Paddle Across England

A Canoe Holiday From Liverpool to Hull

A New Way to Sightsee

England’s network of navigable canals and rivers flows 3,200 km (2,000 mi) through some of the country’s most picturesque landscapes and offers visitors a way to combine exercise with tourism. A new canoe route currently under development seeks to develop services and public land along the waterways linking Liverpool in the east with Goole in the west, providing a fresh way to sightsee and enjoy a canoe holiday in England.

Known as the Desmond Family Canoe Trail, this coast-to-coast route will stretch for about 240 km (150 mi) and take experienced paddlers anywhere between five and seven days to complete. Adventurers itching to get started right away can paddle from Liverpool to Leeds along the Leeds-Liverpool Canal and continue from Leeds to Goole on the Aire and Calder Navigation. Best of all, these watery routes weave through some of North England’s most exciting and cultural cities and attractions.

Top Cities Along the Trail

Liverpool

Liverpool by: Kevin Jump (CC)
Liverpool by: Kevin Jump (CC)

The birthplace of the Beatles, vibrant Liverpool boasts outstanding cultural heritage that earned it the prestigious title of European Capital of Culture in 2008. In addition to several World Heritage-listed attractions in its central district, the city possesses the largest national museum collection outside London and contains Europe’s oldest Chinatown.

Skipton

Holy Trinity, Skipton by: Tim Green (CC)
Holy Trinity, Skipton by: Tim Green (CC)

The southern gateway to the Yorkshire Dales, Skipton made its fortune by trading sheep and woolen goods centuries ago. Today, this busy town draws visitors with its energetic atmosphere, largely generated by big markets held every Monday, Wednesday, Friday, and Saturday.

Leeds

Leeds Skyline by: Mark Ramsay (CC)
Leeds Skyline by: Mark Ramsay (CC)

Cosmopolitan Leeds boasts a big selection of chic clubs, traditional pubs, and award-winning restaurants, plus towering office complexes and renovated shopping centers.

Hull

Hull Marina by: Neil Hoggarth (CC)
Hull Marina by: Neil Hoggarth (CC)

Commonly known simply as Hull, Kingston-upon-Hull will serve as the UK City of Culture in 2017. Though heavily bombed during World War II, the city still holds a wealth of architectural gems, including domed civic buildings and imposing warehouses preserving the region’s industrial heritage.

Top Attractions on or Near the Trail

Waterloo Lake (Roundhay Park) by: Adam Simmons (CC)
Waterloo Lake (Roundhay Park) by: Adam Simmons (CC)

For many visitors, a trip through England represents a journey through world history. Paddle across the country to discover places like Albert Dock, a historical ensemble of buildings housing several museums, cafes, restaurants, and shops. Visit Salts Mill to see one of the largest industrial buildings in the world, now containing a collection of works by artist David Hockney. To celebrate three of Britain’s most beloved authors, head to Bronte Parsonage Museum, the childhood home of sisters Charlotte, Emily, and Anne. Roundhay Park remains one of the largest parks in Europe and offers you a chance to hike through lush woodlands, rich in native plant and animal life. At end of the trail in Hull you can visit The Deep, a giant aquarium housing thousands of sea creatures and displaying seven species of sharks.

For additional popular activities and top attractions spread between Liverpool and Hull, check out this complete itinerary for paddlers:

Tamara

Tamara

Educated in Chicago and based in Serbia, Tamara travels with passion and believes that one written word can be worth at least a thousand pictures. When she's not conquering the world one blog post at a time, she likes to eat pizza and take long naps--preferably at the same time.
Tamara