Scottish Canals seeks business partner to create canalside getaways

Scottish Canals is seeking a new business partner to help develop and operate world-class holiday accommodation along the nation’s historic inland waterways.

From five-star holiday lodges on the majestic Caledonian Canal in the heart of the Highlands to bothies on the banks of ‘Britain’s most beautiful shortcut’ – the Crinan Canal in Argyll – and alternative accommodation on the bustling Forth & Clyde and Union Canals in the central belt, it’s hoped that the partnership will play a major role in the continuing development of the tourism offer on the nation’s canals, which already attract 22 million visitors each year.

Caring for 137 miles of historic waterway, 825 hectares of land – the equivalent of 2,000 football pitches – and more than 90 buildings, Scottish Canals has a range of opportunities for prospective accommodation developers, investors and operators all over the country. The canal custodians, whose previous projects include the redevelopment of historic lighthouses and former lock keepers’ cottages, are especially keen to work with businesses with an ecological bias or award-winning pedigree.

Scottish Canals aims to encourage even more holidaymakers from home and abroad to explore everything the nation’s waterways and the communities on their banks have to offer in the years to come. Interested businesses are urged to contact Scottish Canals for more information, with all formal submissions to be made through the Scottish Government’s procurement portal.

“We’re always looking to offer our visitors incredible experiences on Scotland’s canals and fantastic accommodation is a key part of that.

“The myths and majesty of the Caledonian Canal and Loch Ness, the tranquillity of the Crinan Canal, and the vibrancy of the Lowland Canals already attract visitors from all over the planet and we’re committed to creating tourism destinations worthy of those world class destinations. I’d encourage any businesses who think they could help us create unforgettable canalside retreats across Scotland to get in touch.”

Katie Hughes, Director of Estates and Commerce at Scottish Canals

Once the transport arteries that stoked the fires of the Industrial Revolution, today Scotland’s canals are home to cyclists and cafes rather than coal scows and Clydesdale horses. In the last decade, Scottish Canals has spearheaded more than 170,000 square metres of canalside development, generating £150 million in economic impact and creating world-renowned tourism destinations such as The The Kelpies, the world’s largest equine sculptures, and Fort Augustus and the new Caledonian Canal Centre at the head of Loch Ness.

Businesses interested in the opportunity should submit their proposal via

Notes to Editors

  • Scottish Canals is responsible to the Scottish Government for the management and development of five Scottish canals as well as the surrounding estate and The Falkirk Wheel. See or follow @ScottishCanals for more information
  • The Forth & Clyde, Union and Monkland canals in the Lowlands, the Crinan Canal in Argyll and the Caledonian Canal in the Highlands, together extend over 137 miles from coast to coast, across country and into the cities of Edinburgh, Glasgow and Inverness
  • Built two hundred years ago to fire the Industrial Revolution, today the canals contribute to the Scottish Government agenda of developing a Greener; Healthier; Smarter; Safer and Stronger; and Wealthier and Fairer Scotland by acting as a catalyst for sustainable economic development, regeneration and tourism; contributing to education, biodiversity, heritage and promoting active living and healthier lifestyles
  • Today Scottish Canals is utilising these 18th century assets along with innovative technology to tackle modern problems. Through working with partners to create pioneering systems, Scottish Canals is helping to combat flooding and driving positive transformation in some of Scotland’s most disadvantaged areas
  • The Forth & Clyde, Union, Monkland, Caledonian and Crinan canals are recognised as Scheduled Monuments and attract 22million visits per year. See for more information

For further information, please contact:

Chris McDonald at Scottish Canals, on 07917 217 608 or email

Nicola Sturgeon at Scottish Canals on 07767 383 557 or email

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