Birmingham's canals provide a great way for holidaymakers to explore the city in an unorthodox way. Whereas in the past the canals were primarily used for industrial transport, the waterways now welcome visitors with guided tours and boat hire. Today they're a brilliant place for walking, jogging and cycling, not to mention canoeing, kayaking and canal boat tours.
Several operators run boat tours along the canals, many on board the traditional narrowboats that once plied these waterways with cargoes of freight. It's a relaxing and unique way to view the city, and you'll be sure to have an entirely different perspective on the metropolis after viewing its many sights from the water.
Historic waterwaysThe usable portions of the Birmingham Canal Navigations system currently stretch over 100 miles throughout the city and the nearby Black Country. This means Birmingham has even more canals than Venice. Originally built in the 18th century, these canals formed an essential conduit for raw materials to reach the industrial stronghold of Birmingham. In its heyday, the canal network contained 160 miles of navigable waterways.
These days, the city has transformed what once was almost exclusively for the use of industry into a viable tourist attraction. The network's hub has traditionally been near Gas Street Basin, and guests can still visit the area for boating tours or just to see the immaculately restored examples of craft that used to be common on the canals.
The canals todayNearby you'll find plenty of great shopping, dining and nightlife options, plus you're within a short walk of many of the city's top attractions, including theatres and museums. New Street Station is also just a short stroll away.
Located just minutes away from Gas Street Basin, the main junction of the canal network, the Radisson Blu Hotel in Birmingham is the perfect base for excursions on the waterways. The hotel has an ideal location for visiting the many great local attractions and events venues, including the nearby O2 Academy.