The great joy of canal boat hire in Birmingham is the sheer amount of canal there is to explore, with over 35 miles within the city boundaries alone and the opportunity to strike out in various directions to explore other parts of the Midlands and beyond.
All this provides lots of points of interest in its own right, from locks and canalside industrial heritage to the chance to moor a boat close to a visitor attraction.
Late July and early August will provide some extra reasons to do this in and around Birmingham, as the city hosts the Commonwealth Games.
This will be an exciting time to be in Birmingham, but also a good time to hire a boat, as hotel accommodation is likely to be in short supply as people flock from around the country and across the Commonwealth to see the sporting extravaganza.
In some cases, events are taking place very close to canals. For example, in the city centre the Birmingham and Fazeley Canal runs right past the Arena Birmingham, which stages gymnastics and rhythmic gymnastics.
The Worcester and Birmingham Canal can make a great base for exploring the south-west of the city, especially Edgbaston, whose famous cricket ground hosts the Women’s T20 cricket, while Birmingham University stages hockey and squash.
On the north side of the city, the Tame Valley Canal passes the Alexander Stadium, which is where the athletics events will be taking place.
Not all the venues are in the city, however, with others being close to canals stretching out across the Midlands.
For instance, the Birmingham Canal Main Line passes through the heart of Wolverhampton, where the Cycling Time Trial starts and ends in West Park, while the cycling road race starts at Myton Fields in Warwick, which is served by the Grand Union Canal.
With so many great venues and events on offer combined with some great canal boating, the Commonwealth Games could be an even more special event for those combining the sporting action with a wonderful exploration of the waterways of the West Midlands.