Make the most of a ‘snow day’ at Langley Mill on the Erewash Canal

When the weather gives you unexpected day off, it’s the perfect excuse to explore a new stretch of waterway

Great Northern Basin


Langley Mill once lived under the grand name of the Great North Basin, a place that bustled with the noise and smell of boats and cargo when it formed the junction of the Erewash Canal and the Cromford and Nottingham Canals. It’s now a much more family-friendly spot, and an ideal place to visit on one of those unexpected snow days, when schools and offices are closed and parents and children are left twiddling their thumbs, wondering how best to make use of this unexpected day of freedom.

Langley Mill is a short drive or train journey from Nottingham – and it’s also close to Derby and Mansfield. It was created around 200 years ago, when the Nottingham Canal was cut to connect the city with the Erewash and Cromford Canals. This became known as the Great Northern Basin as so many boats and related industries were gathered here, and that industrial heritage is one reason it makes such a fascinating place to visit today. It also means that on cold days there are plenty of warm buildings to visit, such as the Great Northern pub, a historic canalside hostelry with children’s play area alongside the canal.

You can also get out and about to see some of the remaining buildings such as the dry dock, where narrow boats are still repaired, and the old lock cottages. The basin also has a Toll House, Pump House and a rare remaining swing bridge – one of seven still working on the Nottingham Canal. And if the weather allows, you can follow part of the Erewash Valley Trail a 30-mile walk around an area that inspired writers such as DH Lawrence and Alan Sillitoe. A short walk from here along the trail will take you to Eastwood, birthplace of DH Lawrence and home of the DH Lawrence Heritage Centre. A little further away in the other direction is Shipley Country Park, which is great for walking and even a spot of light sledging.

Plan your day out to Langley Mill with our downloadable guide.

*If however it’s looking too treacherous outside, don’t risk it, save this walk for another day – you won’t be disappointed!