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  • Short Break Routes

    Short Breaks and Suggested Itineraries

    Short break canal boat cruising hire

    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 surrounded by a vast choice of routes.

    This applies equally to short breaks. There really is something for everyone. Here are a few ideas.

    The ultimate relaxing weekend cruising break – The Ashby Canal

    Day one – Along the Coventry Canal to the sharp right hand turn of Marston Junction, which will see you on to the beautiful and tranquil Ashby Canal. Cruise into the evening to make it to bridge 31 at Dadlington which boasts a wonderful 18th century inn, The Dog and Hedgehog. The food is of such renown that you will probably have to book in order to get a served a meal (01455 213 151).

    Day two – Make an early start today. A short distance on finds you at Hinckley, the only town on the Ashby. From bridge 16 it is a short walk to the local store with cash point. Take a break midday. You could spend time at Sutton Cheney Wharf, just after bridge 34, where you can watch the colourful trip boats, have a light meal in the café, browsing in the shop or enjoying a canal side picnic. You could moor just after bridge 35 at King Richard’s Field and relive history by exploring the Bosworth Battlefield Country Park. You could stop at the preserved Shenton Station, visit the Railway Pottery and catch a steam train for the historic five mile journey to Shackerstone Station and back. Alternatively you could moor walk east into Market Bosworth, a beautiful, well preserved town with many historical buildings and some lovely places to eat, largely clustered around the old cobbled market place, a conservation area. In the afternoon enjoy the canal at its most rural, dodging round tiny at Boswoth Wharf, where you can make the mile villages, passing over aqueducts and navigating the leafy tunnel of Gopsall Woods, a designated Site of Special Scientific Interest, mainly because of the aquatic plant life and varieties of dragonfly attracted to the area. Pass through Snarestone Tunnel and go on to the terminus, a remote winding hole. Depending on how much daylight you have left, and how the mood takes you, you can spend a peaceful night here, head back to the newly refurbished restaurant of The Globe Pub in the quiet village of Snarestone (01530 270272), The Rising Sun in unspoiled Shackerstone (01827 880215) or the trendy Horse and Jockey in Congerstone (01827 880319).

    Day three – The nearer the terminus you spent the evening, the earlier your start needs to be, for the aim is to be at Hinckley for a late lunch at the large Brewer’s Fayre Restaurant (01455 636493), which has terraces overlooking the canal beside the lovely Trinity marina, where you can browse the boats for sale. Spend a leisurely afternoon meandering back to Marston Junction then back to the Greyhound Inn at Hawkesbury Junction (a very popular canalside pub – it may be wise to book in advance - (02476 363046)) for your last night aboard.

    Day four - Set off at 7am to reach our marina by 8.30.

    A moderate four night short break - North Oxford Canal to Norton Junction and Back

    Day One - Along the Coventry Canal as far as the historic Hawkesbury Junction with its popular canal side pub, The Greyhound, which offers traditional 'pub grub' and lots of canal side conversation. You may need to book (02476 363046) and, sorry, but no children after 7pm.

    Day Two - Make an early start and continue your cruise along the North Oxford Canal, negotiating your first lock "Hawkesbury Deep" so named because it is all of 4 inches in depth! Stop for lunch at Rugby, home of Rugby football and continue through the 3 locks at Hillmorton to the very famous Braunston Junction. Turn left into Braunston marina, described by Michael Pearson in his indispensable canal guides as as "a point of pilgrimage which has captured the imagination of waterway writers, artists and photographers more than almost any other canal location". Spend the evening in pretty Braunston Village with its choice of places to eat.

    Day Three - Continue towards Norton, a truly fascinating stretch of water. You begin with six locks followed by a 2042 yard tunnel (the seventh longest in the canal network) and some subterranean and remote scenery. At Norton Junction, turn around and enjoy it all again in reverse as you make your way back to Braunston. Cruise back along the Oxford Canal until dark. If you make it as far as Hillmorton you can eat at Badseys Bistro (01788 553562), voted Britain's best canal side restaurant.

    Day Four - Back through Rugby, Newbold Tunnel and Stretton Stop for a late lunch at Ansty Rose and Castle canal side pub (024 7661 2822). A leisurely afternoon’s cruise will bring you to Hawkesbury Junction and back to the Coventry Canal Basin. Spend your last night dining out or enjoying the night life in Coventry. Make time to tell us about your experiences and any hostelries you would recommend, before leaving the following morning.

    An energetic four night short break (with lots of pubs) – Coventry Canal to Hopwas

    Day One - From the canal basin, travel approximately 5 miles, under the M6, and arrive at the first of many excellent canal side pubs, providing hospitality to generations of canal users, The Greyhound.

    Day Two - Continue NW through Atherstone’s first five locks and stop here where you can enjoy the canal side King’s Head pub then on through the remaining six locks at Atherstone, through some of the loveliest scenery the Coventry has to offer and on to the two further locks at Glascote. It is then just a short distance to Fazeley Junction where you can top up on supplies at a couple of supermarkets.

    Day Three - Head back along the Coventry Canal and spend the day negotiating the locks and enjoying the sights and sounds on the canal. By the evening you and your crew will have built up quite an appetite (and thirst) ready for the Anchor Inn near bridge 29.

    Day Four – A gentle day’s cruise towards the canal basin, spending your last night at the Greyhound again at Hawkesbury Junction or continue on to the Canal basin and spend your last night in Coventry.

    Day Five - You will be greeted at 8.30 in the morning by our friendly staff and you have to wave a sad goodbye to your boat. Have a safe journey and we hope to see you again.

    A moderate week’s canal boat cruise (with lots for the kids to do) – Birmingham and Fazeley to Curdworth/ Coventry to Fradley

    Day One - From the canal basin, travel approximately 5 miles, under the M6, and arrive at the first of many excellent canal side pubs, providing hospitality to generations of canal users, The Greyhound.

    Day Two - Cruise NW for an energetic day, starting with Atherstone's eleven locks, to Polesworth. This will take approximately four hours. Polesworth is a small town but has several pubs and restaurants if you wish to stop for lunch. Continue cruising for an hour to the large town of Tamworth and moor near bridge 73. Walk into town to find a castle and museum (01827 7096626), an indoor ski slope with real snow (0870 000011) and lots of places to eat including a bistro, Italian, Indian and several pubs.

    Day Three - Carry on the short distance to Fazeley Junction where you can purchase a cooked breakfast and there are also a couple of supermarkets. Turn left onto the Birmingham and Fazeley Canal as far as the intriguing Drayton Foot Bridge and spend the day at Drayton Manor Theme Park (01827 287979). From here continue towards Curdworth. Pass through the three bottom locks and moor up and bridge 9 to enjoy dinner at the Dog and Doublet Inn 01827 872374).

    Day Four - Seven more locks and a trip under the M6 toll road will see you climbing all the way to Cudworth. Here there is a short tunnel. Continue to the turning point after Wigginshill Road Bridge. Turn here and moor nearby. A good walk will take you to the river Tame with its grand 6 arch bridge. Stock up on provisions in Minworth and cook aboard or visit the Boat pub (0121 240 9696) for your evening meal.

    Day Five - Start your return journey back through the tunnel and the locks to Bodymoor Heath. Moor above the bottom lock and choose between the 600 acre Water Park with miniature railway, cycle hire and gift shop (01827 284646), the Children's Farm 01827 873844), the nature reserve or Middleton Hall and Craft Centre (01827 283095). End the day at Fazeley Junction, mooring up near Watling Street and a choice of Indian, Chinese or pub cuisine

    Day Six - Turn right at Fazeley junction will see you back on the Coventry Canal. Pass through Tamworth and spend a short time at Alvecote, enjoying the nature reserve and the mystical ruins of the 12th Century priory. Returned up through Atherstone Locks and continue for another hour until you reach the Anchor Inn at bridge 29 (024 76398839), where the food is plentiful and cheap.

    Day Seven - A leisurely aday’s cruise will bring you to Hawkesbury Junction and back to the Coventry Canal Basin. Spend your last night dining out or enjoying the night life in Coventry. Make time to tell us about your experiences and any hostelries you would recommend, before saying your farewells the following morning.

    Ashby Canal Coventry Canal Oxford Canal Black Country Ring Four Counties Ring Leicestershire Ring Warwickshire Ring Short Break Routes Avon Ring Visit Warwick Stoke Bruerne Birmingham Loop A Leisurely 2 Week River Trip

    * Coventry Canal Basin -     Stratford upon Avon -  

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    • Excellence Afloat at Valley Cruises Coventry Canal Basin
      Coventry Canal Basin, St Nicholas Street
      Coventry CV1 4LY
      Phone: 024 76 393333
      Fax: 024 76 393928

      Excellence Afloat at Valley Cruises Stratford upon Avon
      Valley Wharf, Western Road
      Stratford upon Avon, Warwickshire CV37 0AH
      Phone: 024 7639 3333

    • Email: enquiries@valleycruises.co.uk