2017 Waterside Events and Festivals

Created on 11/01/2017

Take a look at the selection of waterway festivals and boat gatherings on offer in 2017 and get planning your days out!


London Excel Boat Show | 6-15th January

Excel Centre, London

The London Boat Show will be taking place from the 8th - 17th January 2016 at the ExCel London centre. Visitors can experience everything in the boating world with over 500 exhibitors displaying everything from watercraft innovations, equipment and holidays.  A team of IWA volunteers will be at the show promoting the use, maintenance and restoration of Britain's inland waterways and providing visitors with information on inland boating. Find out more.


BCN Spring Cruise | 8th April

Walsall Canal | Birmingham Canal Navigations Society

Ocker Hill to Walsall Town Basin cruise 
The cruise will travel along the Walsall Canal to Walsall Town Basin and finish at The Black Country Arms on Walsall High Street. Find out more.

St Richard's Boat and Car Festival | 29th April - 1st May

Droitwich, Droitwich Canal

St. Richard’s Festival (now renamed St Richard’s Boat and Car Festival) started in 2007 and has grown rapidly through the addition of street markets, new attractions and the Classic and Vintage Car Rally. The event fills the streets in Droitwich Spa town centre and Vines Park and provides visitors with a great day out in the heart of this historic salt town. Find out more.

Skipton Waterways Festival | 29th April - 1st May

Skipton, Leeds & Liverpool Canal

As ever there will be various types of entertainment and stalls on site over the weekend to keep all ages busy. Find out more.

IWA’s Canalway Cavalcade | 29th April - 1st May

Little Venice, London, Regent's Canal | IWA

Photo: Canalway Cavalcade

Canalway Cavalcade is a distinctive waterways boaters' gathering that has been taking place at Little Venice since 1983. Organised by IWA volunteers, this festival at the junction of the Grand Union and Regent’s canals boasts an array of boats, trade show stalls and activities for all to enjoy over the Bank Holiday Weekend; including boating activities, Morris dancing, food stalls, a real ale bar and plenty of activities for the kids. Find out more.

Sleaford Navigation Boat Gathering | 29th April - 1st May

South Kyme, Lincolnshire | Sleaford Navigation Trust

Sleaford Navigation Trust are holding a 30th Anniversary Boat Gathering at South Kyme on the Early May Bank Holiday Weekend.  Village events include scarecrow trail, tabletop sale, boater’s church service and best decorated boat competition. Find out more.


Titford Pumphouse Rally | 19th-21st May

Oldbury, Birmingham | Birmingham Canal Navigation Society (BCNS)

Visit the BCNS boat gathering and open weekend at Titford Pumphouse on the Titford Canal to see stalls and displays from canal societies and other local charities as well as a variety of historic boats. Find out more.

IWA Northampton Branch Boat Gathering | 19th-21st May

Grand Union Canal, Stoke Bruerne | IWA Northampton Branch

Join IWA's Northampton branch in this lovely canal village for live music and other entertainment, real ales, trading boats, table-top sale, boater's auction, guided walks etc. Find out more.

Rickmansworth Canal Festival | 21st-22nd May

Grand Union Canal | Rickmansworth Waterways Trust

The Rickmansworth Festival takes place on the third weekend of May every year and celebrates canals, the community and the environment. The top attraction for many is the wonderful array of canal boats from across the country - a terrific spectacle, with at least 100 craft of many types and histories moored along the towpath up to four deep. But there are things to do, see and enjoy whatever your interests, and whatever your age. Find out more.

Crick Boat Show | 27th-29th May

Crick, Northamptonshire | Waterways World

Photo: Crick Boat Show

Crick Boat Show 2017 will have a range of activities, displays and special talks. It's the biggest boating equipment marketplace with over 250 exhibitors.

IWA Trailboat Festival & Moira Canal Festival | 27th-29th May

Moira, Leicestershire | Ashby Canal Trust

IWA's 2017 Trailboat Festival will be combined with the Ashby Canal Trust's annual Festival.

Highlights will include a living history display, childrens entertainment, Battle of Britain flight flypast, morris dancing, and a duck race.  Shreck the boat horse will demonstrate the old art of boat towing, as he leads the parade of boats.  There will be a wide variety of stalls and exhibits, bar and refreshments.
Find out more.


Beale Park Boat & Outdoor Show | 2nd-4th June

Lower Basildon, Berkshire

A lively three days of boating & fun! See the widest range of boats in one place, all set around a beautiful lake beside the River Thames. Enjoy family days out lazing by the lake in the sun. Family camping, glamping & Thames side mooring available. Find out more.

Leicester Riverside Festival | 3rd-4th June

Bede Park, Mile Straight, Western Boulevard & Castle Gardens, Leicester

This popular festival offers boat trips, live music, a variety of food stalls from around the world, displays and an exciting choice of activities for all ages, making it a fun packed weekend! Find out more.

Etruria Canals Festival | 3rd-4th June

Kilndown Close, Etruria, Stoke-on-Trent | Etruria Industrial Museum

Celebrating the canals of Stoke on Trent. Historic boats and vehicles, demonstrations, local foods and crafts, an enjoyable day out for all the family. Boat parade along the Trent & Mersey canal.
Highlights include being able to see Britain’s last steam-powered potter’s mill and houses, a 190 year old beam engine in steam.

Middlewich Folk & Boat Festival | 16th-18th June

Middlewich | Middlewich Town Council

As in previous years, there will be a selection of live music in various venues around the town, backed up by the colourful array of Narrow Boats along the Trent & Mersey Canal. The festival will continue the town’s tradition of Morris Dancing displays, a Celidh night, stalls, workshops and celebration of the rich heritage of Middlewich.  Find out more.

Foxton Locks Festival | 17th-18th June

Foxton near Market Harborough | Foxton Inclined Plane Trust

Entertainment over the two days will include arena displays, live music on two stages and a funfair.

Braunston Historic Narrowboat Rally & Canal Festival | 24th-25th June

Braunston Marina | Braunston Marina Ltd.

Over 80 historic boats gather in Braunston and take part in parades with commentary.
There is a real ale beer tent, exhibitors, traders & waterways artists, live music from bands & groups, Morris dancing, fast food.  Admittance is free but if you bring your car there is a parking fee of £10. All profits go to canal & local causes.

Ware Boat Festival | 30th-2nd July

Ware, Hertfordshire | IWA Lee & Stort Branch

Photo: Ware Boat Festival 2010 (Photo by Les Hunt)

Organised by IWA Lee & Stort Branch, Ware Boat Festival is a weekend of fun on, in, and around the River Lee and the town. Events include the annual Ware Carnival and Town Fair, boat handling competition, a quiz evening and plenty of stalls.


Stratford-upon-Avon River Festival | 1st-2nd July

Stratford-upon-Avon, Warwickshire | Stratforward

Come and enjoy free family fun in Stratford-upon-Avon with music, narrow boats on the River Avon, craft and food stalls, family zone, charity stalls, illuminated boat parade and spectacular fireworks.

Cosgrove Canal Festival & Craft Fair | 22nd-23rd July

Cosgrove, Buckinghamshire | Buckingham Canal Society

The event is run each year by the Society to raise money for the restoration of the Buckingham Canal between Cosgrove and Buckingham and to spread the word about our work. Throughout the whole festival weekend you will find many historic and trade boats, craft and games stalls, plenty of entertainment and refreshments, and so much more. Set primarily alongside the picturesque towpath between the lock at Cosgrove and the recently refurbished Iron Trunk Aqueduct, the event is full of fun for the whole family. The Craft Fair is held in the nearby Cosgrove Village Hall, only a short walk from the canal.

Newbury Waterways Festival | 23rd July

Victoria Park, Newbury | Kennet & Avon Canal Trust

The 2017 Newbury Waterways Festival will take place at Victoria Park in Newbury organised by the Kennet and Avon Canal Trust. The theme this year is 'Beatlemania!'and there will be many decorated narrowboats and stalls, activities and entertainment.

Audlem Festival of Transport | 30th July

Audlem, Cheshire | Audlem Special Events Team

Vintage cars, vans, trucks and buses are expected to join the 2017 parade.  A record number of vintage canal boats are expected at the Audlem Wharf next to Audlem Mill and the Shroppie Fly on the Shropshire Union Canal.


Nottingham Riverside Festival | 4th-6th August

Victoria Embankment, Nottingham

People of all ages can enjoy the annual Riverside Festival along the banks of the River Trent with free art activities in the Children's Zone, Sports Zone, live music stages, Street theatre, a street fair, global craft stalls and a display of traditional steam engines and organs.  River activities include Boat Trips and the annual Dragon Boat Challenge. Find out more.

Blisworth Canal Festival | 12th-13th August

Blisworth, Northamptonshire | Blisworth Canal Partnership

Blisworth’s waterfront will be full of trade boats and stalls selling everything from cheese to boat oil with 2 trip boats operating both days on the Grand Union Canal. Find out more.

Wednesfield Canal Festival
| 12th-13th August

Wednesfield, Wolverhampton

The Wednesfield Canal Festival will be running for a 3rd year and will include an assortment of canal boats moored for the weekend, a pop up market with boaters selling handmade & homemade goods and live music. The festival is taking place on the Canalside at the Bentley Bridge Moorings next to The Nickeloden Pub. Find out more.

Northwich River Festival | 12th-13th August

Northwich | Northwich Rotary Club

The Northwich River Festival will have a rowing regatta, the Mighty River Weaver Dragon boat race and also the famous Duck race. Other festival highlights will be the Typhoon & the Pedal Players performing the Cheshire stories around Northwich Town centre and evening entertainment from 'Marblehead Johnson'. Other attractions will be charity and trade stalls, a bar and emergency service displays. There is also free parking at the festival. Find out more.

Burnley Canal Festival | 26-27th August


There will be music, dance, performance and spectacle, fun fair, food, workshops, craft stalls and waterborne activities to take you on a trail of magic and discovery through Burnley’s unique canalside environment and heritage. Find out more.

IWA Festival of Water | 26th-28th August

Ilkeston, Derbyshire | IWA

Photo: IWA National Festival in 2011 (Photo by Tim Lewis)

The Festival of Water will have an array of attractions on and off the water providing a fun day out for all the family. Over 100 boats will be moored along the Erewash Canal, including leisure, trade, heritage and working narrowboats, are expected and there will be a wide range of craft stalls and activities on site.   Find out more.

East London Waterways Festival
| 28th August

Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park

Join the celebrations and a boat cruise of East London Waterways and the regeneration of the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park Waterways. Find out more.


Angel Canal Festival | 3rd September

Islington, London | ACF Management Team

This free annual one day festival is based around the City Road Lock, Basin and towpath alongside Regents Canal in Islington, North London.  Attractions include canal boat trips, face painting, stalls and music. Find out more.

Black Country Boating Festival | 8th & 10th September

Netherton, Dudley

The event, which is now in its 31st year, is organised and run totally by volunteers. With more than 200 boat, trade and charity stalls to browse, canal side entertainment, boaters’ competitions, a funfair, real ale bar and regular boat trips along the Dudley No 2 canal, there is always something for everyone in the family. Find out more.

Village at War Weekend | 9th & 10th September

Stoke Bruerne| Friends of the Canal Museum

The 10th Anniversary of the award winning Village at War Weekend based on the Grand Union Canal at Stoke Bruerne. An opportunity to experience life in wartime Britain during the 1940s with re-enactments, live music, Battle of Britain Flypast, black market stalls, fashion parade, tea dances, air raids, troop inspections, vintage boats and much much more. Find out more.

Slough Canal Festival | 9th & 10th September

Slough, Berkshire

A variety of activities for families to do such as Boat trips, arts and crafts, canal fishing, kids activities, falconry, refreshments and a mobile farm.

Tipton Canal & Community Festival | 15th-17th September

Tipton, West Midlands | Tipton Community Association

Held on the Birmingham Old Main Line Canal in Tipton, this year's attractions include working and trip boats, arts, crafts and bling fair, live entertaiment, various trade stalls, canal crafts, real ales and much more. Find out more.

Wey River Festival | 22rd-24th September

Guildford, Surrey | National Trust

Saturday’s programme of events will start from 11am and there will be a variety of stalls and activites throughout the day. Mobile catering will be available all day on Saturday, with a range of catering to suit all tastes. To round off the day, there will be the spectacular illuminated procession from Millmead Lock to Dapdune Wharf around dusk and music from the very talented Croydon Steel Orchestra. Find out more.

Huddlesford Heritage Gathering | 23rd-24th September

Huddlesford Junction | LHCRT & Lichfield Cruising Club

Real ale, fireworks, live music and a barbeque - a good weekend out.
Everyone welcome, - boaters, local residents and everyone else who would like to see a cracking good firework display. Find out more.


BCNS Bonfire Rally | 3rd-5th November

Smethwick, West Midlands | Birmingham Canal Navigation Society

Real ale, fireworks, live music and a barbeque - a good weekend out.
Everyone welcome, - boaters, local residents and everyone else who would like to see a cracking good firework display. Find out more.

Take a look at IWA's calendar for details of festivals, boat gatherings and volunteer opportunities taking place this Summer.

Top photo: Eldonian Village Canal Festival, June 2016, IWA National Festival, bunting (Photo taken by John Butler)

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