Westside ahoy! How to enjoy the local waterways

One of the wonders of Westside is the canal network at the centre of a city famous for having ‘more miles of canal than Venice’.

Visitors can enjoy the scenery of Gas Street Basin or walk along the various towpaths including Waters Edge, Brindleyplace.

You can board one of Sherborne Wharf’s three narrowboats – all trips and charters begin at the foot of the Pitcher & Piano pub opposite the ICC. Sail times are typically 11.30am, 1pm, 2.30pm and 4pm, with journey times around 65 minutes.

The City Heritage Route with ‘historical commentary’ includes the Oozells Street and Icknield Port loops of the original James Brindley Canal. You’ll also visit a section of the Sir Thomas Telford’s Main Line Canal as well as the area around Utility Arena and International Convention Centre. 

You’ll then sail through the historic Worcester Bar at Gas Street Basin before returning. Prices are £10 per adult, £6 for children over three. Teas and coffees are available to purchase on board, and there’s a toilet.

Sherborne Wharf also operates the Ariel Waterbus, but this is currently undergoing maintenance and will not be availabe for some weeks. When back in service later this spring/early summer, the Waterbus will be operating a daily service half-hourly from 10.30am to 5pm, with round trips costing £4 or £1 per stop. It stops will be at Brindleyplace, Sherborne Wharf, King Edwards Wharf, Gas Street Basin and Mailbox.

Visit Sherbourne Wharf’s website for more details, or call call 0121 455 6163.

Another company, Brindley Cruises, operates first come, first served hour-long narrowboat trips with live commentary from 11am, 12.30am, 2pm and 3.30pm from Thursday to Monday inclusive (closed Tuesday and Wednesday). Prices are £6.50 adults, £4.50 children, concessions £5.50. More details here.

If you want to get closer to the water, you can go kayaking or even learn how to use a stand-up paddleboard from The Roundhouse (entrance on Sheepcote Street).

Kayak tours cost from £24.50 to £40 depending on the route. For the full monty, try the ‘Paddle, Pizza and Pint’ tour – prices from £45 to £90.

There are five dates in May and August, four in June and July and three in September. Hour-long ‘very easy’ taster sessions are from £8 to £10. More details here.

For more information about the local canal network in Westside, visit the Canal & River Trust office at 22 Cambrian House, King Edwards Road, Birmingham B1 2AN (near the Utilita Arena and opposite The Flapper pub).

GoBoat, which launched in Spring 2022 with electric-powered, self-drive boats capable of seating eight people, is not returning this year.


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