back, and this year, the UK’s largest inland waterways festival is bigger and better than ever. Held at Crick Marina in Northamptonshire over the spring bank holiday (Friday 24 to Monday 27 May), the event is brimming with exciting activities. You can take a turn at the tiller with a boat handling course, sample the local fare at the food and craft marquee, and explore a range of stalls and activities on the quayside.

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Business boats

A floating May Day market moors up at Burton on Trent next month, on the banks of the Trent & Mersey Canal. Hosted by our friends at the Roving Canal Traders Association (RCTA), the day will feature an eclectic mix of canalside stalls, colourful boats, and fun family activities. With vendors offering everything from tarot readings to artisanal cheese, there’s something for everyone.

Don't miss out

If you’re looking for a fun day out in South London, why not come along to the Norbury Canal Festival? Across the May Day bank holiday weekend, this beautiful spot at Norbury Junction will be buzzing with live music, stalls, and historic narrowboats. With boat trips along the canal, food and drink, and face painting for the kids, it’s a fun day out for all the family.

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Step back in time at the National Waterways Museum

Join us at the National Waterways Museum at Ellesmere Port in Cheshire, for a whole host of exciting historical days out.

A group of people standing infront of steam powered vehicle.

On May 4, it’s full steam ahead with the Cheshire Live Steamers. See their incredible array of miniature steam engines in action and learn all about the golden age of locomotion. With a free children’s steam trail and the chance to explore the museum’s own collection of mechanical marvels, it’s a day out you won’t want to miss.

All aboard

Two people in pirate cosumes pulling a face at camera

Drop anchor at Ellesmere Port on May 18 - 19 and enjoy a swashbuckling weekend of pirate mayhem. Whether you’re a landlubber or an old seadog, there’s a bounty of fun activities to keep you entertained, with tug-o-wars, cannon and pistol displays, quizzes, and treasure hunts. You can even have your photo taken with a real live mermaid!

Shiver me timbers

Black and white photo of foreman D.W.Turner in bowler hat and his maintenance team pose for the camera at the top of Bingley Five Rise Locks in 1912

On May 12, we’ll be sharing some fascinating tales from the National Waterways Archive. This unique collection of letters, photos and first-hand accounts is a living record of our network, stretching all the way back to its earliest roots in the 17th century. Come along and discover what life was really like for the men, women and children who lived and worked on our nation’s canals.

Journey back in time

Get active on our canals this spring

Two people in kayaks at canal event

For something a little more exhilarating, pop along to this year’s Tees Regatta in Stockton-on-Tees on May 11 for a thrill-packed day of racing. Cheer on the rowers from the bank or grab your oars and take part in the 850-metre course, just upstream from the famous Tees Barrage.

Ready, set, go

Fancy something a little more sedate? Head down to the Kennet & Avon Canal on May 11 and join hundreds of walkers stepping out for the Walk of Life. You can choose to walk the shorter 10-mile route or tackle the full 26.2-mile marathon all the way from Wiltshire to Bath or simply cheer them on from the sidelines.

Get your ticket

These are just some of the exciting waterside events and activities coming your way in spring.

  • All event dates and times are correct at time of publishing but are subject to change.

Last Edited: 08 April 2024

photo of a location on the canals
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