If you want to soak up some culture on your narrowboat holiday in the UK, then head to the birthplace of the renowned playwright, William Shakespeare, via the Stratford upon Avon Canal.
Starting from our Napton canal boat hire base in Warwickshire you can cruise along the Grand Union Canal through Warwick to reach the Stratford upon Avon Canal.
Perfect for couples boating holidays or family canal boat holidays, this route is challenging but hugely enjoyable, with a perfect mix of countryside cruising and historic town stops.
Allow yourself a relaxing seven-night break (or longer) to appreciate the cruise through this beautiful stretch of Warwickshire countryside
Events in Stratford-Upon-Avon
Shakespeare’s England (shakespeares-england.co.uk) will celebrate his legacy with a range of exciting new exhibitions and events including a new immersive theatrical experience at the Royal Shakespeare Company; a reimagining of Shakespeare’s final home, New Place, and Shakespeare’s Schoolroom will open for the first time to the general public.
The Shakespeare Birthplace Trust is transforming New Place, the site of Shakespeare’s family home in Stratford-upon-Avon for the last 19 years of his adult life, to create a new heritage landmark where visitors can discover Shakespeare at the height of his success. The re-imagination of this unique site will be the single most significant Shakespearian project anywhere in the world to commemorate his legacy.
Visitors will be able to walk in Shakespeare’s footsteps through a new threshold on the site of his gatehouse and trace the footprint of his family home in a contemporary landscape setting. Commissioned artworks and displays will evoke a sense of family life and the 26 major works written during Shakespeare’s ownership of New Place. A new exhibition will throw light on Shakespeare the family man, homeowner and successful entrepreneur, featuring rare and important artifacts relating to his life at New Place, many of them on display for the first time.
From the canal to the theatre
The Royal Shakespeare Company (RSC)’s season includes productions of A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Hamlet, Cymbeline, Doctor Faustus, Don Quixote and The Alchemist. A major new exhibition, The Play’s The Thing, will open in June in The Swan Theatre front of house areas. It will celebrate the magic of Shakespeare on stage and reveal the secrets and stories from 100 years of theatre-making in Stratford-upon-Avon.
The Stratford-Upon-Avon Canal
The Stratford-upon-Avon canal connects the Worcester and Birmingham Canal at Kings Norton to the River Avon at Stratford-upon-Avon in Warwickshire. It consists of two sections, divided by a junction that connects it to the Grand Union Canal.
Head south from the Grand Union at Kingswood Junction to go onto the South Stratford canal which heads directly to Stratford-Upon-Avon via Wooten Wawen. This route is memorable for its split bridges, built with a gap to allow the tow ropes of the boat horses to pass through, and its unique barrel-roofed lock cottages.
The charming conservation area of Wootton Wawen has many ancient timber-frames houses. Nearby is Edstone, or Bearley, Aqueduct, with its cast-iron trough.
Just before Stratford, the canal passes through the tiny village of Wilmcote, where you can stop and visit Mary Arden’s house. The historic half-timbered Tudor farmhouse was home to Shakespeare’s mother before she was married.
The South Stratford canal makes for fairly easy cruising, with occasional locks until you reach the Wilmcote flight of eleven locks just before Stratford-upon-Avon.
The canal joins the River Avon at the Bancroft Basin in Stratford-upon-Avon, where a pretty park and waterfront paths are overlooked by the famous Royal Shakespeare Theatre. You can moor along the Stratford upon Avon Canal or the Bancroft Basin which then gives you an easy 10 minute (approx.) walk into town.
Find out more at www.shakespeares-england.co.uk