The Top 10 Canals in England

One very leisurely way of enjoying the beautiful English countryside is by taking a boat down one of England’s canals.

Each canal has its own characteristics and personality. There has been a recent renaissance in canal boating trips. This renewed interest has sparked numerous businesses.

The canals of England are there for all of us to enjoy. You can spend a day getting lost in the picturesque beauty of the English countryside. There are so many different ways to enjoy these beautiful waterways.

There are over 3,000 miles of beautiful canals to explore in England. You can enjoy a luxury dinner or live music while enjoying the tranquility. Canals provide entertainment for individuals of any age, from children to grandparents. These are the 10 best canals in England to help you relax and have fun.

The Top 10 Canals in England

Ashton Canal

Ashton Canal photo

Photo by Pimlico Badger The Top 10 Canals in England 1

This canal was nearly closed but thanks to a heavy reconstruction effort in the 1970’s, you can still enjoy this pleasant waterway. This canal was built in 1792 to help the coal industry transport goods. The canal runs through the heart of Manchester. You can catch a ferry ride seven days a week. This canal is seven miles long, lying between the Peak Forest and Huddersfield Narrow Canals. This canal is an important connecting route for the Cheshire Ring. The Cheshire Ring is a combination of six canals. You can also picnic at the Portland Basin.

Kennet and Avon Canal

Kennet and Avon Canal photo

Photo by shrinkin’violet The Top 10 Canals in England 1

This waterway covers stunning views of open plains and villages. It runs through the historic Georgian city of Bath. This is a very popular waterway, playing host to tourists and locals all year long. This canal is 87 miles long and links the Bristol Canal with London. Thousands of visitors enjoy walks and boating every day. This waterway was originally three different canals—the Kennet Navigation, the Avon Navigation, and the Kennet and Avon Canal. This canal was completed in 1810. In the 1960’s, this canal was on the brink of closure. It took a concerted effort from waterway enthusiasts to bring it back. Now it is one of the country’s favourite waterways.

Oxford Canal

Oxford Canal photo

Photo by Dave Hamster The Top 10 Canals in England 1

This is the most popular canal in the country. You can enjoy first-class pubs as this river winds through the countryside and small towns. This canal runs through beautifully undeveloped landscape. This lovely trail begins in Oxford and has been the same winding course since the early 1900’s There is a wide variety of beautiful wildlife, including some endangered species such as the European water vole. This canal was designed in 1774 with the purpose of helping increase transportation for the coal industry. This canal is being maintained by Castle Quays Development. This is an excellent canal for a trip with your family, and the natural views are very relaxing.

South Stratford Canal

South Stratford Canal photo

Photo by ell brown The Top 10 Canals in England 1

This is a picture-perfect canal trip that includes many historic bridges, and you will be immersed in the beautiful countryside. Rolling hills and small towns dot the epic views. This is a very relaxing trip and great for getting some time to clear your mind. There is also lots of wildlife along the path.

Shropshire Union Canal

Shropshire Union Canal photo

Photo by Smabs Sputzer The Top 10 Canals in England 1

This canal is considered one of the great accomplishment of the industrial age. This canal is mostly isolated as it calmly rides through charming villages along its path. You can go miles without seeing a town so this is a very good canal ride for anyone who is looking for some nature on their canal trip. This is a wide waterway with many long embankments and grand bridges. This waterway began in 1770 and underwent extensively remodelling until 1921. It is now a very tranquil and spirit-freeing journey that incorporates epic scenery with natural beauty.

The Grand Union Canal

The Grand Union Canal photo

Photo by mike.t photography The Top 10 Canals in England 1

This canal is a thriving link between London and Birmingham. It cuts through picturesque countryside and peaceful villages, and is one of the longest canals in England. You travel through the heart of London. This canal is strewn with historic landmarks. You can even learn about the waterways past at the Canal Museum at Stoke Bruerne. This waterway was the culmination of years of work on different canals that eventually merged to form the Grand Union Canal.

Rochdale Canal

Rochdale Canal photo

Photo by Tim Green aka atoach The Top 10 Canals in England 1

This canal travels through the heights of the Pennines. The trip starts in Manchester and continues to Sowerby Bridge. Because of the steep climb, you traverse a number of locks. This can be exhausting but also very exciting, and the views are amazing. There is also a spectacular hiking trail running along the canal. This canal was opened to the public in 1804; it was privately owned until 1948, and in 1996 this waterway was remodeled including the addition of one of the deepest locks in Britain.

Monmouthshire and Beacon Canal

Monmouthshire and Beacon Canal photo

Photo by michaeljohnbutton The Top 10 Canals in England 1

This canal is isolated from the main network. It runs 35 miles through serene countryside, complete with incredible mountain views. This is the most popular attraction in the Brecon Beacons National Park. This beautiful waterway follows the Usk Valley, and is a nature-lovers paradise. There is also a 55-mile long hiking trail called the Taff Trail. This canal was originally opened in 1799 and was a main form of transportation for ironworkers during the industrial age. Part of this canal was granted World Heritage status in 2000. This is a fantastic waterway and a perfect way to spend your day.

Wedgwood’s Caldon Canal

wedgwood caldon photo

Photo by Smabs Sputzer The Top 10 Canals in England 1

This canal provides a picturesque view of nature. It is 17-miles long with 17 locks. It is a great first canal to ride as it does not take too long. This canal runs from Stoke-on-Trent to Staffordshire, including the Churnet Valley. Originally intended to carry limestone, this canal has become a very popular attraction for boaters, cyclist, and walkers. The famous Froghall Wharf is very tranquil and calming. This canal opened in 1779 with additions added until it reached its current length. This was one of the last commercial canals in England.

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