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The charity making life better by water

Seven ways to keep your cool this summer

As the temperature rises people look for easy ways to cool down.

Burnley ice lollies: summer roadshow 2017

Summer is one of the most popular times for people to visit our canals and rivers. And why not? They're beautiful places to visit, although we may be biased.

It's really tempting to dip more than your toes in the sparkling waters but be warned. Canal, river and reservoir water will still be really cold, even in the summer. It can take your breath away making it difficult to swim. Sadly, of the 400 people who drown in the UK every year*, more than half of these happen at inland waters such as canals, rivers, lakes, quarries and reservoirs**.

Put on your shades and take to the towpath instead

So here's our guide to keeping your cool at your #localcanal this and every year.

1. Enjoy lunch al fresco

Sitting by the canal

Rather than eating al desko, enjoy a better slice of waterside wellbeing with any number of perfect places to picnic up and down our waterways.

2. Have a cooling drink

There are so many fantastic pubs and cafes along our waterways we couldn't list them all. You can find a few on our Places to visit pages.

3. Chill out

If you're more of an ice lolly, ice cream, frappe kind of person, again, seek out one of the hundreds of cafes and ice cream shops along the towpath. For instance, our Standedge Waterside Café features Grandpa Greene's Luxury ice cream this year.

But it's not all about food…

4. Go gongoozling

Yes that's a thing. It's the art of sitting and relaxing by the waterway and just watching the boats, and the world, float by.

5. Paddle on the water

Canoeing and paddleboarding

From boat trips at our museums and attractions to canoe and kayaking trails, you can find plenty of safe ways to float your boat on our canals this summer.

6. Hit the trail

With dozens of walking trails and cycling routes along our towpaths, you're sure to find a breezy spot or two along the way.

7. Lounge in the shade of waterside trees

Rather than get tangled in waterway reeds yourself, download our free foldable fan and waft yourself cool while you look out for the amazing array of wildlife and water birds living among them. You could even catch a rare glimpse of an otter or water vole.

8. Follow government guidelines

It is important to be considerate to others when practicing social distancing. However, our waterways remain a place for friendly and fulfilling connections with others. Following government guidelines is just another way to show kindness to people you meet during your visit.

Determined to go swimming?

If you want to jump and dive, head to your local swimming pool. Don't get in locks or canals as these can have hidden dangers - you could hurt yourself if you jump in.

Instead, #BeWaterSafe. As a member of the National Water Safety Forum, we're working towards the Forum's aim to reduce accidental drownings by 50% by 2026 by making sure #lifesbetterbywater.

Waterways have the power to make a real difference to people's lives and spending time by (emphasis on the ‘by', not ‘in') water can make us all healthier and happier. Which is why we're creating better canalside places that everyone can visit and enjoy, every day.

(*) and (**) based on the WAID data (Water Incident Database) 2014 published by the National Water Safety Forum

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Two women eat lunch next to the canal

Wellbeing on your doorstep

Find somewhere beautiful to rest, relax and recharge. Discover what's local to you

Last Edited: 11 May 2021

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