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Exploring the Leeds & Liverpool Canal


The Leeds & Liverpool Canal offers 127 miles of walking, boating, wildlife-watching and all-round relaxation. Leaving Liverpool, the canal passes through East Lancashire and then crosses Pennine countryside and picturesque villages on the edge of the Yorskhire Dales before reaching Leeds.

Walkers love the canal, and thousands of visitors come every year to marvel at the impressive Bingley Five Rise Locks and the historic salt town of Saltaire.


Saltaire, a complete Victorian village built by Sir Titus Salt to house his textile workers, sits along the Leeds & Liverpool Canal – approximately 10 miles from Leeds. The development achieved World Heritage status in 2001. A 10-minute stroll along the Leeds & Liverpool Canal from the village will bring you to Hirst Wood Lock and the seven-arch aqueduct over the River Aire – then leading on to Bingley Five Rise Locks.

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Old Yorkshire mill, along the Leeds & Liverpool Canal in Saltaire

Bingley Five Rise Locks

These locks are the steepest staircase locks on the longest canal in the country – probably why they are one of our Seven Wonders of the Waterways, according to The Canal & River Trust. The location of these locks provides a fantastic view over the of the Aire Valley, as well as a cafe at the top of the flight and a private mooring site for boats. A little further down the towpath are the three locks. Together they form a very popular spot to ride your bike, take a walk or dangle a rod.

BINGLEY, YORKSHIRE, UK: MARCH 30, 2005: Canal barge on Leeds-Liverpool canal near Five Rise Locks

Leeds canal walk

This 4km walk along the canal from Leeds Dock to Thwaite Watermill, gives a glimpse of the heritage and engineering of this waterway. Fearns Island creates a break in the River Aire, with the ferocious Leeds Dam Weir to the north of it, while boaters safely cruise south of the island east along the Aire & Calder Navigation towards Leeds Lock.

A beautiful landscape shot of a bridge and its reflection in the water over the Leeds-Liverpool canal.

Liverpool’s Royal Albert Docks

The Royal Albert Dock, opened by Prince Albert in 1846, is the stunning centrepiece of a network of ten Liverpool docks that form the South Docks. Here you can follow the Riverside walk in-front of the Three Graces and pass the city’s historic waterfront of world-famous museums, shops, restaurants and galleries; or just pause and take in the incredible view across the Mersey.

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Liverpool / UK – April 2014: The Albert Dock is a focal point of the city of Liverpool, UK


Skipton is the gateway to the Yorkshire Dales and is a beautiful market town with an award-winning high street and market, as well as a 12th century castle. At over 800 years old, Skipton Castle is one of the most complete and best-preserved medieval castles in England. From Skipton you can head towards Gargrave village or ride the Aire valley towpath route. It’s a great destination to soak up the history and people-watch from the abundance of eateries overlooking the Leeds & Liverpool Canal waterside.

A branch of the Leeds Liverpool Canal runs alonside the stone buildings in Skipton in the Yorkshire Dales.

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