Spotlight on Tardebigge
Anglo Welsh’s canal boat hire base at Tardebigge on the Worcester & Birmingham Canal near Bromsgrove offers narrowboat holiday-makers the chance to explore some of the most beautiful parts of the West Midlands - including the Forest of Arden, Shakespeare country, Tolkein country and the River Severn Valley. It also offers boaters the option to travel right into the heart of Birmingham - Britain’s vibrant second city with more canals than Venice.
Jonathan Nowell, Anglo Welsh’s manager at Tardebigge, says, “Our Tardebigge base enjoys an idyllic rural setting and is the perfect place to start a leisurely cruise around some of the gorgeous countryside to be found in the Heart of England.
“Perhaps the most popular route for beginners from Tardebigge is to take a short break and travel into Birmingham and back. There are no locks between here and the centre of Birmingham and it takes just five hours to potter along the Worcester & Birmingham Canal to moorings in Gas Street Basin, close to Brindleyplace and a host of exciting City centre attractions.
“And along the way, boaters pass Cadbury World in the historic village of Bournville, where visitors can find out how chocolate is made and explore the World’s biggest Cadbury Shop!
“Narrowboating newcomers wanting a more rural experience can connect onto the Stratford Canal at Kings Norton Junction and travel to the pretty canal village of Lapworth and back – which takes around 14 hours in total, again with no locks.
“Another popular short break route is to travel into Birmingham to visit the Black Country Museum, often used as a film set for the BBC’s Peaky Blinders. Here visitors can step back in time where the world’s first industrial landscape emerged and meet costumed characters, explore period shops and houses, enjoy a fair ground ride, take a 1912 school lesson, eat traditional fish & chips and visit the Bottle & Glass Inn.
“From Tardebigge, more experienced boaters on longer breaks can enjoy there-and-back cruises to Stratford upon Avon, Warwick or Worcester. Shakespeare’s Stratford is probably our most popular destination for people on a week’s canal barge holiday from here. The journey takes boaters along the beautiful Stratford Canal with its distinctive barrel-roofed cottages, peaceful countryside and fantastic choice of canalside pubs – including the Fleur de Lys at Lowsonford, which is famous for its homemade pies.
“There’s also a choice of circuits to navigate from Tardebigge, including the popular Stourport Ring, which can be done in a week and involves travelling 74 miles, through 118 locks, passing through Birmingham, Wolverhampton, Stourport and the lovely Cathedral City of Worcester.
“As part of this journey, boaters get to tackle the mighty Tardebigge flight of 30 locks – the longest in the country. The locks are spread out over two and a quarter miles and allow boats to ascend or descend 67 metres in height. To recognise this major waterway landmark, the Canal & River Trust offers a certificate to boaters who complete their passage through the flight.
“On this route, narrowboat holiday-makers also have the option of taking a short cut along the newly restored Droitwich canals and experience narrow locks, staircase locks, wide beam locks and swing bridges all in a single seven-mile stretch.
“Luxury canal boat hire options here at Tardebigge include the 65ft long four-berth Constellation Class ‘Hydra’, and the 67ft six-berth Bond Class ‘Braithwaite’ – both of which have semi-traditional sterns, two shower rooms with toilets, plus two cabins which can be configured as a double bed or two single beds. In its spacious saloon, ‘Braithwaite’ also has a bench seat and table which can be converted into either a double or two singles in the evening.”
To book a holiday or break on any of Anglo Welsh’s fleet, call our friendly booking team on 0117 304 1122.