The Gas Street Basin

Some paths were not meant for walking, but for strolling. One such path has gained a world-famous reputation for its miles-long corridors along Birmingham’s intertwining canal system.

This scenic route, known as the Gas Street Basin, is a part of the UK’s sprawling Birmingham Canal Navigation’s Main Line (BCN), which was constructed by–you guessed it–the Birmingham Canal Company.

The ambition of several business moguls spurred a 1768 Act of Parliament, which initiated the project and soon afterwards, James Brindley, a canal engineer, was commissioned to design and oversee the project’s construction. He would later have his name enshrined nearby at Brindleyplace, where his ingenuity has become an iconic neighbourhood of Birmingham’s urban community.

The Gas Street basin is named so due to its localisation near Birmingham’s historic Gas Street, but the canal itself spans miles and miles along the Worcester and Birmingham Canals. The path itself starts at the iconic Mailbox complex (near the Gas Street Social) which contains a menagerie of haute couture stores (Hugo Boss, Armani, etc) and international restaurants, coffee shops, and wine bars.

Along the pathway, the bustling local scene erupts with a queue of pubs, cafes, shops, and eateries fit for British (and even American) tastes. Many of them are found along one of the canal’s most salient landmarks such as the Worcester Bar, which acts as a miniature ‘car park’ for many riverboats. Here, you can see a kitsch assortment of river taxis and house boats, many which are colourfully decorated and marked according to each captain’s ingenuity.

The waters of the basin continue onward beyond the Broad Street junction and then coalesces into a vibrant epicentre of riverboat cafes, diners, and pubs with a distinct ‘Brummy’ (Birmingham) charm. The area is sandwiched between several important landmarks: the International Convention Centre, the Symphony Hall, The National Sea Life Centre Aquarium, the Barclaycard Arena, and Oozells Square–a key business hub for Birmingham’s upscale developments.

Here are some of our best moments throughout our stroll through the Gas Basin:

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The Mailbox, the meeting ground for people of affluent tastes, where you can find a hodgepodge of various high-end shops and eateries. This is a lovely place to try Spanish tapas, grab a glass of wine, or simply to meet friends and pass the time. Many people work at The Cube, an prominent building in the Birmingham skyline which is located here.
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The captivating Gas Street Basin with its landmarked entrance [left] and Regency Wharf industrial buildings marking the Broad Street overpass. One can find a whiff of modernity just beyond the old facade of Birmingham’s industrial past.
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A signature landmark of Birmingham are its famous riverboats that serve as taxis, tour guides, and residences. Some people even spend their lives travelling the canal and mooring wherever they please!
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Oozells square, a prominent business centre in Birmingham sat adjacent to the Brindleyplace corporate offices. One can find a lovely place to relax, grab a coffee, and get some sun here, but there are no guarantees on the sun, unfortunately.
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Here’s another epicentre of good food and good fun. At the mouth of Brindleyplace, you can find various riverboats that can take you on guided tours for 5-10 GBP, an assortment of restaurants, the International Convention Centre, as well as passageways to the National Marine Life Centre and Oozells Square.
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Boats waiting patiently at the Worcester Bar, with a shot of The Cube in the background. This 18th century landmark is immediately noticeable from its winding overpass to the Regency Wharf buildings and restaurants.
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A vibrant alley of shops, restaurants, and cafes at Brindleyplace leading from its main mooring station at Regency Wharf into Oozell’s Square.
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One of the highlights of our journey: the almighty Malt House. On an amicable, sunny day, rarely does a moment go where this place isn’t packed to the brim with jolly drinkers, families, and even live music. Drinks and food are reasonably priced, so grab one and praise yourself for getting a table at the pub terraces or in the courtyard.
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A spotless day on a quaint boathouse complete with family, friends, and fur. Mission accomplished!

 

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