Manchester City Centre

The restoration of Manchester’s canals to many people began with an advert for beer featuring the waterways of the city, where famously “Gladys Althorpe never buys her own [pint of] bitter!”  The canals of Manchester nowadays form part of the vibrant heart of the centre of the city. Passing through the Mills developed into high end apartments at Ancoats,  New Islington Marina, the always lively Gay Village by Canal Street, clubs at Deansgate Locks just around the corner from the Beetham Tower which dominates the sky line of the city. Then through to Castlefield Basin which, has several high end bars and restaurants. Not to mention that the canal passes by two minor provincial football clubs’ stadiums, known as Manchester United FC and Manchester City FC.  Manchester city centre is one of the UK’s liveliest and interesting citys to visit on your holiday, and you can do so by boat with us!

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Introduction

Manchester by water

Manchester is the home to many of the country’s best and brightest. From LS Lowry to Oasis, Premier League teams Manchester United and Manchester City. Amazing history and architecture including the old and new such as Manchester Cathedral, Manchester Central, The Canals themself and a myriad of Mills that have been converted into offices, hotels, apartments and leisure uses.

The city is vibrant and lively with venues such as the Etihad Stadium, Old Trafford Football Ground, Emirates Old Trafford Cricket Ground, Manchester Arena, O2 Apollo, Manchester Central, Castlefield Bowl & O2 Ritz.

Theatres including; Royal Exchange, Palace Theatre, Opera House, Bridgewater Hall, The Lowry, Home & Manchester Academy.

Museums in Manchester; Manchester Museum, People’s History Museum, National Football Museum, Museum of Science and Industry, Imperial War Museum.

Art Galleries such as; Manchester Art Gallery, Home , The Lowry, Whitworth Art Gallery, John Rylands Library, Castlefield Gallery, Centre for Chinese Contemporary Art.

As you can see above there is so much to see and do across the city that we haven’t been able to include everything!

More than 17 million people in Britain visited a canal last year. Walkers, boaters, joggers, anglers and cyclists are being attracted to the canals of Manchester.

Forget the image of old shopping trolleys, the canals have been reborn via a quiet revolution that has been spreading through the city.

Engineers, who only 20 years before had been filling in urban canals, like the Rochdale Canal, suddenly found themselves digging them out again.

Developers have also been quick to take advantage of the canal renaissance. Property by an attractive canal can add up to 20% in value. Two trans-Pennine canals, the Huddersfield Narrow and the Rochdale canals were restored to operation and in their wake have arrived some impressive urban villages like New Islington and Piccadilly Village.

Instead of turning their backs on our once maligned canals, bars and restaurants like Dukes 92, the Rain Bar and the Bridgewater Hall in central Manchester now embrace their waterside setting as an attractive selling point. Dukes 92, between the Rochdale Canal and Bridgewater Canal, in Castlefield, is one of many Manchester bars to make its canalside setting a selling point.

Route to Manchester City Centre

This is a trip of 61 miles, 5 furlongs and 2 locks from Anderton Boat Lift Holding Moorings (Trent and Mersey) to Castlefield Junction then returning to Anderton Boat Lift Holding Moorings (Trent and Mersey).

This will take 21 hours and 46 minutes which is 3 days, 46 minutes at 7 hours per day.

From our Middlewich base you will first travel from Middlewich to Northwich to reach the Anderton Boat Lift Holding Moorings where this guide picks up. For the first leg of the journey please refer to our guide to Northwich / Anderton Boat Lift which covers 10 miles, 1 furlong and 4 locks from Middlewich Wharf to Anderton Boat Lift Holding Moorings (Trent and Mersey), this will take 4 hours and 48 minutes.

From Anderton you will leave the Boat Lift and travel north after some pleasant countryside there are the Barnton and Saltersford Tunnels, further countryside ensues across the Cheshire plains until you reach Preston Brook stop lock and Tunnel which exit onto the Bridgewater Canal. 

After travelling underneath the M56 Motorway you proceed into serene countryside once more before traversing the affluent suburbs of South Manchester skirting Dunham Massey National Park, and the towns of Lymm and Altrincham before proceeding through Sale and Stretford as well as going past the home of Manchester United FC, Old Trafford Stadium before emerging at Castlefield Junction in the heart of Manchester City Centre.

NAVIGATION NOTES

  • Barnton Road Bridge
    The bridge is on a blind bend – care should be taken when approaching from either side.

  • Saltersford Tunnel
    Tunnel entry is as follows:
    Northbound (Saltersford Tunnel to Preston Brook) – Entry on the hour until 20 minutes past the hour.
    Southbound (Saltersford Tunnel to Barnton) – Entry 30 minutes past the hour until 10 minutes to the hour.

  • Preston Brook Tunnel
    Tunnel times are as follows:
    Northbound: open on the hour, and remains open until 10 past the hour.
    Southbound: open at half past the hour, and remain opens until 20 to the hour.

  • Preston Brook & Castlefield Junction
    Information for Canal & River Trust Licence Holders visiting the Bridgewater Canal

    All C&RT craft are subject to the terms and conditions of the Bridgewater Canal whilst they remain on our waterway.

    C&RT licence holders may remain on the Bridgewater Canal for periods not exceeding seven consecutive days.

    C&RT craft wishing to extend beyond the 7 day reciprocal arrangement period must obtain a temporary short term Bridgewater Canal Licence at a cost of £40 for 7 consecutive days. If you wish to obtain a temporary short term Bridgewater Canal licence please contact the Bridgewater Canal Company on telephone 0161 629 8266.

Detailed Route:​​

From Anderton Boat Lift Holding Moorings (Trent and Mersey) A good place to moor (Only for boats using the boat lift) to:
Anderton Lift Junction (Trent and Mersey) ¼ furlongs, 0 locks
Barnton Road Bridge [see navigational note 1 below] 6½ furlongs, 0 locks
Barnton Tunnel (eastern entrance) ¾ furlongs, 0 locks
Barnton Tunnel (western entrance) Having passed through Barnton Tunnel (572 yards long) 2½ furlongs, 0 locks
Saltersford Tunnel (eastern entrance) 2¼ furlongs, 0 locks
Saltersford Tunnel (western entrance) Having passed through Saltersford Tunnel (424 yards long) [see navigational note 2 below] 2 furlongs, 0 locks
Acton Bridge No 209 1 mile, 6¼ furlongs, 0 locks
Dutton Wharf Bridge No 212 1 mile, 2 furlongs, 0 locks
Preston Brook Tunnel (southern entrance) 1 mile, 1¼ furlongs, 1 lock

Preston Brook Tunnel (northern entrance)

An extra 35 minutes has been allowed for this passage

Having passed through Preston Brook Tunnel (1239 yards long) [see navigational note 3 below]

5¾ furlongs, 0 locks

Preston Brook [see navigational note 4 below]

Junction of Trent and Mersey Canal and Bridgewater Canal (Preston Brook Branch) – immediately north of Preston Brook Tunnel
½ furlongs, 0 locks
Bridgewater Canal (Preston Brook Branch)
From Preston Brook [see navigational note 4 below] (Junction of Trent and Mersey Canal and Bridgewater Canal (Preston Brook Branch) – immediately north of Preston Brook Tunnel) to:

Preston Brook Wharf

Ex Claymoore Holidays base
5¼ furlongs, 0 locks
Midland Chandlers (Preston Brook) ½ furlongs, 0 locks

Preston Brook – Waters Meeting

Junction of the Bridgewater Canal (Main Line) with the Bridgewater Canal (Preston Brook Branch)
½ furlongs, 0 locks
Bridgewater Canal (Main Line)
From Preston Brook – Waters Meeting (Junction of the Bridgewater Canal (Main Line) with the Bridgewater Canal (Preston Brook Branch)) to:

Lumb Brook Underbridge

Stockton Heath
5 miles, 3¼ furlongs, 0 locks

Lymm Visitor Moorings A good place to moor

Resticted mooring, maximum stay 48 hours, no return in 3 days between Lymm Bridge and Brookfield Bridge. Also known as ‘Lymm’
4 miles, 2¾ furlongs, 0 locks

Golden Fleece PH A pub or bar or similar

Canalside
¼ furlongs, 0 locks

Lymm Bridge No 23

Lymm, footbridge is next to road bridge
a few yards, 0 locks

Ye Olde Number 3 PH A pub or bar or similar

Ye Olde No 3 is a pub which has given its name to the general area.
2 miles, 4¾ furlongs, 0 locks

River Bollin Aqueduct

270yds(247m) of narrow channel across aqueduct
5¾ furlongs, 0 locks
Seamon’s Moss Bridge No 29 1 mile, 6¼ furlongs, 0 locks
Oldfield Quay 2 furlongs, 0 locks
Timperley Bridge No 33 1 mile, 2¾ furlongs, 0 locks
Sale Wharf A good place to moor 1 mile, 4¾ furlongs, 0 locks

Bridge Inn (Sale) A pub or bar or similarA good place to moor

Canalside
3¼ furlongs, 0 locks

Stretford Marina A good place to moorA boatyardToilet pump-outWater point

Also known as ‘Stretford Marine Services Ltd’, ‘Marland Way Marina’
1 mile, 6¾ furlongs, 0 locks

Stretford – Waters Meeting

Junction of Bridgewater Canal Main Line and Stretford and Leigh Branch
2 furlongs, 0 locks

Pomona Lock Branch Junction

Junction of Bridgewater Canal and Branch to Manchester Ship Canal
1 mile, 5½ furlongs, 0 locks

Hulme Locks Branch – Bridgewater Canal Junction

Branch closed
5½ furlongs, 0 locks

Castlefield Junction A good place to moor [see navigational note 5 below]

Junction of Bridgewater and Rochdale Canals
2½ furlongs, 0 locks
Turn round here

Hulme Locks Branch – Bridgewater Canal Junction

Branch closed
2½ furlongs, 0 locks

Pomona Lock Branch Junction

Junction of Bridgewater Canal and Branch to Manchester Ship Canal
5½ furlongs, 0 locks

Stretford – Waters Meeting

Junction of Bridgewater Canal Main Line and Stretford and Leigh Branch
1 mile, 5½ furlongs, 0 locks

Stretford Marina A good place to moorA boatyardToilet pump-outWater point

Also known as ‘Stretford Marine Services Ltd’, ‘Marland Way Marina’
2 furlongs, 0 locks

Bridge Inn (Sale) A pub or bar or similarA good place to moor

Canalside
1 mile, 6¾ furlongs, 0 locks
Sale Wharf A good place to moor 3¼ furlongs, 0 locks
Timperley Bridge No 33 1 mile, 4¾ furlongs, 0 locks
Oldfield Quay 1 mile, 2¾ furlongs, 0 locks
Seamon’s Moss Bridge No 29 2 furlongs, 0 locks

River Bollin Aqueduct

270yds(247m) of narrow channel across aqueduct
1 mile, 6¼ furlongs, 0 locks

Ye Olde Number 3 PH A pub or bar or similar

Ye Olde No 3 is a pub which has given its name to the general area.
5¾ furlongs, 0 locks

Lymm Bridge No 23

Lymm, footbridge is next to road bridge
2 miles, 4¾ furlongs, 0 locks

Golden Fleece PH A pub or bar or similar

Canalside
a few yards, 0 locks

Lymm Visitor Moorings A good place to moor

Resticted mooring, maximum stay 48 hours, no return in 3 days between Lymm Bridge and Brookfield Bridge. Also known as ‘Lymm’
¼ furlongs, 0 locks

Lumb Brook Underbridge

Stockton Heath
4 miles, 2¾ furlongs, 0 locks

Preston Brook – Waters Meeting

Junction of the Bridgewater Canal (Main Line) with the Bridgewater Canal (Preston Brook Branch)
5 miles, 3¼ furlongs, 0 locks
Bridgewater Canal (Preston Brook Branch)
From Preston Brook – Waters Meeting (Junction of the Bridgewater Canal (Main Line) with the Bridgewater Canal (Preston Brook Branch)) to:
Midland Chandlers (Preston Brook) ½ furlongs, 0 locks

Preston Brook Wharf

Ex Claymoore Holidays base
½ furlongs, 0 locks

Preston Brook [see navigational note 4 below]

Junction of Trent and Mersey Canal and Bridgewater Canal (Preston Brook Branch) – immediately north of Preston Brook Tunnel
5¼ furlongs, 0 locks
Trent and Mersey Canal (Main Line – Middlewich to Preston Brook)
From Preston Brook [see navigational note 4 below] (Junction of Trent and Mersey Canal and Bridgewater Canal (Preston Brook Branch) – immediately north of Preston Brook Tunnel) to:
Preston Brook Tunnel (northern entrance) ½ furlongs, 0 locks

Preston Brook Tunnel (southern entrance)

An extra 35 minutes has been allowed for this passage

Having passed through Preston Brook Tunnel (1239 yards long) [see navigational note 3 below]

5¾ furlongs, 0 locks
Dutton Wharf Bridge No 212 1 mile, 1¼ furlongs, 1 lock
Acton Bridge No 209 1 mile, 2 furlongs, 0 locks
Saltersford Tunnel (western entrance) 1 mile, 6¼ furlongs, 0 locks
Saltersford Tunnel (eastern entrance) Having passed through Saltersford Tunnel (424 yards long) [see navigational note 2 below] 2 furlongs, 0 locks
Barnton Tunnel (western entrance) 2¼ furlongs, 0 locks
Barnton Tunnel (eastern entrance) Having passed through Barnton Tunnel (572 yards long) 2½ furlongs, 0 locks
Barnton Road Bridge [see navigational note 1 below] ¾ furlongs, 0 locks
Anderton Lift Junction (Trent and Mersey) 6½ furlongs, 0 locks

Anderton Boat Lift Holding Moorings (Trent and Mersey) A good place to moor

Only for boats using the boat lift
¼ furlongs, 0 locks

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