Park up at the Parkhead Canal Festival this weekend

The Parkhead Locks will be transformed for the festival | Martin Atterwell

The Parkhead Locks will be transformed for the festival | Martin Atterwell - Credit: Archant

Who is going to win the Great Dudley Duck Race? You’ll have to head to the Parkhead Locks to find out

The Parkhead Canal Festival only comes around every two years, so the Dudley Canal promises to be an extra special place to be this weekend (24-25 September).

To see

The two days will be a dream for enthusiasts of historic transport, with old working boats congregated on the water, including steam-powered and horse-drawn craft.

The display of classic vehicles will also spread to the shore, with some 40 vintage cars and steam engines to fuel the nostalgia in all of us.

If you like your vehicles smaller, however, then Sandwell Model Boat Club are displaying their best at the top pound of the canal.

To do

Step aboard the trip boat Electra for a short hop into Dudley Tunnel, which, at nearly 3,000 metres, is the second largest canal tunnel in the UK. Once a day, the journey will take you all the way through (and don’t worry, there will be transport to bring you back to the festival).

There are plenty of trade stands and boats selling traditional canal ware to peruse, before stopping off at the beer tent for a local brew. Once refreshed, you can enjoy a gentle stroll to the original lock-keeper’s cottage, the toll office and pumphouse.

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Just make sure you’re not busy at 3pm on Sunday, when the ever-popular Great Dudley Duck Race gets top billing (sorry). Starting at the top lock, around 1,000 plastic ducks will race their way to the viaduct. It’s always an entertaining finish to the festival.

Entry is free to the Parkhead Canal Festival, running 10am to 5pm on both Saturday and Sunday.