Celebrate the Grand Union Canal this weekend by going along to a three-day family event set to attract 400 boats to the waterside in Cassiobury Park.

It’s the first time The Waterways Festival has come to town. It runs from today (Friday, July 19) to Sunday, July 21 and will be packed with things to see, do and join in with, including painting, rope splicing and crafts to try. Book early for Guinness World Record holder Ingrid Wagner’s big knitting workshop.

The festival attracts up to 250 exhibitors ranging from boat specialists and chandlery to food and drink. Try a traditional pint from the Real Ale Bar, offering more than 40 brews to taste-test. Heritage craft will also feature strongly, with historic working boats on display.

Youngsters will have a lot to enjoy with Wild over Waterways (WOW) activities, including the chance to try bricklaying, operating mini-diggers and a chance to complete their own WOW Passport by taking part in traditional waterways activities.

Watford has been chosen to host its annual celebration of the nation’s inland waterways and to raise money for much-needed renovations around the country to preserve, restore and celebrate the inland waterway network to ensure it can be enjoyed by future generations.

The event, organised by a 300-strong team of volunteers from the Inland Waterways Association (IWA), is an exciting and colourful extravaganza with an array of attractions to provide an educational and fun day out for all the family.

Longstanding member of the IWA and Rickmansworth resident, Michael Stimpson, who has been appointed as this year’s festival chairman, says: “I am proud and excited to be leading a festival in my home county. Cassiobury Park is a beautiful location and it will be a great opportunity for the local community to celebrate and support the wonderful waterway network that’s right on their doorstep.”

Mayor of Watford, Dorothy Thornhill. says: “Inland waterways are a precious part of our national heritage and I know the three-day festival promises to be a spectacular event in our much-loved Cassiobury Park.”

  • Cassiobury Park on the Grand Union Canal, on July 19 to 20, 11am-5pm. Details: 07885 349033, waterways.org. uk