Lymm Canal Boat Holiday
Suggested daily itinerary:
This is just a suggested itinerary, and you can customize it to fit your own interests and time constraints. No matter how you choose to do it, a canal boat trip from Stoke on Trent to Lymm is a great way to see some of the best of the English countryside.
Day 1: Start your journey in Stoke-on-Trent and travel north along the Trent and Mersey Canal. Depending if you can go through the Harecastle Tunnel (time restrictions apply), you can moor and spend the night just before or just after the tunnel.
Day 2: Continue north to Middlewich. Visit the Middlewich Locks and learn about their history. Overnight in Middlewich.
Day 3: Travel from Middlewich to Lymm. Enjoy the scenery along the way and stop for lunch at one of the canalside pubs. Overnight in Lymm.
Day 4: Explore Lymm in the morning, before starting your return journey back to base. Cruise to Preston Brook.
Day 5: Travel from Preston Brook to Middlewich. Enjoy some time exploring this market town.
Day 6: Middlewich before cruising to Hardings Wood.
Day 7: Hardings Wood through the Harecastle tunnel.
Day 8 (after 7 nights on board): back to the Black Prince narrowboat hire base at Festival Park Marina.
The cruising route in detail
This countryside route will take you along the Trent and Mersey Canal, through Middlewich, onto the Bridgewater Canal to the pretty village of Lymm, in Cheshire.
It’s a fairly active route, with 72 locks (for the whole return journey), although once on the Bridgewater Canal it’s easy lock free cruising to Lymm.
Starting at the Black Prince base at Festival Park Marina in Stoke on Trent, you’ll start by travelling northwest on the Trent and Mersey Canal (Main Line – Etruria to Hardings Wood) for 5 miles towards Hardings Wood Junction. In Stoke on Trent, you’ll see the living history of the canals, with old warehouses and pottery factories lining the side of the canal. Look out for the old pottery chimneys. The industrial buildings soon make way to open countryside as you continue along the Trent and Mersey to Hardings Wood.
Just before Hardings Wood Junction, you’ll cruise through the Harecastle Tunnel, a 1.6-mile-long (2.6 km) canal tunnel on the Trent and Mersey Canal which was once one of the longest tunnels in the country and was built to transport coal to the kilns in the Staffordshire Potteries. The tunnel runs under Harecastle Hill, which is 640 feet (195 m) high and is located near Goldenhill, the highest district in Stoke-on-Trent.
This feat of engineering was designed by James Brindley and built between 1770 and 1777. It was a major project at the time and required the construction of 15 vertical shafts to ventilate the tunnel. The tunnel was initially used to transport coal from the mines in the north of Staffordshire to the potteries in the south. However, it also became an important transportation route for other goods, such as salt, lime, and bricks.
Middlewich is a bustling little market town with a long and rich history. It was founded by the Romans in the 1st century AD, and was known as Salinae, meaning “salt works”. In the 18th century, Middlewich became a major centre for the Industrial Revolution, due to its location on the River Weaver and the canals that were built to connect it to other parts of the country. Now, the town centre is home to a variety of shops, restaurants, and pubs, as well as the Middlewich Heritage Centre, which tells the story of the town’s history.
Once you are on the Bridgewater Canal at Preston Brook, just north of Middlewich, it’s a beautiful open country cruise on this lock-free canal all the way to Lymm.
Lymm is a traditional English village, worth a walk round when you arrive. Take a look at the Town Hall and Lymm Cross, a Grade I listed structure in the centre of the village. The “original cross” can be dated back to the middle 17th Century.
You’ll then return the same way back to your narrowboat hire base at Stoke on Trent.