Discover the UK’s Best Canals | Top 10 Scenic Canals
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10 of the Best Canals to Visit in the UK

Flowing through the UK's countryside, cities, villages, and towns is a network of canals that date back to the 18th century. These waterways served an important purpose during the Industrial Revolution, where they were used for trade and transportation across the UK. Although some canals still serve commercial purposes, most UK canals are now used as a serene escape.

Whether you enjoy paddling, canoeing, kayaking, or boating on the waters, or fancy a relaxing walk or cycle alongside the canals, these are some of the most scenic canals in the UK.

  1. Monmouthshire and Brecon Canal
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    If you’re after some peace and quiet, the Monmouthshire and Brecon Canal is a charming 36-mile-long canal that starts in Brecon, Powys, and makes its way through the breathtaking Brecon Beacons National Park to Newport. This is a wildlife haven for animal lovers, particularly birdwatchers, as you’ll come across red kites, buzzards, herons, and more.

    Nearest campsite: Hereford Club Site

  3. Worcester and Birmingham Canal
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    Embark on a journey that starts from the vibrant Birmingham centre and takes you through the grassy hills of Worcestershire, all the way down to the cathedral city of Worcester. The Worcester and Birmingham Canal is 29.5 miles long and offers a blend of urban and rural landscapes at every twist and turn.

    Nearest campsite: Clent Hills Club Site and Blackmore Club Site

  5. Grand Union Canal
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    Grand Union Canal is the longest canal in the UK, connecting London to the Midlands. The 137-mile-long canal starts in the busy capital and weaves its way through the peaceful countryside and idyllic villages of Northamptonshire and Warwickshire before arriving in the heart of England, Birmingham. If you want to cover every inch of the Grand Union Canal, the journey will take at least 74 hours, so make sure you rest up at our campsites on the way.

    Nearest campsites: Walton on Thames Club Site, Chertsey Club Site and Clent Hills Club Sites

  7. Llangollen Canal
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    Crossing the border between England and Wales, Llangollen Canal spans 46 miles and showcases picturesque countryside and fascinating engineering. The first 11-mile stretch is marked by a series of tunnels, viaducts, and aqueducts. Notably, the canal is home to one of the most photographed aqueducts in the world, the Pontcysyllte Aqueduct; which UNESCO has described as 'a masterpiece of creative genius'.

    Nearest campsites: Bala Club Site and Delamere Forest Club Site

  9. Oxford Canal
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    Marvel at the Oxfordshire countryside or stop and wander around quaint villages and charming towns as you make your way through Oxford Canal. The canal starts in the centre of Oxford and heads towards Coventry. Along the way, you’ll pass beautiful villages, including Thrupp, Cropredy and Aynho, where you can stop for a bite to eat before continuing your journey.

    Nearest campsites: Chipping Norton Club Site

  11. Kennet and Avon Canal
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    Travel from Reading to Bristol on this 87-mile-long canal ride. Make your way through Wiltshire, where you'll come across acres of lush greenery and spectacular views of the countryside. You'll also pass through Devizes, where you'll see the impressive Caen Hill Locks, and finally, you'll head towards the charming city of Bath, where you can explore Georgian architecture and the Roman Baths. As you reach the end of the Kennet & Avon Canal in Bristol, you can take some time to explore the vibrant city and all its hidden gems.

    Nearest campsite: Devizes Club Site

  13. Lancaster Canal
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    Lancaster Canal is a 41-mile-long canal that runs alongside the coast. On your journey through the canal, you’ll come across picturesque stretches of countryside, phenomenal views of charming towns, and you’ll get to capture the Lune Aqueduct, which carries the Lancaster Canal over the River Lune.

    Nearest campsite: Windermere Club Site and Kendal Club Site

  15. Forth and Clyde Canal
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    Crossing from Glasgow to Edinburgh, through three outstanding aqueducts and the Falkirk Wheel, the Forth and Clyde Canal is a 35-mile stretch of water with 40 locks. You can navigate the canal by paddling or boating or enjoy the peaceful scenery by walking or cycling alongside it.

    Nearest campsite: Milarrochy Bay Club Site

  17. Cheshire Ring Canal
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    Passing through charming villages, bustling towns and the heart of Manchester, the Cheshire Ring Canal is a popular canal in the UK. On your journey along the 97-mile-long canal, you’ll be entertained by the diverse scenery, from views of the Peak District and Cheshire Plain to the famous Old Trafford Stadium in Manchester. You also won't have to worry about turning back around as the Cheshire Ring ends where you started.

    Nearest campsite: Delamere Forest Club Site, Hayfield Club Site and Crowden Club Site

  19. Trent and Mersey Canal
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    Constructed in the 18th century, the Trent and Mersey Canal is England's first long-distance canal. It stretches for 93 miles across the English Midlands, connecting the River Trent at Derwent Mouth near Derby with the River Mersey at Runcorn near Liverpool. On your journey, you'll see varied landscapes and pass quaint villages as well as active cities.

    Nearest campsite: Delamere Forest Club Site

Have you enjoyed paddling, canoeing, kayaking or boating on these canals? Or perhaps you’ve walked or cycled alongside them? If so, tag us in pictures of your adventure on Instagram or Facebook.

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