8 of the best boat shows to visit in 2016

'London's Little Venice festival' Sputnik UK London, Flickr, CC 2.0

'London's Little Venice festival' Sputnik UK London, Flickr, CC 2.0 - Credit: Archant

Our waterways play host to a variety of incredible festivals and events that showcase all the wonders and beauty that canals and rivers have to offer. They’re a time for the boating community and others to come together and enjoy good food, good beer and good company.


Crick Boat Show: Britain’s only dedicated inland waterways boat show offers the opportunity to view more new narrowboats at one time than anywhere else. Crick is the perfect day for the whole family; you can see the latest new designs from nearly all the main boatbuilders; you can enjoy a boat trip on the Grand Union, debate with experts in various seminars, or just take in the sights with a myriad of boats and canal history on display. There’s also live music, loads of delicious food and of course the hugely popular beer festival. This year Crick will also be celebrating the 300th anniversary of the birth of James Brindley.

28/29/30 May


Adult day tickets: £15

Senior/Concession: £13.50

Adult 3 day tickets: £29

Senior/Concession 3 day: £26


There is discount available for advanced booking and details about camping and extra prices are available online.

Canalway Cavalcade: This unique waterways boaters’ gathering has been taking place at Little Venice since 1983. Taking place on the May bank holiday weekend there will be an abundance of trade show stalls and little shops selling plenty of weird and wonderful gifts. There will also be an assortment of boating activities, Morris dancing and lots of delicious food and real-ales. But the real highlight will be the, picturesque view of the many beautiful narrow boats that will arrive for this special weekend.


Most Read

30 April – 2 May


Rickmansworth Canal Festival: A celebration of canals, community and the environment – the festival is the highlight of the Rickmansworth calendar. Wonderful arrays of canal boats arrive from across the country to moor up alongside the towpath making a terrific spectacle. There are plenty of things to do regardless of your interests or age, with music, performing arts, traders and delicious catered food and drink.

21/22 May


Beale Park Boat & Outdoor Show: Are you thinking of trying or buying a new river cruiser? Look no further than Beale Park with a huge range of range on display set around a beautiful lake beside the River Thames. Enjoy a boat ride on the lake, or take in some live music whilst tucking in to some local food and real beer from the best artisans the area has to offer. This year there will also a selection of classic cars and bikes.

3/4/5 June


10-6 Friday & Saturday, 10-5 Sunday

Adult single 16 years+ - £8.00 in advance

Children single (2-15 years old) – £6.00 in advance

Classic car and 2 people – £5.00 in advance


Children under 2 years old - FREE

Stratford-upon-Avon River Festival: On the banks of the River Avon, opposite the Royal Shakespeare Theatre the 8th annual river festival will feature free events and activities as well as local food and drinks from the shops, restaurants and cafes. More details will be released closer to the event, but last year’s festival attracted nearly 60,000 revellers so it’s sure to be an amazing weekend.

RCTA Floating Market

RCTA Floating Market - Credit: Archant

2/3 July

Blisworth Canal Festival: The festival spreads up from the atmospheric waterfront with a line colourful trade and trip boats where visitors can browse amongst the wide selection of trade and craft stalls on show. It won’t take you long to spot some delightful jewellery, artistic hand made cards, turned & carved wooden items, shabby chic crafts, toys, or dreamy scented candles........ The list goes on. With 80+ stalls to choose from, everyone will be leaving with something special!


13/14 August

RCTA: Floating Market: The waterways are full of traders selling a diverse range of goods that range from fuel, crafts, art, food & drink, jewellery and much, much more. Vibrant and colourful the Floating Markets are a unique and fantastic way to spend a day and experience the beauty and diversity of canals and canal life. The markets for 2016 are as follows:


Fazeley: 13-15 May

Burton on Trent: 27-30 May (bank holiday)

Great Haywood: 10-12 June

Chester: 1-3 July

Merry Hill: 26-29 August (bank holiday) on the Embankment above the Shopping Centre

Stourport: 2-4 September (carnival weekend) above York St Lock

Birmingham: 23-25 September at Barclaycard Arena (NIA) Towpath, Symphony Towpath, Brindley Place and Sheepcote Towpath

The Middlewich Folk and Boat Festival: Celebrating its 26th year, the FAB will be a fabulous weekend of folk and roots music. There is a floating market on the Trent and Mersey Canal as well as local food and drink and craft stall throughout the town. Almost 30,000 people along with 400 boats turned up to enjoy the festival last year so it’s sure to be a great weekend.

17/18/19 June