It is claimed that Birmingham has more canals than Venice! Birmingham canal was the first one built by James Brindley and his team between 1768 to 1772. The canal travels through the West Midlands and meets the Staffordshire and Worcestershire Canal near Wolverhampton. Another canal, the Birmingham Fazeley Canal, built in 1784, meets the canal, which begins at Tamworth. At the end of the 18th Century both the Birmingham and Birmingham Fazeley canals merged and formed the Birmingham Canal Navigations (BCN).
There are 100 miles of the canal which is still navigable and 15 miles of it you can walk along especially through the city centre. I enjoyed walking by the canal on my last visit to Birmingham and took in the historic buildings and the regeneration that took place round the area.
The canals played a crucial part in developing Birmingham and it's successful industries. The canals are part of the city's heritage and history. The BCN is linked to rest of the English canals via a number of junctions.
It's a cliche that is found in virtually any piece that is written about Birmingham, is that it has more miles of canals than Venice.
That is a little unfair as Birmingham covers a much larger area than Venice, but it cannot be denied that they are very much a part of the character of the city.
For years they fell into a decline, but many, especially in the city centre, are being spruced up and have become the trendy places to live and play.
You can get a good taste of the canalside atmosphere by heading for the Gas Street Basin or Brindley place. If you are more into industrial history then you can download walking tours or even take a cruise !
The one use they havn't sorted out for the regenerated canal system is transportation. If it wasn't for the locks I'm sure the Transport authority would have filled then with Vaporettos.
No Gondalas either.
Not quite, but Birmingham has a large network of canals, with some beautiful scenery that is normally missed from the city streets. To get the most out of it why not have a night time trip on one of the pleasure cruisers which depart from Broad St
Birmingham is said to have more canals than Venice. Walking along their towpaths give you a chance to see the city from a different & fascinating angle. I spent a peaceful time exploring the canals in the city centre. This area has been regenerated & the canals are lined with pubs, restaurants & apartments.
This is where several canals meet & many canal boats are moored. Even though you are still in the city centre & Broad Street is only a stones throw away, the area is so relaxed & peaceful. I enjoyed walking round the basin passing waterside pubs & then following the canal underneath the bridge on Broad Street.
Gas Street Basin as a tourist destination.... As a teenager, this was one of those dumps, a remnant of by-gone times that had no bearing on the present day. Now, as part of the clean-up and celebrate the industrial history of Birmingham, Gas Street Basin and the canal system is a major tourist pull - both overseas and locals.
Longboats, water taxis, cafes, bars, restaurants and interconnecting towpaths and bridges make this a more than pleasant place to while-away an afternoon. And take the right path, and you can walk for miles out to the edges of the city (I remember doing this on a couple of occasions as a teenager - canal towpaths give you a very different perspective on the surrounds).
As people may have already found out Birmingham has over 114 miles of canals which means we have more miles that that famous Italian city! Along with the canals, there is also footpaths around the area along the canals you can see all sights wether by boat or by foot. If you go by foot, especially in the summer you will find a variety of pubs with beer gardens open for you to just chill out in the sun watching the boats go by on the canals with a nice cool drink and maybe some nice pub food.
People in Brum are always banging on about how Birmingham has more canals than Venice. Now to complete the picture, one enterprising Italian has begun to give Gondola rides around the Gas street basin, starting from the mailbox area.
At about a hundred-quid for an hour, it certainly has venice-style prices, and the gondalier has an authentic air about him. The old stripey jersey and bushy moustache complete the picture.
On the other hand the delightful Birmingham weather, andb people singing the 'cornetto song' at you for an hour* may take the 'edge' off the experience.
* Wall's ice-cream had a very long running sales campaign, with a gondalier singing 'Just one cornetto..give it to me, etc... Anyone with a a couple of drinks inside them and who have convinced themselves that they have a sense of humour will be driven to sing it at the sight of a gondola on the canal.
From the 1760s onwards, a large network of canals were built across Birmingham and the Black Country, to transport raw materials and finished goods. By the 1820s an extensive canal system had been constructed; Birmingham is often described as having more miles of canals than Venice.
Just take a stroll along the canal, there are many restaurants and pub along the canals.
Birmingham has more miles of navigable canals than Venice, so why not explore them! There are many boats that give tours through the canals in the city centre. The main one visitors will want to visit is the canal located behind the ICC. It has been refurbished only a couple of years back and now is lined with attractive cafes and bars.
Birmingham has a lot of canals - loads of them in fact. In Victorian Times, canals were the main backbone of the British transport network and Birmingham being very important for industry (and right in between London and Manchester) was very well connected. Up until not that long ago, they were in a bit of a state, but about 15 years ago, they were cleaned up considerably. You can take tours on the canals or just walk along them. More and more people are living on canal barges in Birmingham as house prices rocket. It's a much more affordable way of living in the city centre.
It's quite a pleasant way to while away a summer day. I would suggest walking from Brindley place (by the convention centre) to the Mailbox and maybe getting a cocktail in Santa Fe whilst sitting outside people watching. It's easy to forget your in a city of a million people sometimes...