Stand up paddle boards stacked on the side of Aylesbury canal basin

The team who brings Aylesbury town centre’s canal basin to life with colour, arts and music for the ever-popular Waterside Festival is delighted to present September Saturdays by the Canal for 2021.

This year, due to the impacts of the Covid-19 pandemic, the decision has been made not to run Waterside Festival in its usual capacity. In place of the traditional event, festival goers are instead invited to enjoy some of the best-loved festival activities from Waterside Festival’s event partners, spread out across the Saturdays of September.

Whether it’s enjoying performances by the talented storytellers from Unbound Theatre, exploring the canal’s 200-year-old history or trying your hand at fishing – there’s something for everyone to enjoy every Saturday from 4 September to 25 September, all located in the beautiful canal basin surrounded by Aylesbury Waterside Theatre, Buckinghamshire New University’s Aylesbury Campus, Waitrose and Travelodge.

The popular ‘Let’s Fish’ taster sessions will be back thanks to the Canal & River Trust and The Tring Anglers offering free, family-friendly, fishing taster sessions on the Aylesbury Arm of the Grand Union Canal by Tesco (Aylesbury, HP20 1PQ). Festival goers can also enjoy a ‘splashtastic’ showcase of water activities from the Chiltern Canoe Club including watching and cheering on a dynamic demonstration of a canal polo exhibition match or short course stand up paddleboard (SUP) racing.

Always a firm family-favourite, Aylesbury’s very own ‘The Little Trip Boat’ will be operating boat trips every Saturday throughout September at 11am, 1pm and 3pm. Each trip on The Little Trip Boat lasts approximately 90 minutes, giving festival goers the perfect opportunity to take to the water, relax and unwind as you float down Aylesbury’s historical waterway. And for visitors who’d rather stick to dry land, the 200-year-old waterway and the town’s rich heritage can be explored by taking part in a historical walk along Aylesbury’s beautiful canal, guided by The Aylesbury Society. There’s also lots of other fantastic activities taking place on 11-12 September in the town centre and beyond in line with Heritage Open Day.

Families are invited to learn more about the animals, creatures and insects that call the canal home at the biodiversity stalls or by joining in with a range of wildlife activities. And what’s a day out without theatre? The incredibly talented Unbound Storytellers from Queens Parks Arts Centre will be showcasing a brand-new performance of ‘The Gongoozler’s Tale’ as well as bringing to life some of their popular ‘Spontaneous Stories’. Discover a wealth of exciting tales from the waterways full of colourful characters, twists and turns, and a healthy dose of audience interaction!

For a full schedule of activities and to plan your Saturday visits, please visit or follow @WatersideFestvl on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram for the latest updates.