A Great Day Out

The Grand Union Canal

Dug over 200 years ago by the original 'navvies' (short for 'navigators'), the Grand Union Canal was the main commercial lifeline between London and the Midlands before the development of the railways.

Commercial traffic has now virtually ceased leaving the canals as a fascinating network of over 2000 miles of inland leisure waterways.

The Boat Inn is situated by the Top Lock of the seven locks at Stoke Bruerne and a short walk leads to Blisworth Tunnel.

The Blisworth Tunnel

Take a gentle stroll alongside the Grand Union Canal, through the lush fields and wide bridleways that connect the two pretty Northamptonshire villages of Stoke Bruerne and Blisworth. But beneath your feet, ghosts are said to haunt the dark tunnel under the hill.

At 3,076 yards (1¾ miles), Blisworth Tunnel is the longest continous open-bore canal tunnel in the UK. Construction was started in 1793 in order to link London to the industrial Midlands through a chain of navigable waterways. The tunnel has a harrowing history, with many tragic events as it was built. Even today, boat users report strange lights in the gloom and cries of workers lost during the construction.

Lock Flight

Situated on the canalside, watch a lock system in operation as around 50,000 gallons of water is used to raise and lower narrowboats in order for them to navigate the waterways.

Nature Reserve

Formerly homne to a brickworks built for the purpose of manufacturing bricks for the Blisworth Tunnel, the nature reserve wildlands are reserved for the natural world. Wander down the towpath towards bottom lock to find the nature reserve.

Woodland Walk

Walk up towards the Blisworth Tunnel mouth, veer off the towpath and into the woodland walk, where you can witness a great range of sculptures and scenery. The walk continues onward from Boathorse Road near the tunnel mouth.

The Canal Museum

On the opposite side of the canal from the Boat Inn is the famous Canal Museum which holds a fascinating collection showing the 200 year history of the canals and the living conditions of the families who spent their lives working them.

There are three floors of displays, working models, costumes and photographs and a full size replica of a narrowboat back cabin which was the home of the working boatman and his family.

The museum has a collection of canal artefacts arranged on the green beside the well stocked gift and book shop and is normally home to one or more traditional working narrowboats from the National Collection.

Fireborn Forge

Situated next to the Blisworth Tunnel Mouth in a converted tug store is a local Blacksmith. Take a walk along the tow path and visit the blacksmith’s workshop.

Rookery Open Farm

Situated on Rookery Lane as you come down the hill into Stoke Bruerne from the A508.
A great time to be had by everyone, down on the farm!

Stoke Bruerne Boat Company

Running frequent trips to the tunnel mouth and beyond. Take a trip on Narrowboat Charlie, situated outside the Museum on the other side of the canal.


The Boat Inn
Bridge Road, Stoke Bruerne,
NR Towcester, Northants,
NN12 7SB
United Kingdom