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Canal Trip Anyone? Dos and Don’ts

Living in the centre of the UK, we don’t often get to the seaside, but we can get to water! We took ourselves off for a day trip recently on the Stratford on Avon canal.

The Boat

We hired “Happy Valley”, a day boat from Lyons Boatyard. The deal is you have it from 9.00am to 5.00pm. So, on arrival, Andy showed us how it all worked and told us what we needed to know.

He assured us it was unlikely we would get any problems, but that we should be aware of what to do if the propellor got tangled in weeds. Or if we ran aground! Apparently the canal is really shallow and if you do fall in then the chances are the water will only come up to your waist! All very reassuring for novices.

We aren’t complete novices having had a week on the Thames a few years ago, and a holiday on the Abergavenny canal about 20 years previously! I still have memories of that holiday and will share them in another post!

Canal Trip Anyone? Wildlife
Canal Trip Anyone? Heading under the road bridge

The Route

There are three different routes you can do in the time you have the boat. We had planned to do Route 1 which goes into the centre of Birmingham.

Having looked us up and down Andy persuaded us that Route 2 might be more suitable for us. It is a meander through the pretty north Worcestershire countryside. There are no locks to navigate and two turning places so you can decide how long you want to be cruising and how long you want to be in the pub! After much debate we decided to cruise on to the second turning point.

At one point I had to jump off the boat to operate a drawbridge! We stopped for a picnic on the way back. Also, we were incredibly lucky with the weather too as it was a lovely sunny day.

Dos and Don'ts

We had a great time and will definitely do another canal trip! There are things we will do better or differently next time though!

Do

  • take a picnic in case you run out of time to get to the pub
  • remember some coffee/tea/water etc., so you can have a drink or two during the day
  • wear plenty of layers, it can be colder on the water than on land
  • listen to Andy’s instructions
  • relax and enjoy the scenery

Don’t

  • try and have important telephone conversations along the way (we were in the process of buying a house)
  • be late back, it will cost you £25 per each 15 minutes past 5pm
  • upset the moored boats by going past them too fast
  • worry if you forget your picnic, there is a bakery en-route
  • forget your decent ‘wildlife’ camera as your phone will run out of battery taking all the amazing wildlife you will see along the way
Canal Trip Anyone? Wildlife

Have you been on a canal trip? We’d love to hear about it through Facebook or Twitter

8th July 2019

Posted In: Things to do, Warwickshire

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Alternative Things to do in Stratford That Are Not About Shakespeare

When searching for things to do in Stratford, it is difficult to find things that aren’t to do with Shakespeare.

We have come up with two things to do that don’t mention the great man and one thing to do that is part of the Shakespeare story, but has only been open a few months and if you don’t live in the town you may not be aware of it. There are also three Treasure Trails around Stratford upon Avon to try as well. 

Alternative Things to do in Stratford That Are Not About Shakespeare

Go Mad

Our favourite fun attraction in Stratford is the MAD Museum. Whilst it is billed as a museum, it's more like a fun factory with a whole variety of working exhibits. MAD stands for Mechanical Art and Design and it is the only specialist attraction of its kind in the UK - quite a claim to fame.

With over 60 pieces of kinetic art and automata, the museum has buttons to press, handles to turn, lights, colour and weird sounds for the kids to muck about on. It has gorgeous handcrafted pieces of imaginative art to admire for the grownups. In a town renowned for its Shakespearean links, it's great fun to find something else to enjoy there. We loved it and the friends we recommended went to it did too. They said, “we loved the Mad museum, as did M & D. So thank you for telling us about it, we all had lots of fun in it, amazing!”

Walk it off

Chatting to a local recently, they told us they had never walked along the canal in Stratford upon Avon. We were really surprised which is why we’ve included a walk along the tow path as one of our hidden treasures.

The Stratford-upon-Avon canal connects the Worcester and Birmingham Canal at Kings Norton to the River Avon at Stratford-upon-Avon. Along the 25.5-mile (41 km) route of the canal, there are a total of 54 narrow locks and lots of pretty Warwickshire villages. Self drive day hire canal boats are a great way to get some fresh air with friends or family. To do the whole canal at Stratford you would need two to three days. Definitely one for our bucket list. 

But back to walking - the whole canal tow path route can be walked although we think walking there and back could be a stretch too far! You can also cycle the section from Stratford to Wilmcote if that’s your preferred method of travel - and best of all, its impossible to get lost when walking along a canal!

Alternative Things to do in Stratford That Are Not About Shakespeare
Alternative Things to do in Stratford That Are Not About Shakespeare

Newest Stratford Attraction

We must admit we haven’t actually been into Shakespeare’s Schoolroom and Guildhall, but when fixing a broken clue in the town we came across it and had a long conversation with the gentleman on the door about this latest attraction. He told us it provides the opportunity to visit rarely-seen places of Shakespeare’s early life, and provides the missing chapter in the story of his time in Stratford: his education and his inspiration. Be careful how you ‘sell’ the idea of a visit to children. Whilst exploring the classroom where he studied between the ages of 7 and 14 might be interesting, trying out some Tudor homework and taking part in a live Tudor lesson under the watchful eye of a ‘master’ might not be their idea of a fun thing to do! 

Of course you could just do the Shakespeare’s Stratford Trail and just walk past it like I did!

19th August 2016

Posted In: Warwickshire

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