One of the West Midlands' most enticing attractions, the Birmingham canal pathway is forever proving it's much more than just a cute water feature. Spanning the length and breadth of the city, these waterways offer a wealth of action to get involved with, from pastimes like canoeing and cycling, to more laidback affairs, such as tipples on the towpath. We're helping you take the plunge as we round up the best things to do on the Birmingham canal, and we're even throwing in some post-pursuit sipping spots.
Splash About In A Canoe
There's no better way to get one-on-one with the water than in a canoe. Outdoor activity hubs such as Ackers Adventure offer you fun Birmingham canal tours, embarking from Icknield Port, through to the green suburbs and into the city centre. Ideal for ca-newbies as well as more advanced paddlers, the three-mile expedition lets you explore the city from a new perspective. Looking to refuel afterwards? Head to The White Swan, which boasts tasty gastro-grub, beers and a pretty garden.
Just off of Bridge Street is another top-notch eatery near the canals. This summer, The Canal House are giving you a little taste of Italy with their themed piazza – that means gorgeous white cabanas, endless Aperol spritzes to sip on and lush orange trees. And if that doesn’t tickle your fancy, the venue has a cosy rooftop space and scrumptious grub all year round.
Sat just a stone's throw from the National SEA LIFE Centre, The Distillery is an idyllic pub along the Birmingham canal. Fronting a lineup of excellent food and local craft brews, the venue also offers a look at the HQ of Round House Gin. Take a tour of their working copper still, which produces this small-batch spirit onsite, before settling down for an interactive infusion session with their gin school.
We’ve got a real stunner for you: Craft English Garden in Brindleyplace. The outdoor haunt boasts beautiful private dining pods, complete with floral décor and comfy seating. With chef Aktar Islam and Sam and Emma Morgan at the helm, they serve some delicious gin cocktails and tasty British fare. Try out the cured smoked salmon and avocado- it's divine.
Explore Gas Street Basin
One of the most unique parts of the canal network, Gas Street Basin offers key insight into the city's industrial past with its imposing refurbished factory buildings. A meeting point for two of the network's largest canals, the basin is home to a selection of bars and restaurants including 52 Gas Street. What's on the menu? Oh, only some of the best cocktails around - the lemonberry sorbet is especially refreshing.
If you're after Birmingham canal trips with lunch and an indoor activity (when the sun gets a little too scorching), head to Broad Street's Felson’s. The perfect plot to settle into after a walk along the waterways, the boozer promises plenty of cracking entertainment and American fare. While munching on a juicy burger, you and your crew can get stuck into some seriously fun shuffleboard shenanigans, followed by a game of pool.
Enjoy A Cycle Down The Towpath
Birmingham's 100-mile canal system makes it, essentially, the largest cycle path in any British city. Hop on your bike and see if you can explore a cut of it, taking in various tracts including Grand Union and other notable landmarks - we mean the likes of the gorgeous Edgbaston reservoir, Symphony Hall and a whole host of pubs. Our personal favourite? There's nothing better than sitting outside with a pint in hand at Pitcher & Piano.