Britain’s canals and rivers host hundreds of exciting events each year, bringing people to the waterways and celebrating the things that make them special.
Here’s our pick of the best events to head for in 2015:
1. Crick Boat Show & Waterways Festival, 23-25 May 2015…over 200 exhibitors will gather at Crick Marina on the Leicester Line of the Grand Union Canal near Daventry, showcasing thousands of inland waterways products and services. The event celebrates the canals and offers an exciting programme of family entertainment, including boat trips, live music, children’s activities, arts and crafts stands and a wide variety of food and drink stalls. Our nearest bases are at Gayton, North Kilworth and Market Harborough.
2. St Richards Boat & Car Festival, 1-4 May 2015…this annual event, which takes place in Vines Park alongside the Droitwich Barge Canal, with a celebration of the Worcester & Birmingham Canal’s Bicentenary. The event offers family entertainment, live music, boats, classic cars, markets, duck races and a real ale bar. Our nearest bases are Worcester, Stoke Prior and Tardebigge.
3. IWA Canalway Cavalcade, 2-4 May 2015…the Inland Waterway Association’s Canalway Cavalcade takes place at Little Venice in London. This unique waterways and community festival offers fun for all the family with a boaters’ gathering, pageant of boats, trade stalls, live music, kids’ activities, competitions, Morris Dancers, a real ale bar and variety of food stalls. Our nearest base is on the Grand Union Canal in West London.
4. Stoke Bruerne Village at War, 12 September 2015…organised by the Friends of the Stoke Bruerne Canal Museum, the annual vintage themed Village at War event takes people back to the 40’s with live music, tea dances, vintage fashion shows, a Black Market, tanks and other military vehicles, re-enactments and displays. Historic boats are on show, including the Museum’s own restored narrowboat ‘Sculptor’, which saw action in London as a fire boat during the Blitz. Our nearest bases are Gayton, Stretton, North Kilworth and Rugby.
5. Stratford River Festival, 4-5 July 2015…organised by the Stratford & Warwick Waterways Trust, this event offers free family fun in Stratford-upon-Avon with music, a gathering of boats, craft and food stalls, family zone, charity stalls, an illuminated boat parade and spectacular fireworks display. Our nearest base is on the Stratford Canal at Wotton Wawen.
6. Llangollen International Musical Eisteddfod, 7-12 July 2015…thousands of people from around the world descend on the pretty town of Llangollen on the Llangollen Canal each year to celebrate dance, music, costume and culture. The Llangollen Eisteddfod is one of the world’s great music and culture events with six days of world-class competitions and concerts featuring an array of international performers. Our nearest bases are Trevor, Chirk and Blackwater Meadow.
7. Stone Food & Drink Festival, 2-4 October 2015…Staffordshire’s biggest celebration of all things gastronomic takes place at the Georgian market town of Stone on the Trent & Mersey Canal. As well as a range of themed food marquees, the festival hosts demonstrations by top chefs, a beer festival, live music, gourmet dining in the pop-up restaurant, street food and a farmers’ market. Our nearest bases are Great Haywood, Brewood and Peak District.
8. Rickmansworth Canal Festival, 16-17 May 2015…celebrating canals, the community and the environment, the 22nd Rickmansworth Canal Festival attracts a spectacular array of canal boats from across the country. Occupying part of the Aquadrome and the Grand Union Canal towpath between Stockers Lock and Batchworth Lock, the event hosts a range of music, performing arts, displays, presentations, traders and catering. Our nearest base is on the Grand Union Canal in West London.
9. Chester Dragon Boat Festival, 21 June 2015…this annual and very colourful charity event on the River Dee in Chester sees over 10 dragon boat teams of up to 16 people and a drummer battling to become the champions. Our nearest bases are Bunbury and Brewood on the Shropshire Union Canal.
10. Edinburgh Canal Festival, 27 June 2015…taking place at Lochrin Basin, at the Edinburgh end of the Union Canal, this community event includes free boat trips, canoe taster-sessions, children’s entertainment, music, dance and food. Our nearest base is at Falkirk.