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Harecastle Tunnel – new booking procedure

The Harecastle Tunnel, sometimes called the Brindley tunnel because it was designed by James Brindley, on the Trent and Mersey Canal in Staffordshire between Kidsgrove and Tunstall, has specific operating times for travel and afternoon passages need to be pre-booked for 2022.

Harecastle Tunnel 2022 Opening Times (1st March – 30th October 2022)

Tunnel open 8am – 5pm – Monday to Sunday.

  • Non-booked passages can arrive at the Tunnel between 8 am to 12 noon (Monday to Sunday)
  • Booked passages are available between 2 pm and 4 pm (Monday to Sunday)

Bookable Passages:
2pm – Southbound (Kidsgrove to Westport Lake)
3 pm – Northbound (Westport Lake to Kidsgrove)
4 pm – Southbound (Kidsgrove to Westport Lake)

Open passages are available for boating through Hardcastle Tunnel from 8am to 12 noon, Monday to Sunday. Un-booked (Open) passages must arrive at the tunnel portal between 8am and 12 noon. There is no guarantee of passage for arrivals after 12 noon unless you have pre-booked.

The tunnel is located north of our Stoke on Trent hire base on the Trent and Mersey canal (about 45 minutes cruising time). The last northbound passage is at 3pm, which means that guests wishing to head north on boats through the tunnel will not be able to go through on the first day of cruising.

If you wish to cruise north through canal tunnels, we recommend you moor at Westport lake or stay at the base for the night and travel through the next morning.

Alternatively, if you plan to cruise the Four Counties Ring, we recommend you head south first. If you have booked a short break and want to make the most of your cruising time, we recommend heading head south to Great Heywood.

How to Book
You can pre-book your passage through the Harecastle Tunnel north online at:

Alternatively, you can wait until your arrival at the Stoke on Trent canal boat hire base and we can manage this for you, however, time slots may become limited if you want to quickly be boated through Harecastle.


Take a look at our LOCATIONS page to start planning your narrowboat holiday.

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Or if you would like help planning your adventure then call on +44 (0)1527 575 115 and a Black Prince team member will be happy to help!