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Cruising Birmingham's Canals
With eight canals and 34 mi of waterways, Birmingham has more canals in its center than Venice. The city is at the heart of a system of waterways built during the Industrial Revolution to connect inland factories to rivers and seaports—by 1840 the canals extended more than 4,000 mi throughout the British Isles. These canals, which carried 9 million tons of cargo a year in the late 19th century and helped make the city an industrial powerhouse, have undergone extensive cleanup and renovation, and are now a tourist attraction.
A walk along the Birmingham Canal Main Line near the Gas Street Basin will bring you to modern shops, restaurants, and more developments such as Brindleyplace in one direction and the Mailbox in the other, and you can see the city from an attractive new perspective. Contact the city tourist offices for maps of pleasant walks along the towpaths and canal cruises on colorfully painted barges.
Sherborne Wharf. You can take an hour ride on a canal barge from Sherborne Wharf. Trips leave daily April through October at 11:30, 1, 2:30, and 4, and on weekends the rest of the year, departing from the International Convention Centre Quayside. Sherborne St., City Centre, Birmingham, B16 8DE. 0121/455-6163. www.sherbornewharf.co.uk.
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