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The charity making life better by water

Angel Canal Festival to return this weekend

We're delighted to announce that the Angel Canal Festival is to return to the Regent’s Canal on Sunday 5 September 2021.

Community boat skipper at Angel Festival

We're keen for this to be an opportunity for everyone who has fallen in love with the Regent's Canal or relied upon this precious stretch of waterway in Angel to support their wellbeing over the last 18 months, to join in and celebrate together.

Despite a deliberately smaller format, to allow for social distancing, we're happy to bring the festival back, after the event was cancelled last year just as the Regent's Canal was due to celebrate its 200th birthday.

History of the festival

The Angel Canal Festival has been a regular event for more than 30 years. It began in 1980 when Crystal Hale created it to fundraise to repair the narrowboat ‘Angel', which provided local children with boat rides and trips into the countryside. In 1986 with the help of event organiser Jim Lagdon, the Angel Canal Festival was born.

In previous years, Crystal led a successful campaign to save the City Road Basin from being filled in and built on. With the help of family, friends, local people and councillors, Crystal started up two clubs on the City Road Basin: The Angel Community Canal Boat Trust and the Islington Boat Club. Today, the basin is still home to the two thriving clubs who use it extensively for the benefit of thousands of people every year.

The canal was named after the Prince Regent and runs along the north edge of Regent's Park and London Zoo. It connects the River Thames at Limehouse to the Grand Union Canal in Paddington, with the original purpose of moving imports from London to Birmingham and the industrial Midlands, a ‘motorway' of its time.

With the decline in freight transport on Britain's narrow canals in the 20th century, today the Regent's Canal has been reinvented and is enjoying a second golden age as a haven for both people and wildlife.

What's on

This year the festival will feature:

  • Kayaking and pedalos, provided by Islington Boat Club
  • Boat trips
  • Entertainment, including music, theatre, children's activities
  • Market stalls and a floating market
  • Food market offering a wide variety of street food stalls
  • Heritage walks

The festival will be held on Sunday 5 September, from 11.00am to 5.00pm. There is no cost to attend. The location of the festival is the Regent's Canal, City Road Basin, Graham Street, London, N1 8GJ.

We're the charity that looks after the approximately 350km of canal in London and the south east, including the blue green corridors that bring nature and wildlife into the heart of Islington.

Over the last 18 months canals have provided a lifeline for so many. The Trust wants to build and enhance relationships with the people who love their local canal in Angel, so that together we can be custodians for future generations to enjoy the Regent's Canal for another 200 years.

On Sunday 5 September the Mayor of Islington, Troy Gallagher, and Sir William Atkinson, Chair of the Trust for London & South East Region will be in attendance.

Bringing the festival back

Ros Daniels, our director for London & South East, says: “We are so happy that we have inherited the running of Angel Canal Festival, and that we are able to safely bring it back for the community to enjoy this year. We're grateful for all the people who have helped to care for their local canal and have discovered the wellbeing benefits of being by water during the lockdowns and we are looking forward to introducing a new generation to this important part of our canal heritage.”

Whilst government restrictions have eased, the Trust wants all visitors and those working at the festival to feel safe. The number of activities has been reduced to allow for social distancing, and the Trust asks that if people have covid symptoms, or if they or anyone in their household has tested positive for COVID-19 in the last seven days, to please not attend the festival.

Kingfisher in flight with small fish in its beak

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Last Edited: 03 September 2021

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