Coventry Canal Basin
One of the advantages of taking a holiday with Excellence Afloat at Valley Cruises is our central position at the Heart of England – true canal country and home to the newly planted National Forest. From the beautiful base in Coventry Canal Basin with cafes, shops and craft workshops, there is a whole plethora of routes to suit every type of crew. We can offer:
- the ultimate in relaxing breaks - a lock free meander up the tranquil and picturesque Ashby Canal
- a mid range sojourn - along the rural Oxford and Grand Union Canals to Warwick, Banbury or Stoke Bruerne taking in some 20 locks and some fascinating tunnels each way
- an energetic trek around the Warwickshire or Black County Rings, full of contrasting scenery and historical interest, clocking up around one hundred locks
- a steady fortnight’s cruise around the Four Counties or Leicestershire Rings, with beautiful scenery, interesting architecture, rivers, tunnels and locks enough to please everybody
- and many more!
We also have a Warwickshire - Heart of England hirebase.
We've got detailed route descriptions of:
the Ashby Canal
Famous canal landmarks such as the impressive flight of eleven locks at Atherstone, the intriguing paired locks at Hillmorton and the ‘stairway to heaven’ better known as the somewhat intimidating flight of 21 double locks at Hatton (top right), viaducts, aqueducts, bridges, including the follyesque Drayton Manor footbridge, Hawkesbury Junction/ Sutton Stop established in the early 19th Century and a well established meeting place for ‘boat folk’, Braunston Marina (2nd right), not to be missed by any canal romanticist, many tunnels including Braunston Tunnel, the seventh largest on the canal system and Newbold, one of the most magical, Birmingham, boasting more miles of canal than Venice and steeped in canal history with innumerable points of interest for historians and canal enthusiasts alike with the ultra modern Gas Street Basin, Brindleyplace and the Mailbox.
Museums and galleries such as Canal Museum at Stoke Bruerne (right), the Transport Museum at Coventry, Hinckley and District Museum Art Gallery and Museum, Rugby School Museum, Rugby Football Museum, Warwick Museum, Museum of the Jewellery Quarter in Birmingham, The Black Country Museum in Dudley, the contemporary Ikon Gallery in Birmingham, The Coors Visitor Centre in Burton-upon-Trent, the Motor Museum at King's Norton and the five and a half mile Coventry Canal Art Trail.
Sports and concert facilities such as River Drive Snowdrome in Tamworth, the Indoor Arena in Birmingham and the open air swimming pool at Daventry.
Castles and historic buildings such as Tamworth Castle, Coventry Cathedral, Warwick Castle, the Bosworth Battlefield, and several grand houses owned by the National Trust.
Parks, theme parks, zoos and gardens including Bosworth Water Trust offering windsurfing and canoeing, Jephson Gardens in Leamington, Hatton Country World Craft Centre and Rare Breeds Farm, Kingsbury Water Park, Cadbury World at Bourneville, Drayton Manor Theme Park and Zoo and the National Sea Life Centre.
Shopping at such places as the second hand book shops in Atherstone, the enormous indoor market and precinct at Coventry, the Royal Priors upmarket shopping mall in Leamington, and the Bull Ring in Birmingham.
And lots and lots of fantastic canal side pubs, restaurants, bistros and cafes offering tasty and reasonably priced food including our local The Anchor Inn at Atherstone, the famous canal themed Greyhound Pub at Hawkesbury Junction (bottom right), the pretty canal side Rose and Castle at Ansty, the award winning Badsey’s Bistro at Hillmorton, the much recommended Cape of Good Hope at Warwick, the trendy waterside bars and cafes of Brindleyplace in Birmingham and many more.