Canal & Castle
It’s time to dive into the fascinating history that surrounds the UK waterways on our Canal and Castle Cruise!
This family friendly canal boat holiday cruises through the heart of historic Warwickshire, before heading north to Birmingham and heading home via the Birmingham and Fazeley and Coventry Canals. With plenty of attractions to see on the route, including the amazing Warwick Castle, the Canal and Castle cruise will be a sure fire hit with younger members of your crew.
“Such a great route for families who want the complete canal experience, with attractions and lovely countryside. No two days are the same.”
Sean Haacke, Black Prince
TWO WAYS FOR FAMILIES TO ENJOY CANAL & CASTLE
Canal & Castle follows the Warwickshire Ring from our base at Napton. You can complete the Ring in seven nights, but that gives you no time to enjoy any of the attractions on route. So we recommend a 10-night cruise, or 14 nights for extra time enjoying Birmingham’s best bits. Or you could enjoy a short break by cruising as far as Hatton Flight before returning.
10-night holiday highlights:
106 miles | 119 locks | average of 6 hours per day cruising
- Full day at Warwick Castle*
- The Hatton ‘Stairway to Heaven’ flight of locks
- Cadbury’s World* and/or the National Sea Life Centre*
- A day and night enjoying Birmingham city centre
4-night holiday highlights:
31 miles | 49 locks | average of 5 hours per day cruising
This is an out-and-back route, so you won’t complete the full ring.
- Full day at Warwick Castle*
- Cruise as far as the Hatton ‘Stairway to Heaven’ flight of locks
*Please note that the cost of entry is not included in your holiday. Check the attraction website for latest prices. We recommend booking in advance.
COVID-19: ATTRACTION ADVICE
There are lots of attractions to enjoy on route, but their opening times and visitor procedures may have changed to cope with COVID restrictions. Please check their website and phone ahead for the latest information, and to check whether you need to book in advance.
Route highlights: Grand Union Canal
START YOUR CRUISE ON THIS FAMOUS WATERWAY
Your canal boat holiday from Napton starts on the Oxford Canal and takes a short trip north before heading west at Napton Junction onto the Grand Union Canal.
There is a total of 95 locks on this cruise and most of them are in the first section of waterways along the Grand Union Canal.
“It’s always good to have a plan for the locks – work out who is going to help on the locks and at which point you can swap between driving the boat and working the windlasses (the special wrenches that open the lock gates)!”
Route highlights: Warwick Castle
ACTION-PACKED MEDIEVAL FUN
This amazing attraction takes you back to the time of great battles and heroic knights. Warwick Castle brings the past to life with falconer displays, a War of the Roses live action spectacular, archers and siege machines, plus the chance to explore the spectacular castle. Aim to spend the whole day here to get the most from your visit. This is ‘living history’ at its best, complete with realistic scenes and smells!
If your children are taking part in the fancy dress challenge from our Towpath Activity Guide, this is the perfect time to dress up!
Book your tickets online for the cheapest prices, https://www.warwick-castle.com/.
“Warwick Castle is on the south west side of Warwick. The quickest way to get there is to moor up around Tesco on the north east side of town and either walk about one and a half miles to the castle or grab a cab. You should allow around four hours for a visit. You can bring a picnic to enjoy in the grounds or there are plenty of cafes, a restaurant and some outdoor stalls.”
Route highlights: the Hatton Flight
TACKLE THE STAIRWAY TO HEAVEN
The Hatton Locks date back to 1799 and were given their nickname, The Stairway to Heaven, by boaters transporting heavy craft laden with coal, sugar, tea and spices. This was thanks to relief they felt on reaching the top of the flight and knowing their wages were waiting at the Grand Union Canal Carrying Company offices at Camphill.
Kids keep a wildlife diary will find lots of opportunity to add new entries as they move along the flight. Keep an eye out for house sparrows and grey wagtails, badgers along the wooded embankments, and grass snakes, slow worms and smooth newts in the offside ponds.
“When you reach the top of the Hatton Flight, take time to enjoy the incredible views.”
Route highlights: Cadbury World
A TASTY TREAT
If your family loves chocolate, Cadbury World is a real winner. You’ll take yourself on a tour of different chocolatey zones including 4D Chocolate Adventure, Cadabra chocolate train and the interactive Chocolate Planet. Best of all, you can make your own sweets in the Have a Go zone. Yum!
“We recommend mooring at Gas Street Basin and catching the train to Cadbury World, so you can save 30% on the price of admission. Details of Cadbury’s World’s train offer are here.
Route highlights: Birmingham Treasure Trail
CRACK THE CLUES WITH A GUIDED WALK THROUGH THE CITY
Ideally suited if you have children aged six and up, Treasure Trails has created a 1.1 mile Birmingham ‘loop’ that takes roughly one hour to complete and allows you to crack clues as you navigate around the city. It’s a great way of seeing somewhere from a new perspective.
You can buy your trail pack from their website for around £10 plus there is a text message service for clues if you get stuck.
DOWNLOAD YOUR EXCLUSIVE CRUISING NOTES
To inspire your holiday plans, we’ve created an exclusive set of cruising notes with day-by-day ideas for this route. Want to know more? You can download our exclusive cruising notes here.
PERFECT FOR YOUR FIRST FAMILY CANAL CRUISE
As your first family cruise, this route is a great way to experience a little bit of everything. There are locks. Two city centres. Wonderful countryside. Stretches to relax and soak up the sun. Brilliant attractions. All part of a family break you will love.
YOUR ADVENTURE STARTS WITH A FREE COACHING SESSION
And before you head off, we’ll give you and the family a free British Marine Federation accredited coaching session.
We’ll walk you through the controls on the boat. Show you how to steer and stop. How to cruise safely. How to operate locks and swing bridges and navigate tunnels.
You won’t leave until you’re a wiz on the narrowboat. Ready and raring to discover a new destination every day.
WE’LL SEND YOU AN EXCLUSIVE ROUTE PLAN FROM OUR TEAM
Our teams know every route like the back of their hand. So when you book, we’ll send you exclusive cruising notes for your holiday, with ideas for each day’s travel, where to stop, how many locks and how long you’ll need to cruise.
Your suggested itinerary is a great base for planning your trip. You can tailor days to suit your family, to create your exclusive adventure.
YOUR HOLIDAY INCLUDES
- Lifejackets for children and adults
- All your linen and kitchen equipment
- A coaching session before you set off
- A family-friendly route plan with advice on stops each day and night
- The Towpath Activity Guide from family adventurer David Mellor