Everyday urban escapes

Our canals and rivers are open and accessible for everyone to use and enjoy every day. And we’re not just talking about those popular, rural, Sunday afternoon hotspots.

You’ll find as many miles of relaxing, calming waterways through our towns and cities as you will out in the countryside. In places like Birmingham and the West Midlands, arguably more towpaths pass built up cityscapes than open fields.

Take a break in Birmingham Take a break in Birmingham

Beauty is in the eye of the beholder

The truth is, canals are places to spread your wings and find your own mindful moments wherever you are because the experience is highly personal to you.

Take a dreary Tuesday lunchtime in Liverpool. Instead of lunch at your desk again, stroll down to the Liverpool Link Canal, which runs through several of Liverpool’s docks. That ten minute breather will set you up for your afternoon of meetings.

Pier Head near Albert Docks, Liverpool Pier Head near Albert Docks, Liverpool

Your walk to work (and home again) in Wigan could take you along the 21 locks that lead up to the famous pier. And it might just give you a fresh perspective on that urgent report you’ve been struggling with.

Leigh Branch of the Leeds & Liverpool Canal in Wigan Leigh Branch of the Leeds & Liverpool Canal in Wigan

Collecting the kids from nursery? Choose to stroll with them along the Coventry Canal. Along the towpath you'll find the Coventry sculpture trail with its nod to the local industrial past. Plus, there’s plenty of traffic-free places to feed the ducks.

Coventry Canal - a great place for a stroll Coventry Canal - a great place for a stroll

For bigger kids on a post-school afternoon in Bradford or Leeds city centre, get them off the tablet and into a kayak. There’s all sorts of waterborne adventures following the trails led by the canoeing and kayaking clubs springing up along our waterways. Not least the family-orientated Desmond Family Canoe Trail all the way along the Leeds & Liverpool Canal.

Burnley canoe week

And what about those long, summer evenings in London? Ever thought about spending them fishing? Instead of packing into the local pub, pack a picnic and just release the day’s tensions as you release your tenth perch, chub or roach back into the Regent's Canal.

Fishing is relaxing at any time Fishing is relaxing at any time

Find what’s local to you

It’s extraordinary but being by one of our canals or rivers regularly could just be your way to a happier, healthier life. Our research is showing that being by the water makes you feel better.

So, take another look and your local canal. Because our canals and rivers are great spaces to… relax, think, exercise, picnic, walk, commute and much, much more.

Last date edited: 22 May 2018