I hope you will find the following a useful insight to the route down to Stratford Upon Avon, where you should expect to be each night and roughly how long your cruising day will be. Having travelled along the Stratford canal twice in the last few months I have thoroughly enjoyed this route and would
recommend it to all our hirers. The down side of the route is having to do Hatton locks not once but twice, however that’s all part of the fun of the British waterways.
On collection of the boat from Kate Boats Warwick base, you are given a show through of the boat and a demonstration of how to handle your fine vessel. After that if you are non-experienced we will take you to the first lock (Cape Lock 1) and show you all the mechanics and theory of how to operate the lock, ensuring you are fully comfortable with doing them on your own. Then there is only then one more lock and you arrive at The Cape of Good Hope, a lovely canal side pub that serves good value pub grub. If I personally was taking the boat out I would stop around this area so that I could get myself settled in to the boat and get a good evenings rest, ready for an early start in the morning.,
On day two you will have to tackle the Hatton flight for the first time; this involves 21 locks in a continuous line. It takes roughly 3 ½ hours on your first attempt and is always easier when you have doubled up with another boat. Be aware that the Hatton Flight is hard work and must be taken on full guns blazing; I would advise that you bring a pair of working gloves to save your hands from
blisters. Setting off at about 10am will get you to the top of Hatton flight at roughly 1pm. With the hard parts over it’s a brilliant time to stop for lunch. At the top of Hatton there is an idyllic little canal side café looking out on to the locks, where you can enjoy the looks on people’s faces as they start or complete the flight. After a little rest continue cruising on the Grand Union, It’s roughly an hour and a half of country side to enjoy before you hit your next lock at the Kingswood junction, this also includes a 10 minute trip through the Shrewley Tunnel, an amazing experience, particulary when you realise how these tunnels were built. Keep your eyes open for the turn, and then after navigating your way round the Kingswood Junction (which I have got stuck getting round) you are on the South Stratford heading towards Stratford town. Continue you cruising for another 3 hours through 9 locks (stopping between locks 30 – 31) and it bring you to the pleasant
Warwickshire village of Lowsonford. The village pub is a traditional unspoilt 17th Century country pub offering famous Fleur de Lys pies, low ceilings with oak beams, open fires, real ales and pub games help to create a cosy and relaxed atmosphere, while the pub’s very own ghost keeps things a little more exciting!
After a good nights rest it’s on with you cruising towards Wilmcote Its roughly a 4 1/3 hour trip to Wilmcote where they have a winding hole. It involves 8 narrow locks so you can enjoy the slow life and take in all the country side. Stopping near bridge 59 gives you good access to the train station and in to Wilmcote, where Mary Arden’s house is. If you want to minimise the locks that you have to do you can stop here and avoid the Wilmcote flight and another 3 hours work. There is a bus/ train available to catch for the area that take you in to Stratford, also avoids the hustle and bustle of getting in and out of the Stratford Basin.
However on if you’re looking for a bit more activity on you holiday then travelling on to the the Stratford basin would be more your kind of thing. So once leaving Lowsonford on Monday morning continue your cruising down towards the basin. It will take roughly 8 hours to complete and will take you through 22 narrow locks. After finding a nice place to moor you boat you can then take in the town and maybe even book tickets for the theatre.
And back again
This trip leaves you a day in Stratford Upon Avon to enjoy The Shakespeare Country, starting to head for home on the Wednesday. We’ll leave you to plan your own trip back to Kate Boats.