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New festival comes to city’s canals

08 September 2017

Birmingham’s city centre canals are set to host a brand-new festival aimed at celebrating their history and encouraging people living nearby to explore the waterways on their doorstep.

The festival is being organised by the Canal & River Trust, the charity that cares for 2,000 miles of waterways across England and Wales, in partnership with Regency Wharf and a host of other canalside venues.

Taking place on 16 and 17 September, The Birmingham Canal Festival will give people the opportunity to try a variety of different activities and showcase all that the city’s canals have to offer. 

Jump on one of Birmingham’s narrow boat day trips joining Away 2 Canal or Sherborne Wharf for an hour long canal trip into the country from Birmingham City Centre.

Fishing taster sessions near the National Sealife Centre will give people the chance to try their hand at angling.
All equipment will be provided and, with the city’s canals well stocked with fish, there’s a good chance of a catch.

A floating market moored near the Barclaycard Arena will offer a range of tasty foods and handmade crafts whilst the recently opened Canal House will be holding outdoor activities to keep the children entertained. 

A map will be available on the day for the ‘Kids Canal Trail’, where families can receive stamps on their map as they discover different iconic spots along the canal. 

Coinciding with Birmingham Heritage Week the event will also enable people to take a step back in time by venturing onto a historic working boat moored outside the Roundhouse. Visitors will be able to step onboard and discover what life would have been like for a boatman and his family on a working narrowboat at the height of the Industrial Revolution.

Families can also head along to Regency Wharf which will be hosting a kids DIY Drive-In and craft workshop followed by films for Flatpack Film Festival’s “Birmingham on Film Festival”, whilst screenings will take place on a narrowboat moored in Gas Street Basin. 

It will be another chance to see Cliff Richard’s 1973 film Take Me High - in which Cliff moves to Birmingham, lives on a narrowboat and sets about inventing a new burger (the Brumburger) - as well as a selection of other canal-related short films.

Peter Mathews CMG, chair of the Canal & River Trust’s West Midlands Waterway Partnership, said; “Birmingham’s canals are world famous and attract thousands of tourists each year but as the charity that cares for them we really want to see local people enjoying them and reaping the benefits of this wonderful historic resource on their doorsteps. 

“Birmingham’s canalside is full of life with so much going on both on the water and dry land and this festival will be a great way to rediscover what’s on your doorstep. 

“Whether you’d like to get out on the water, try some fishing or just enjoy a leisurely drink and something to eat it’s definitely worth a visit and we’d encourage people to come along.”

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