Travel through the Bingley Five Rise locks on a canal boat holiday

Bingley Five Rise Locks celebrate 250th anniversary

This year, the Bingley Five Rise Locks on the Leeds & Liverpool Canal near Bradford in West Yorkshire will be 250 years old!

One of the greatest feats of canal engineering of its day, the Grade I listed Bingley Five Rise Locks opened on 21 March 1774. On that day, 30,000 people turned out to cheer their opening, and the local militia fired their field guns in salute.

The Canal & River Trust is holding a Bingley Five Rise Locks 250-year celebration on Saturday 23 March 2024, from 10am to 3pm.  The free family-friendly day will including lock keeper demonstations and talks by volunteers, boat trips along the canal, heritage talks and walks, a floating market, paddle sports sessions and Let’s Fish! taster sessions.

Drifters member Anglo Welsh will be exhibiting one of its widebeam boats from Silsden. Helen’s Drum will be moored alongside the Leeds & Liverpool Canal towpath at the top of the locks. Visitors will be able to tour the boat to see the facilities on board.

There’s more information about the Canal & River Trust’s Bingley Five Locks 250-year celebrations here

A wonder of the waterways

Considered to be one of the Seven Wonders of the Waterways, the five cavernous chambers raise (or lower) boats by 18 metres.  They open directly from one to another, with the top gate of one forming the bottom of the next. It takes boats around 45 minutes to go up the locks and 30 minutes to go down. Canal & River Trust lock keepers are on hand to help.

Five facts about Bingley Five Rise Locks and the Leeds & Liverpool Canal

  1. At 127 miles, the Leeds & Liverpool Canal is the longest single canal in the country, crossing the Pennines and linking the wide waterways of Yorkshire with those of Lancashire and the River Mersey.
  2. Bingley Five Rise Lock staircase is the steepest lock staircase in Britain and is the most spectacular feature of the Leeds & Liverpool Canal.
  3. The locks are Grade I listed, meaning they are of exceptional interest both on an architectural and historical scale.
  4. The lock gates at Bingley are some of the tallest in the country. Each gate is unique and made using the same traditional methods as 250 years ago.
  5. At the top of the locks there’s a viewing area where you can take in the stunning views across the Aire Valley and the Five Rise Locks Café.

Canal boat holidays from Silsden

Drifters offers canal boat hire from Silsden, just six miles along the Leeds & Liverpool Canal from Bingley.  It takes around three and a half hours to cruise to the Five Rise Locks from Silsden, so it’s perfect for a relaxing short break.  On the way to Bingley from Silsden, you’ll pass through Stockbridge and Riddlesden, with the National Trust’s East Riddlesden Hall not far from the canal.  A few miles after Bingley, you’ll reach the UNESCO World Heritage town Saltaire, near Shipley.

On a week’s holiday from Silsden, you can continue to follow the Aire Valley to Leeds.  There you can moor up in Leeds Dock and visit the waterside Royal Armouries Museum and other city centre attractions.

For more information about visiting Bingley Five Rise Locks, go to Bingley | Places to visit | Canal & River Trust (