The Warwickshire Ring is popular to canal boaters due to its circular route and mixture of beautiful rural landscapes mixed with bustling city life.
You can complete the Warwickshire ring over seven days with some serious cruising (you’ll need to average eight hours a day), or you can kick back at a more leisurely rate over two weeks and enjoy visiting some top historical attractions this part of England has to offer.
Along the Grand Union Canal, not far from our Napton hire base you’ll soon arrive in historic Warwick. A great attraction here, for both grown ups and children alike is Warwick Castle, where you’ll be surrounded by jaw-dropping history, magic, myth and adventure!
The Castle is packed with things to do, inside and out. Explore the battlements, towers, turrets, awesome interiors and the Great Hall, where history comes to life.
Highlights – The Knights Show is bound to be a hit with anyone that has played with toy swords during their childhood, and other shows include the Horrible Histories, The Mighty Trebuchet, Jousting and more.
Getting there – Warwick Castle is situated on the south side of Warwick, next to the River Avon. Moor up on Grand Union Canal and it will take approx. 30 minute on foot.
Further info – www.warwick-castle.com
If you divert off the Warwickshire Ring onto the Stratford upon Avon Canal then you’ll discover some fantastic English heritage sites at this famous home of Shakespeare.
At Shakespeare’s Birthplace you can immerse yourself in the story of the world’s greatest living playwright. This beautifully restored 16th-century half-timbered house situated in Henley Street, Stratford-upon-Avon is where it is believed that William Shakespeare was born in 1564 and spent his childhood years.
Walking through the house, which is all kitted out with period furniture, gives you a real sense of the life and times of Shakespeare and his family. The guides, in period costume, will fill you in on the interesting facts.
Highlights – Watch Shakespeare’s plays being brought to life by the museums actors, Shakespeare Aloud! You can see live performances every day, so join in with the actors and request an excerpt from your favourite play. While you’re here, you may be invited to record a video for the Birthplace blog, Living Shakespeare, where you can hear the stories of visitors from all over the world.
Getting There – Moor along the Stratford upon Avon Canal or the Bancroft Basin. Easy 10 minute (approx.) walk into town.
Further info – www.shakespeare.org.uk
Once through Birmingham you’ll head north to Tamworth, a historic market town on the Birmingham and Fazeley Canal, to where another castle adventure is waiting!
Tamworth Castle allows you to step back in time and experience life in a Medieval Castle. Explore Tudor and Stuart chambers, grand Victorian reception rooms and the magnificent late Medieval Great Hall.
Again, this is a castle that will please both grown ups and kids alike, with plenty to see and even more to do with hands on displays and costumes.
Highlights – Tamworth Castle hosts a fantastic range of lively events and activities for all to enjoy. The programme runs throughout the year and includes ghost events, character living history days, children’s art workshops and re-enactments.
Getting there – Moor up on the east side of Tamworth on the Birmingham and Fazeley Canal, and it will be approx. 30 minute walk to the Castle (situated in the town centre)
Heading back south towards Rugby and our Napton canal boat hire base you can enjoy another small detour down the Coventry Canal and take time out to visit Coventry Cathedral.
This unique attraction features two cathedrals side by side, the ruins of the original Cathedral which dates back over 1,000 years and the new Cathedral which was built in the 1960’s
On the night of 14 November 1940, bombs dropped by the Luftwaffe devastated the city of Coventry. The Cathedral burned with the city, having been hit by several incendiary devices. The remaining ruins are very atmospheric, with high walls leading to an open sky and being situated next door to the new cathedral makes the site profoundly moving.
Highlights – don’t be put off by the idea of a 1960’s building – the new cathedral is awe-inspiring in it’s own right, featuring world class sculpture and art. There is an entrance fee to go in, but the guided tour makes it worth it. Climb to the top of the tower where you’ll be rewarded with a great view of Coventry.
Getting there – the Coventry canal ends to the north of the city. Moor up on the canal side and it’s an approx. 30 min walk to the town center and the cathedral.
Further info – www.coventrycathedral.org.uk