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Ten places to enjoy time out

There are hundreds of locations to spend time with someone special along our canals and rivers.

Two adults walk hand in hand with their dog along the canal towpath, passing a moored boat

We have so many beautiful areas where you can sit back, relax, and watch the world float by, with quacking ducks, chugging boats, and amazing animals.

Enjoy time out in the city or countryside

Wherever you live, even right in the middle of a town or city, there is always somewhere to enjoy a moment by water. The towpath is a world away from regular life, hidden just out of sight as it winds its way through the neighbourhoods where we live and work.

Step out and enjoy the beauty on your doorstep as the weather begins to warm up. Here are a few of our top spots.

Granary Square, Kings Cross, London

The Regent's Canal is located directly behind the stations of Kings Cross and St Pancras. It's an unexpected oasis of serenity and peace in the midst of somewhere busy with long-distance rail travel. From the square, wide, south-facing steps go down to the canal. During the summer this area is carpeted in green, making it the perfect place to sit and watch the boats go by.

Members of the public watching The Floating Cinema at Kings Cross

Foxton Locks, Leicestershire

Wrap up warm and head to to our famous Foxton Locks in Leicestershire for a wonderful day out. The Grade II* listed property contains the UK's longest and steepest stairway flight of locks, as well as 34 acres of natural open spaces teeming with wildlife.

Aerial view of the Foxton Locks landscape

Trap Grounds Town Green, Oxford

The Trap Grounds is an open space between the city centre and the northern suburbs along the Oxford Canal. It's a rich mosaic of wildlife habitats, including three acres of reed bed (a rare relic of a type of wetland habitat once abundant near Oxford) and seven acres of woodland and grassland which provides a huge space for you to explore.

A black and white metal bridge in front of a single lock on a sunny day.

Hatton Locks, Warwickshire

Home to the famous ‘Stairway to Heaven', Hatton Locks is a great tranquil area to watch the colourful narrowboats sail through this flight on the Grand Union Canal. It's the perfect spot to relax.

Hatton Locks along the flight

Lincoln and Brayford Pool on the River Witham

In the midst of the historic city of Lincoln, you'll find a dock and a myriad of moored boats, ranging from yachts to houseboats. Brayford Pool connects the River Witham with the Fossdyke Canal, which runs to Burton Waters in Lincoln. The River Witham navigation runs through the heart of Victorian Lincoln, passing through the Glory Hole, an historic half-building that sits directly over the canal.

Brayford Pool, Lincoln

Brindley Place, Birmingham

Visitors entering the canal walkways from Birmingham's bustling streets will be met with a sea of tranquillity. The steps just outside the arena are a perfect spot to people-watch while you bask in the winter sun.

The sun rises over central Birmingham, reflecting the surrounding buildings in the canal.

Tring Reservoirs, Hertfordshire

Just outside Aylesbury lies Tring Reservoirs, a Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI) managed by Herts & Middlesex Wildlife Trust and renowned for its wildlife. Get some fresh air and enjoy the scenery while exploring the towpaths of the Grand Union Canal's Wendover and Aylesbury Canal Arms. Why not begin or end your visit with a picnic or a pub lunch?

Tring reservoirs

Pontcysyllte Aqueduct, Wrexam

The aqueduct, which carries the Llangollen Canal across the River Dee valley in North Wales, is one of our canal network's most impressive engineering marvels. You can walk across the aqueduct or take the boat to spare your legs. Don't forget your camera and your head for heights to take in the stunning views of the valley.

Pontcysyllte Aqueduct from above

Goytre Wharf, Monmouthshire

Just a few miles from Cwmbran, there's plenty of green and blue space to enjoy at Goytre Wharf. Sit and enjoy the boats coming and going along the Monmouthshire & Brecon Canal. There is also a buggy-friendly walk through Goytre Hall Wood.

Narrowboat moored on a canal corner next to houses

Newbury, Berkshire

The Kennet & Avon Canal winds its way through Newbury's market town, which features a lovely waterside path and plenty of boat facilities. Many buildings associated with the canal's history can be found at Newbury Wharf. The canal runs through Victoria Park, which features a boating lake, bandstand, and bowls club, as well as other traditional English attractions.

Narrowboat moored on the towpath opposite houses on the Kennet & Avon Canal

You might have your own favourite spot along our 2,000 miles of waterways. Why not send us a photo via Twitter or Facebook?

Also, don't forget to bring your free activity sheet and map for each of our Places to Visit.

Free guides for fun days out

Looking for a perfect place to relax and unwind? Download your free regional guide today

Family activity guide

Free family activity guides

Download a free booklet of canal-themed activities that you can enjoy by the water or at home

Last Edited: 01 February 2024

photo of a location on the canals
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