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    How do we find Valley Cruises?

    Valley Cruises now has two bases. If you are in any doubt as to which base your boat leaves from, please phone 02476 393333 or email us. All written correspondence should go to our head office at Excellence Afloat at Valley Cruises, Coventry Canal Basin, St Nicholas Street, Coventry CV1 4LY.

    Coventry Canal

    Some boats are based at the Coventry Canal Basin at the terminus of the Coventry Canal in the very Heart of England (Photo right). It is easily accessible from the the M40, M6, M69 and is well signposted from the Coventry ring road; we are a short taxi ride from Coventry railway station and about 20 minutes by taxi from Birmingham International Airport. Please email us if you require directions. Please email us if you require directions. Click to see Coventry Canal Basin on Google Maps.

    Boats also leave from our Stratford-upon-Avon base at Valley Wharf, Western Road, Stratford-upon-Avon, Warwickshire CV37 0AH. The wharf is just outside of the city centre, Shakespeare's birthplace, on the Stratford-upon-Avon Canal in lovely South Warwickshire. It is next to the Stratford Railway station and about 40 minutes from the nearest Airport, which is Birmingham International Airport. Please email us if you require directions. Click to see Valley Wharf on Google Maps.

    Everything You Ever Wanted To Know About a Canal Hire Break (but were afraid to ask)

    Relax on a canal boat break

    Relax on a canal boat break What types of people enjoy a canal boat break? People of all ages and backgrounds enjoy a holiday aboard our luxury canal boats. Older children and teenagers, in particular, love the level of participation that they have. (Where else would they be able to steer up to 70 ft and 17 tonnes of steel through tunnels and under bridges, or direct hundreds of gallons of water up and down hill?) The boats come in a range of sizes and designs to cater for all kinds of parties from solo boaters, couples and families to large parties of friends. (A unique opportunity for up to ten people to be accommodated together as a group.) Our boats are plush and very well equipped with (almost) all the comforts of home, to appeal to the most discerning of tastes. We have a vast choice of routes available from our marina click here for details of routes and your holiday can be as active or as sedate as you desire. Either way, with a maximum speed of 4 mph, the gentle embrace of the water, the beautiful, natural surroundings and all that fresh air, it will inevitably be a relaxing break.

    Canal Boat holidays are enjoyed by many people with special requirements, or who are less mobile. Click to see our full Access Statement.

    What length of holiday can I have aboard a canal boat? We offer day hire, mid week short breaks (Monday to Friday) or weekend short breaks (Friday to Monday), week long cruises, ten or eleven day cruises and multiple week hire.

    Heart of Midlands

    What is there to do? Being placed in the Heart of the Midlands and with a wealth of routes available click here for details of routes from our marina, our guests are able to enjoy a range of attractions such as famous canal landmarks, museums, sports and concert facilities, castles and historic buildings, parks, theme parks, zoos and gardens, shopping and lots and lots of fantastic canal side pubs (many of which are child and dog friendly), restaurants, bistros and cafes in venues ranging from pretty hamlets and villages to the second largest city in England click here for a list of local attractions . You may prefer to spend most of your time aboard your canal boat, negotiating locks, tunnels, aqueducts and taking in the scenery, historic sights, wildlife and the nuances of other waterway and towpath users, enjoying a rare chance to spend uninterrupted time with friends and family. The canal system is renowned for its camaraderie and many people build up friendships with other boaters that spill over into the local pub or restaurant and last long after the holiday is over.

    Can I cycle and canoe? Cycle hire by the day from daveowencycles@hotmail.co.uk or feel free to bring your own bike or canoe. Remember to include protective matting for our painted roof, a bungee and security locks. You will also need a free permit, available through www.waterscape.com or at the marina.

    Can I fish? Fishing is permitted from the boat with a rod license, available from www.waterscape.com or any Post Office in England and Wales. No live bait please.

    Do I need a boating licence? Our boats are licensed for all British Waterways canals and rivers. You will need to purchase additional licences should you choose to cruise the Upper and Lower Avon Navigations, the River Nene and the River Thames.

    How will I know what to do? We provide full instruction at the start of your holiday . Novice crews will be given extra attention and everyone will have plenty of opportunity to ask questions. We will then accompany you on the start of your cruise to offer further tuition and advice, for as long as you, or we, feel is necessary. Aboard your boat you will find a British Waterways Boater’s DVD and handbook, plus our own Skipper’s Manual, all of which will complement your tuition. Click here to download your free copy of the Boater’s Handbook. (1.2Mb PDF file)

    But if I’m still unsure? Once you are underway you can telephone us anytime for clarification or advice. Also most people that you meet on your way will be happy to lend a hand and the wisdom of their experience. If you are in need of extra assistance we will come and visit you during office hours and, naturally, we are available at any time, day or night, in the event of an emergency.

    Is the water deep? Canals are about four or five feet deep, so most adults, should they have the rare misfortune of falling in, are able to simply stand up and walk out. Locks and marinas are much deeper, so extra care should be taken there.

    Where can I moor overnight? Free moorings are available on the tow path or outside pubs.

    What time should I arrive? The earliest permitted time of arrival at our marina is 2.30pm. Short break hirers take over their boats at 2.30pm and all other hirers at 4pm.

    …And when should I return? You need to be outside our base by 8.30am on the last day of your holiday. One of our members of staff will bring your boat into the marina. We ask that you vacate the boat by 9am so that we can begin the intensive process needed to prepare the boat to the highest standard for its next crew.

    Welcome aboard to Valley Cruises

    What’s aboard? Click here for a full list of equipment

    Bedding - We provide a luxury duvet and two pillows per person, with pillow slips, duvet cover and sheet for each week of your holiday, unless you request otherwise.

    The bathroom – Every boat has at least one shower, many also with bath, and plenty of hot water. The toilets have a flush action and are similar to your own loo at home. Towels – For overseas visitors only, one bath towel and one hand towel per person per week.

    Radio/ CD/cassette - Radio/CD on most boats, some have radio/cassettes.

    TV/DVD - All boats have a colour TV and DVD player aboard.

    Telephone and Video Camera chargers/ Electrical Appliances - 12v cigarette lighter socket provided plus all boats have 240v sockets for charging. We do not, however, recommend that any other electrical appliances are used aboard the boat other than those provided by us

    Safety equipment – There is a first aid kit, fire blanket, fire extinguishers and life ring on every boat.

    …And what else is provided? Your boat will have enough gas (for cooking and heating) and diesel (for fuel) aboard to last two to three weeks. All our boats carry over 100 gallons of fresh water but it is advisable to top up daily from any free water point. We do not recommend that you drink the water from the boat without first boiling it. You may prefer to purchase bottled water for cold drinks, available from the marina. All boats also have a hairdryer and travel iron. We provide buoyancy aids for all under eighteens and anyone else who requests them, free of charge.

    What should I wear? Casual, warm, comfortable clothing is recommended and non slip shoes a must. It’s wise to have wellies and waterproofs too; after all, this is England

    Will I get lost? Unlikely. Canals have very few junctions and most of these are signposted. We do recommend that you buy a guide book (our personal favourites are the informative and entertaining Pearson’s Guides) in order to choose your route, discover local landmarks and history, find out where the water points, winding holes and shops are and plot the location of the all-important pubs. Maps and Guides are available from us by mail order or upon arrival at the marina.

    What about babies? You are welcome to bring the youngest member of the family. For babies up to a year old we recommend that you bring a travel cot. Older little ones can be accommodated in a single berth. We can provide cot sides, but please bring your own waterproof covering for the mattress.

    Everyone is welcome

    …And pets? One of the joys of a canal boat break is that everyone is welcome, including the furry and feathered members of your family. Your pets are most welcome at the cost of £20 per pet payable in cash upon arrival at the marina (more than two pets with permission). Please bring their own bedding and ensure that they stay off of the furniture.

    What about car parking? This is provided free of charge at own risk, with cars locked in after dark.

    How do I book and pay? You can check availability online or by telephone. You can book online, by post or phone and pay online, by cheque in the post or by card over the telephone – whichever suits you best, An initial payment is required at the time of booking and the balance is payable 56 days prior to the start of your holiday. Just click the buttons above for details.



    At least one of each per person – cup, saucer, mug, side plate, dinner plate, soup bowl, cereal bow, mixer glass, wine glass, table knife, dessert knife, table fork, dessert folk, soup spoon, dessert spoon, tea spoon, egg cup, fruit dish, luxury duvet, two pillows, slips, cover and sheet.


    At least one of each per boat – carving knife, bread knife, vegetable knives, potato peeler, potato masher, whisk , fish slice, wooden spoons, ladle, table spoons, slotted spoon, tea strainer, tin opener, kitchen scissors, cork screw, bottle opener, ice cube tray, rolling pin , cheese grater, lemon squeezer, measuring jug, basin, mixing bowl, casserole dish, baking tray, roasting tin, colander, sieve, kettle, saucepans, milk pan, frying pan, splatter guard, toast rack, butter dish, fruit serving bowl, water jug, kettle, tea pot, milk jug, sugar bowl, cafetiere, tray, tea/coffee/sugar canisters, bread board, chopping board, bread bin, salt and pepper pots, ashtrays, vase, waste bin, oven glove, teas cosy, tea towels, fruit bowl, table mats, washing up bowl, drainer, bucket, mop bucket, dust pan and brush, mop, broom, toilet brush, coat hangers, skipper’s manual, boater’s handbook, boater’s DVD, tourist information, bathroom beaker, bath mat, towels (overseas guests), hairdryer, iron, TV, DVD player.


    With our compliments - fresh flowers, fine wine, chocolates, exotic teas and coffees, bathroom pamper hamper, guest soap, toilet tissue, matches, washing up liquid, washing up brush, sponge scourer, Brillo pad, dish cloth, floor, cloth, duster, abrasive cleaner, window cleaner, furniture polish, bin liner and refuse sack.

    Hardware - boarding plank, pole, hook, lock keys, mooring spikes, hammer, hose, life ring, ropes, doormats, B.W. key, fire extinguishers, fire blanket, first aid kit, buoyancy aids on request.


    • 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