2018 Waterside Events and Festivals
Start planning your days out for 2018 and take a look at the selection of waterway festivals and boat gatherings on offer for this year.
London Excel Boat Show | 10-14th January
Excel Centre, London
The London Boat Show will be taking place from the 10th - 14th January 2018 at the ExCel London centre. A team of IWA volunteers will be at the show promoting our work to protect and restore the country's 6,500 miles of canals and rivers, and providing visitors with information on inland waterways. Find out more.
St Richard's Boat and Car Festival | 4th-7th May
Droitwich, Droitwich Canal
St. Richard’s Canal 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 | 5th-6th 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.
Rickmansworth Canal Festival | 19th-20th 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.
Moira Canal Festival | 19th-20th May
Moira, Leicestershire | Ashby Canal Trust
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.
Titford Pumphouse Rally | 26th-27th May
Oldbury, Birmingham | Birmingham Canal Navigation Society (BCNS)
Visit the BCNS boat gathering 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.
Crick Boat Show | 26th-28th May
Crick, Northamptonshire | Waterways World
Photo: Crick Boat Show
Crick Boat Show 2018 will have a range of activities, displays and special talks. It's the biggest boating equipment marketplace with over 250 exhibitors.
Beale Park Boat & Outdoor Show | 1st-3rd June
Lower Basildon, Berkshire
A lively three days of boating and 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 | 2nd-3rd 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 | 2nd-3rd 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 | 15th-17th 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 narrowboats 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 | 16th-17th 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.
Stratford-upon-Avon River Festival | 30th June-1st 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.
Newbury Waterways Festival | 8th July
Victoria Park, Newbury | Kennet & Avon Canal Trust
Enjoy a spectacular display of colourful and decorated narrowboats on the towpath whilst Victoria Park will be filled with stalls, activities, and entertainment for all the family. With live music, boat trips and a beer tent there is something for everyone. Entry to the Festival is free. Find out more.
Northwich River Festival | 12th-13th July
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.
Cosgrove Canal Festival & Craft Fair | 21st-22nd 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 the 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.
Audlem Festival of Transport | 29th July
Audlem, Cheshire | Audlem Special Events Team
Vintage cars, vans, trucks and buses are expected to join the 2018 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.
Blisworth Festival | 18-19th August
The Blisworth Canal Festival has been embraced by visitors and villagers alike to become a major annual event in South Northamptonshire. Attractions include historic and trade boats, boat trips, food outlets, bars, kid’s activities, rare breeds, artizan foods, traders and live music. Find out more.
Burnley Canal Festival | 25-26th 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.
Village at War Weekend | 8th & 9th September
Stoke Bruerne| Friends of the Canal Museum
The 11th 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.
Oxford Canal Festival | 8th & 9th September
Port Meadow, Oxford | Oxford Canal Heritage Project
The festival will take place on 8th and 9th September on the Aristotle Lane Recreation Ground near Port Meadow, with a fabulous programme of activities for all the family. There will be a dog show and a Canal Olympics, walks and talks will be provided by local historian and author Mark Davies. Food and drink stalls will be there and many community stalls and traders. There will be plenty for the kids to do with a bouncy castle and fairground rides and entertainment for all the family including canal craft activities such as traditional narrowboat castles and roses painting. Find out more.
Tipton Canal & Community Festival | 21st-23rd 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.
Top photo: IWA Festival of Water 2017 in Ilkeston by Bridge Media
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