Stratford's Only Canal & River Boat Trip


Tour Timing & Information

For more detailed information please click here.

Our first tour departs between 11:00 and 11:15am with subsequent tours departing approximately every hour thereafter. The last tour departs at around 4:15pm. We can arrange earlier and later tours if sufficient numbers of passengers request them and also private hire. We cannot give exact tour times due to other boat traffic using the canal lock and there is a small chance you may incur a short delay if the canal lock is busy on the day. These delays are rare and usually very minimal at around 10-15 minutes, the time it takes a boat to negotiate the lock. Please allow time for this if you are on a very tight schedule.

Stratford upon Avon's Historic Canal Basin

Discover the beating heart of Stratford's Industrial past

Stratford's Historic Canal Basin
Stratford's Historic Canal Basin
Stratford's Historic Canal Basin

This is certainly the most beautiful and picturesque part of Stratford. It has open public areas by the water to relax and enjoy,  located between the main theatres and shopping areas, being a just a 'stones throw' away from both.  As well as great place to start sightseeing, there are many good options for food and refreshment. Why not try a freshly made baguette followed by coffee and ice cream, all of which can be purchased from the various canal barges that now trade as unique and imaginative food outlets!

History of the Canal

In 1816 a 25-mile long canal had reached Stratford from Birmingham. It forged a link between Birmingham and the Black Country to Stratford. Coal supplies and industrial goods could then be brought here taking a minimum of 2 to 3 days on barges.

As the canal joined the River Avon, a huge variety of goods could be brought back and forth from the far reaches of the world via the sea-port of Bristol. The canal wharfs at Stratford were a hive of activity. They lined 2 large canal basins and the banks of the River Avon.

The original canal basin remains to this day, the other was filled in to form Bancroft Gardens, the area in front of The RST.  Find out more here from the Canal and River Trust .

Today, thousands of local families and visitors from all over the world flock here to enjoy our beautiful open spaces including all the joys the water has to offer. 

Boat Tickets, Ice Creams and Coffee at Shakee's Ice Cream Barge

Shakee's Ice Cream Barge

Award winning, locally produced soft ice cream. Have them with or without the Swirls!

We also sell ice cold slush and a selection of hot & cold drinks.

We serve the best coffee in Stratford - specially blended by a local friend and expert who has worked for some of top chefs in the UK including Rick Stein!. We also sell hot tea and a variety of snacks.

P.S. You can book your boat tour tickets here too!

The Baguette Barge

The Baguette Barge

Our baguettes are freshly baked throughout the day and all our sandwiches and baguettes are made to order from quality local ingredients.

Why not try one of our Bistro Boxes or Gourmet Hot Dogs from the Captain's Menu or perhaps A Little Stowaway's Meal for the kids, including half a baguette, raisins, juice and a packet of crisps.