Drayton Manor is a well-established theme park located in Fazeley, just outside the town of Tamworth. The park is home to a variety of exciting attractions with roller coasters, zoo and Thomas Land and to perhaps underline its popularity, welcomes about 1.5 million people each year.
Normally a day here is planned for those wanting a day’s rest when on cruising the Warwickshire Ring (that route is described in other LNBP suggested routes and maybe aimed at the older clients aged 11-12 and upwards). This trip could be completed by younger people as the number of locks drops from approx. 100 to around 18 each way (This trip is not circular like the Warwickshire Ring but a ‘there and back’ trip).
So lets look first at how we get there!
Leaving our mooring at Braunston, we head towards the Braunston Turn and continue northwards on the Oxford Canal.
Here we get to enjoy some seven miles of cruising in open countryside before you arrive at the descent of Hillmorton Locks, a flight of three locks. Officially The Busiest Flight of Locks in the Country, these locks are single locks (only one boat to use them at a time) but at each stage there is another lock on the same level aimed at increasing the rate of boats that go through them.
Another two miles before you reach the outskirts of Rugby as the canal passes the northern side of the town. Mooring is difficult here due simple to the lack of moorings available, the available spaces are taken quickly or other sections of the tow path do not allow mooring otherwise they are reserved for long term permit holders.
The next couple of miles is spent passing through Rugby and into Newbold and the 250 yard Newbold tunnel.
After the tunnel, four miles of additional cruising brings you to Stretton Stop. A small swing bridge crosses the canal and heading for Tamworth, a small chandlers shop on the left offers that welcome ice cream amongst other urgent groceries.
Another six miles onwards and we will reach the Hawkesbury Junction where the Oxford Canal finishes and we enter the Coventry Canal. Here is a lock with no ascent or decent, this was simply a stop lock aimed at both former canals preserving their own water. This is also a chance to practice your ability to control the boat as you have to do a 180 degree hairpin turn. It can be done without touching the sides so there are no excuses!
North now onto the Coventry Canal, some six miles to the junction with the Ashby Canal, you are now cruising through a mixture of rural and post mining industrial Warwickshire as the canal skirts the towns of Bedworth, bisects Nuneaton and eventually leads to the town of Atherstone.
Some eight miles after passing the Ashby Canal, we reach the top lock at Atherstone. Approximately one and a half miles further along and the canal will descend the 11 locks of the Atherstone Flight.
Another three miles on and we reach the tricky section of the canal with blind bends as we again bisect another Warwickshire village, this time Polesworth. We cruise another two miles of Warwickshire countryside before crossing the county border and entering Staffordshire and the outskirts of Tamworth. A further three miles and three locks here as you cruise through Tamworth before reaching Fradley Junction and a left turn onto yet another canal, this time the Birmingham and Fazeley Canal.
Only a few hundred yards left now. Having turned left at the junction, your ideal mooring is about 400 yards away between the junction and Fazeley Marina. Immediately after the marina is a watering point. After the watering point is a bridge, under the bridge and you can wind the boat (turn it around to face the other way!).
As mentioned, the moorings here leave you with about a five minute walk to the theme park. Destination reached!
Braunston to Fazeley normally takes half a day, plus a day plus half a day (this is normally due to the pick up time of the boat). This route needs a minimum of 5 nights, ideally it is suitable for a seven night booking with added time on return to Braunston to continue to Norton and experience the 1800 metre Braunston Tunnel.
When moored at Fazeley, within 400 yards are tasty fast food outlets including fish and chips, Indian and Chinese food plus a Tesco Metro. Within a 15 minute walk is a large retail park including Asda.
Consider another day in the Tamworth area with a visit to the Tamworth Snowdome. An indoor centre with real snow for ski-ing or sledging, an ice rink and indoor pool all under the one roof. Bus and rail services are also available from Tamworth to Birmingham which is a short distance away.
At some stage on your boat hire, you will need to pump out the toilets. LNBP have enjoyed a good relationship with Fazeley Marina, they have a shower block for residents but have allowed LNBP boats to use the showers for a nominal fee.
It is useful to note for your planning that Drayton Manor also offers discounts for groups. More information can be found here
LNBP Booking Officer, Nigel Smith will happily discuss further points of this cruise if you wish. Why not speak to him about this route and our many others available, and booking your community group or organisation or school with a residential trip or holiday with us.
Contact Nigel by calling on 07967 406875 or email at firstname.lastname@example.org