Town Guide


Birmingham, Canals, 5K Many people will be surprised to find out that Birmingham has more miles of canals to its name than even Venice!

However, unlike the picturesque canals of the more famous town, Birmingham's canals were for many years an eyesore rather than an attraction.

Like so many things in Birmingham, this was because of the city's industrial heritage. The canals were built in the height of the industrial revolution and their sole purpose was to transport the huge quantities of goods that were produced in the city.

In fact, by the late 19th century over 9 million tons of goods travelled along Birmingham's canals each year.

However, once the railways arrived the canals were soon superseded as a means of transportation and as a result the canals gradually fell into disuse. Polluted and untended, they were hardly a tourist attraction.

However, as part of the city of Birmingham's recent rejuvenation, the canals have been cleaned up and extensively restored over the last few years.

So today Birmingham's canals are a picturesque side to an industrial city and so are now an attraction to tourists. With canalside walks, waterside pubs and pretty canal boats moored along the banks Birmingham's canals are well worth a visit.

In fact the reputation of Birmingham's canals is now so good that in recent years the city has gained the nickname "Venice of the North".

A good place to start a tour of Birmingham's canals is at the Gas Street Basin, which is situated to the south of the International Convention Centre. From here there are some excellent walks along the canal side, or you could opt for a boat trip instead.

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