Two of the questions I am asked the most are, “Which canalside villages are the prettiest?” and of course, “Which is the best canalside village to live in?” I asked narrowboaters on Facebook which canal villages they liked best. They came up with a fantastic list of iconic canal villages (and a few small towns) that you should definitely visit – and perhaps you could consider them when buying your canalside home.

It’s interesting to note how many of these villages are set to one side of the canal, with a separate, small collection of buildings around a remote wharf. There are two main reasons for this. Either the canal was dug in a curve specifically to circumnavigate the village, particularly where land ownership made a closer route impossible, or, in keeping the cutting as level as possible to avoid building locks, it was dug around the hill upon which the villlage was built. Sometimes there has been a gradual infilling of the land between the wharf and the main village. More housing beside the canal has also been created over the years through the conversion of canalside buildings, or their demolition and replacement,

I’ve listed the most popular villages here in alphabetical order to avoid showing any favouritism!

You can vote for your favourite here: