A total of six canals weave their way through Warwickshire's rolling countryside meandering through industrious towns and peaceful villages. The Grand Union Canal, The Coventry Canal, The Oxford Canal, The Birmingham and Fazeley Canal, The Stratford Canal and The Ashby Canal all have stretches in Warwickshire. The River Avon also flows through the county and it is a combination of canals and river that gives canal boating guests such a diverse choice of cruising options. The Warwickshire Ring takes you through very beautiful countryside with a glimpse into the canals industrial past, cruise through the castle town of Warwick and the Victorian extravaganza of Leamington Spa to the canal areas of Birmingham and Gas Street Basin.
Set on the banks of the River Avon in the beautiful Warwickshire countryside Stratford-upon-Avon is steeped in history and culture and is the birthplace of William Shakespeare. Attend a performance of one of the Bard's plays or take a guided a tour of the Royal Shakespeare Theatre. Visit the Regency town of Royal Leamington Spa browse around the fine shops and take a tour of the Pump Rooms where people have been sampling the water since 1838. The wide boulevards, Georgian and Edwardian architecture and expansive, award-winning parks provide a sophisticated backdrop to this Regency shopping paradise. Visit Warwick Castle which has experienced some of the bloodiest and frightening times in history are you brave enough to visit the dungeons ? Enter the labyrinth of lost soles a scary mirror maze or view close up the implements of torture and execution. The town of Warwick has a great variety of cafés, restaurants and other eateries and a host of antique and secondhand bookshops to explore.
In Coventry you can see the remains of the 14th century cathedral, which was destroyed during World War II. Take a tour of the new cathedral with one of the guides to learn the history of the city's most famous landmark. The Herbert Art Gallery, Midland Air Museum and Coventry Transport Museum are also notable points of interest. The legend of Lady Godiva is very special to Coventry and her very special statueb by Sir William Dick, is located in Broadgate. Coventry was home to Sir Frank Whittle, inventor of the jet engine, so pay a visit the Midland Air Museum to gain inside knowledge about the inventor and the history of the jet engine. For Rugby enthusiasts the Webb Ellis Rugby Football Museum is a small museum located less than 100 yards from where the game began. Traditional rugby ball making methods can be seen and the match ball have been hand stitched here for over 180 years.
Hawkesbury Junction, also referred to as Sutton Stop after the occupants who once lived here, is where the northern section of the Oxford Canal joins the Coventry Canal via one of the tightest turns on the system. Hatton Locks on he Grand Union Canal near Warwick were opened in December 1799. In order to accommodate traders with heavy cargos of coal, sugar, tea and spices up the flight, the locks were widened to 14 feet allowing navigation by industrial boats or two single canal boats.The flight was known as the 'stairway to heaven' due to the difficulty of the flight. Visit Hatton Shopping Village an array of independent shops in a shopping village carved out of Victorian farmyard buildings.
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