Short Break Route Suggestions (3 & 4 nights):
Relaxed route: Stratford-upon-Avon and Return - 14 miles, 34 locks, 11 hours total
A popular short break route offering locks, aqueducts, rural cruising and the cultural interest of Stratford-upon-Avon. Start your cruise departing the marina which is next to a classic pub, and cruise south, straight over a road on a cast iron aqueduct. The canal then takes a sharp bend as you arrive at the first lock and the Edstone Aqueduct (200yds) which takes you past a pretty cottage & into a secluded stretch of waterway, making it's way to Wilmcote. Wilmcote is a small village just a short distance from the canal (moor just north of bridge 59), it is home to a couple of pubs and Mary Arden's House. Returning to your boat, you shortly arrive at the top lock of the Wilmcote Flight, which consists of a group of 3 locks, then 5 and then a final 3. Entering more suburban views, you make your journey into Stratford-upon-Avon and the basin, working your way through a further 5 locks and under several bridges. Bancroft Basin is set in the middle of bustling parkland with plenty of richly coloured flower beds set beside Shakespeare Memorial Theatre - you are just a walk away from plenty of attractions before you return to your boat and make your journey back to the marina.
Intermediate route: Hatton and Return - 21 miles, 34 locks, 14 hours total
Depart the boatyard cruising north through quiet wooded countryside views. There is a pub just a short walk from the first lock as you climb north through the five locks at Preston Bagot. There is a consistent amount of locks as the canal meanders through rural Warwickshire past Lowsonford, where their is another pub if you are in need of refreshment before you reach the Lapworth Link, joining onto the Grand Union Canal. Cruise east and then south onto the Grand Union Canal towards Warwick through steeply wooded hills through Shrewley Tunnel (443 yds long) and turn the boat around just before St John's Bridge. You can walk to see the Hatton Flight if you'd like, before making your return journey (approx a mile away).
Active route: Bidford-on-Avon and Return - 33 miles, 48 locks, 19.5 hours total
Please note: to complete this route you will need to purchase an additional licence (which is approximately £50 for up to 7 days) to cruise onto the River Avon Navigations. This can be purchased at the basin in Stratford or the tourist office.
Begin your journey by cruising south to Stratford-upon-Avon (more details in the relaxed route above) and then once in Bancroft Basin you can explore the town before cruising onto the River Avon. Cruise for a couple of miles through tranquil Warwickshire countryside, leaving the red brick of the Royal Shakespeare Theatre. The River loops over the quaint village of Welford-on-Avon, there are moorings next to the Binton Bridges and a waterfront pub. The village is known for its timber-framed cottages and St Peters Church is just a short walk from the river, dating back to the 13th Century. Continue your meandering cruise passing fields to Bidford-on-Avon, which can be particularly busy for moorings during peak season. There are plenty of pubs, shops and takeaways to take advantage of here before you make your return journey to the wharf.
Weekly Route Suggestions:
Relaxed route: The Birmingham Mini Ring - 48 miles, 84 locks, 33 hours total
Cruise north from the Wootton Wawen boatyard through quiet wooded countryside views. There is a pub just a short walk from the first lock as you climb north through the five locks at Preston Bagot. There is a consistent amount of locks as the canal winds through rural Warwickshire past Lowsonford. Arriving at this busy junction - take the first right and then cruise north on the Grand Union Canal towards Birmingham. Enjoy a quiet stretch of canal, stopping at a waterside pub, before reaching the locks at Knowle, the canal passes under a busy road before re-entering countryside views as you make your way to Solihull. Entering the outskirts of Birmingham you have no locks until you approach Bordesley Junction. Once through the maze of locks and bridges, you can find a mooring at Gas Street Basin. You are within easy reach of Brindleyplace, with a selection of waterfront bars and restaurants, Sea Life Centre and NIA exhibition and music venues. Not to mention The Mailbox - a great shopping location. Departing the basin, cruise through Edgbaston (where you are within walking distance to the Birmingham Botanical Gardens) and navigate through Edgbaston Tunnel (105 yds). Cadbury World is accessible from the waterway shortly before you arrive at Kings Norton Junction, where you will need to cruise west back onto the Stratford-upon-Avon Canal through the Guillotine Lock. Once through the Brandwood Tunnel (352 yds) you enter a particularly pretty area of wooded countryside through bridges and over a small aqueduct with plenty of pubs dotted along the canal. The Lapworth locks mark the end of your energetic cruise as you wind south back to the Wootton Wawen boatyard.
Intermediate route: Stratford-upon-Avon, Warwick and Return - 41 miles, 110 locks, 34 hours total
Depart the boatyard and cruise south down the Stratford-upon-Avon Canal, passing over an aqueduct and through the Wilmcote Flight of 11 locks to the town of Stratford-upon-Avon. Moor in the basin to explore this magnificent market town and it's rich history, before turning around to make your way back up the canal. Take the first right on the lapworth link to join the Grand Union Canal. Follow the signs east towards the Hatton Flight and Warwick. Passing Turner's Green to Shrewley Tunnel (433 yds) you are surrounded by hill landscapes which widen on the eastern side. Take a deep breath and start making your way through the Hatton Flight, which consists of 21 locks. Once on the other side, you can either moor on the Saltisford Arm and walk into Warwick or if you need you can follow the canal north above Warwick and moor near one of the footbridges. Highlights of Warwick include Warwick Castle, Collegiate Church of St Mary's, the Lord Leycester Hospital and the Market Hall Museum.
Active route: Stratford-upon-Avon, Birmingham and Return - 61 miles, 128 locks, 43 hours total
Start your journey cruising south to Stratford-upon-Avon over a series of aqueducts and through the Wilmcote Flight. Mooring at Bancroft Basin, next to where the canal meets the Upper River Avon Navigation. Spend some time exploring the sites of Stratford-upon-Avon before making your way back past Wootton Wawen and continue cruising north, joining on to the Grand Union Canal from the Lapworth Link. Pass through the Knowle Locks and onto the village of Catherine de Barnes, where there is a pub, restaurant and useful stores a short walk from the towpath. Make your way through Solihull to Bordersley Junction; join onto the Digbeth Branch, cruising over an aqueduct and through the Ashted Tunnel of 103yds. At Ashton Junction head south west, navigating the Farmer’s Locks down to Deep Cuttings Junction, joining on to the Worcester & Birmingham Canal for the short cruise into Gas Street Basin. Moor at the basin to explore all that Birmingham has to offer, including attractions such as Cadbury World, Birmingham Sea Life Centre and the Bullring shopping centre. Turn at the basin for the return journey back to Wootton Wawen.
Active route: Stratford-upon-Avon, Tewkesbury and Return - 99 miles, 68 locks, 45 hours total
Please note: to complete this route you will need to purchase an additional license (which is approximately £50 for up to 7 days) to cruise onto the River Avon Navigations. This can be purchased at the basin in Stratford or the tourist office.
Cruise south from the boatyard over two narrow aqueducts, down towards Wilmcote village – a good place to stop on your first evening. After Wilmcote there are 16 locks before you arrive in Stratford-upon-Avon and moorings are available in the town centre at Bancroft Basin. Explore this interesting town before joining the River Avon; Stratford-upon-Avon is the birthplace of Shakespeare and there are lots of very historic building to visit, as well as numerous shops, pubs and restaurants. Passing through the first lock onto the river, the navigation loops over the quaint village of Welford-on-Avon - there are moorings at nearby Binton Bridges and a waterside pub. Continue cruising past open fields to Bidford-on-Avon which has a fabulous stone bridge, plus a variety of pubs and shops. Follow the river through several locks until you arrive at Evesham, mooring up near Workman Gardens and Abbey Park to take a short walk into this historic market town to visit various attractions or one of the many restaurants, pubs and shops. Cruise on past Abbey Manor House then around the outskirts of picturesque villages such as Fladbury, Wyre Piddle and Cropthorne, until you reach Pershore. There are good moorings, shops and plenty of restaurants in the Georgian market town. Continue cruising west, past Twyning and under King John’s Bridge, into the historic town of Tewkesbury, known for its half-timbered buildings, hidden alleyways, local shops and historic Abbey. Turn just before the Avon Lock and return to Wootton Wawen.
Fortnight Route Suggestions:
Relaxed route: Worcester (via Stratford-upon-Avon) and Return - 132 miles, 76 locks, 56 hours total
Please note: to complete this route you will need to purchase an additional licence (which is approximately £50 for up to 7 days) to cruise onto the River Avon Navigation. This can be purchased at the basin in Stratford-upon-Avon or at the tourist office.
Start your holiday by cruising south from the marina, straight over a road on a cast iron aqueduct. The canal then takes a sharp bend as you arrive at the first lock and the Edstone Aqueduct (200yds) which takes you past a pretty cottage & into a secluded stretch of waterway, making your way to Wilmcote. Wilmcote is a small village just a short distance from the canal (moor just north of bridge 59), it is home to a couple of pubs and 'Mary Arden's House'. Continue your cruise through the Wilmcote Flight, which consists of a group of 3 locks, then 5 and then a final 3. Entering more suburban surroundings, make your journey into Stratford-upon-Avon and the basin, working your way through a further 5 locks and under several bridges. Bancroft Basin is set in the middle of bustling parkland and the Shakespeare Memorial Theatre. Purchase your River Avon License and cruise onto the Upper Avon through tranquil Warwickshire countryside, leaving the red brick of the Royal Shakespeare Theatre in the distance. The River loops over the quaint village of Welford-on-Avon, then there are moorings next to the Binton Bridges and a waterfront pub. Continue through fields and woodland (interspersed with some impressive dwellings) to Bidford-on-Avon, followed soon after by Evesham (well worth exploring if you have time) where you enter the lower stretch of the Avon, making your way towards historic Tewkesbury and a lock leading to the River Severn. Cruise north on the River Severn past Upton-on-Severn and through a deep lock before arriving at the junction of the Worcester & Birmingham Canal, finding a mooring by diglis lock. Explore the highlights of Worcester before making your return journey to the marina.
Intermediate route: The Avon Ring - 109 miles, 131 locks, 61 hours total
This ring takes approximately 5 hours cruising per day over 14 nights. We recommend that you complete this ring by cruising anti-clockwise so that you are following the flow of the River Severn and also because you get the majority of the locks done first!
Begin your journey by cruising north up the Stratford-upon-Avon Canal through quiet wooded countryside.. There is a pub just a short walk from the first lock as you climb north through the five locks at Preston Bagot. There is a consistent amount of locks as the canal winds through rural Warwickshire. Arriving at the busy Lapworth Junction - keep to the left, cruising north west towards Birmingham. Pass through Brandwood Tunnel (352yds in length) to Kings Norton Junction; then cruise south (turn left) leaving signs for Birmingham behind as you make your way down the Worcester & Birmingham Canal. This stretch takes you through Wast Hills Tunnel (2726 yds in length) and a further two slightly shorter tunnels, in preparation for the Tardebigge Flight of 36 locks! Stop at a waterside pub for some well earned refreshment before passing Stoke Wharf and through a further 6 locks. Follow the canal south through a wooded cutting to the Diglis Basin at Worcester. Take a break and explore Worcester before taking your boat onto the River Severn, through the deep lock then south towards the River Avon Navigation. Please note: you will need to purchase an additional licence (which is approximately £50 for up to 7 days) to cruise onto the River Avon Navigation. The River Avon offers unspoilt countryside cruising as you meander along past historic towns and pretty villages (well worth exploration if you have time) such as Tewkesbury, Evesham & Bidford-on-Avon. The River meets the Stratford-upon-Avon Canal at Bancroft Basin, which is an ideal place to stop for exploring the City of Stratford-upon-Avon and it's rich Shakespearean history before making your way through the Wilmcote Flight and back to Wootton Wawen marina.
Active Route: The Stourport Ring – 122 miles, 192 locks, 80.5 hours total
Start your journey heading north from the base at Wootton Wawen and cruise up the Stratford-upon-Avon Canal to Kingswood Junction. Travel through the Lapworth Locks of 14 and pass through Hockley Heath, where there are moorings available, with a pub and takeaway close by. Continue cruising towards King’s Norton Junction, passing through the Brand wood Tunnel and a Guillotine Lock on the way. Cruise west from the junction through the Wast Hill Tunnel (2726yds) and two other long tunnels, past the town of Alvechurch, before reaching the Tardebigge Flight. This lock flight is certainly a challenge, with 30 locks in total it is the largest flight in the UK and can take anywhere between 5-7 hours; luckily the flight is set in beautiful, rolling countryside so you can enjoy the views whilst working your way through (with a handy pub at the end!). Travel through attractive countryside, passing Hanbury Park and a couple of canalside pubs on the way down to Worcester. Follow the canal through the City and moor at either Lowesmoor Basin or Diglis Basin to explore attractions such as Worcester Cathedral, The Greyfriars and The Commandery. Cruise to Hawford Junction and join the River Severn heading north. Continue cruising to Stourport-on-Severn, joining the picturesque Staffordshire & Worcestershire Canal there and passing through the historic town of Kidderminster. Travel on through fairly frequent locks and past several canalside pubs, enjoying the peaceful countryside up to Aldersley Junction, where you join the Birmingham Main Line, tackling the Wolverhampton Flight of 21 locks soon after. Continue along this stretch to Old Turn Junction then join the Worcester & Birmingham Canal again, mooring at Gas Street Basin if you wish to visit central Birmingham. Cruise to King’s Norton Junction where you turn left, taking the Stratford-on-Avon Canal to Lapworth Junction then continuing south back down to the base at Wootton Wawen.