We were once again in Birmingham England, this time house sitting in the suburb of Water Orton. Darcie a 3-year-old Alsatian and Daisy a mischievous 9-month-old Yorkshire Terrier, plus Mignon the placid cat would be our responsibility. Water Orton is surrounded by fields and plenty of blueberry and black berry hedges – is that an apple and black berry pie I smell cooking Maura?
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Housesitting in and around Birmingham is a great way to explore nearby places like Leicester and Stratford upon Avon. We love living like locals and using house sitting as a way to travel. Remember to pack this essential item too.
A highlight of our stay was a day trip walking along Birmingham’s Revitalised Historic Canals. The city centre is only a 10 minute train ride from Water Orton.
With the weather for the month of August a tad wet, it was nice to have a beautiful sunny Sunday. Our friends Kasia and Rod of Waffl3d (wonderful vegan waffles) had come up from London to join us. We were all a little surprised at what we found.
We had wandered down to the area where the Parade crosses the canal near Fleet Street. The canals have been rejuvenated over the last 30 years and you will love what you will see.
We were approached by a volunteer of the Canal and River Trust near Cambrian House. He was most informative answering the many questions from Rod, who had obviously been studying up on the history of the canals.
What we learnt was these canals (perhaps more canals than in Venice) were once used to bring raw materials from London in Victorian times to the factories in Birmingham. It was here the materials were turned into finished goods “to be delivered all over the UK.” Pretty impressive we thought.
The rejuvenation of Birmingham’s Revitalised Historic canals started 30 years ago – yip, this was when we were last here. Our friend Nige who had moved to Solihull nearby, had taken us for a visit to the canals all those years ago.
We took a walk past the Barclaycard Arena, the largest indoor stadium when it was built in 1991. We walked further along the canal to the Roundhouse. Here we got to see some of the beautiful house boats moored and a water roundabout.
Now you can take a boat trip on the canals for £1-4 giving you another perspective of the canals. You will see the old warehouses transformed into restaurants and cafes.
You’ll also find the National Sea Life Centre, the ICC Symphony Hall and Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery. So even if it’s wet, there’s still plenty to do.
We chose a new restaurant and bar Canal House on its opening day for a drink and to shade from the sun (did we just say that after all the rain we’ve had!) We loved the feel and colour of this area known as Gas Street Basin. You’ll find plenty of canal boats moored here in various colours.
We finished our walk of Birmingham’s Revitalised Historical Canals at The Mailbox, a large shopping area where Terry couldn’t resist a photo of his big heart.
We were all feeling a little peckish, so a Vegan lunch was on the menu – a recommendation from Rod and Kasia. So across from The Mailbox we stopped at Natural Healthy Foods. It’s a different concept whereby you take a plate, fill it up and pay on its weight. All we can say is “wow”. Our taste buds, even if you aren’t a Vegan, will totally enjoy the experience of eating here.
We did resist the desserts, but we all tried a latte – Beetroot, Turmeric, Green Tea and Chocolate.
So how do we sum up our experience of Take A Walk Along Birmingham’s Revitalised Historic Canals – we would highly recommend you visit. There is plenty to see and do, whatever your age. And you’ll love the waterside bars.