Where can we go in a week? Easy canal cruises from Gailey Wharf

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Our base at Gailey Wharf is centrally located on the northern section of the historic Staffordshire and Worcester Canal in the rural English Midlands. This is your embarkation point for canal cruises to suit a variety of narrowboat holidays for all the family.

This early canal forms part of the Four Counties ring – Gailey is at the 5 o’clock position – and the Black Country or Staffordshire ring – Gailey is at the 10 o’clock position.

But if you’re short of time, or just want to take it slow, you can embark on many easier canal cruises from here as well.

Gailey Wharf in Staffordshire is located on the Staffordshire and Worcester Canal, and provides a convenient starting point for narrowboat holidays in the region. From here, you can explore the scenic waterways of the English Midlands, including:

The picturesque Shropshire Union Canal

The southwestern corner of the well advertised Four Counties ring is virtually lock-free from Gailey. Cruise down to Autherley Junction where the Shroppie meets the Staffs and Worcester and up through picturesque Staffordshire and Shropshire countryside to Tyrley locks. OK, so there’s a small stop-lock at Autherley, but for the laziest of canal cruises and great summer pub-crawls, this is the route for you! Follow what we did September 2019 in our blog.

The Historic Trent and Mersey canal

North from Gailey through the locks to Penkridge and on to Great Haywood, the Staffs and Worcs’ junction with the T&M.

This canal is known for its historic locks and tunnels, and passes through the towns of Stone and Kidsgrove.

Turn left for Stoke-on-Trent for the Potteries and a visit to the Wedgwood ceramics museum, or right for Shugborough Hall and country views down to Rugeley. Fradley junction is a very popular spot for canal cruises and the medieval City of Lichfield is a short bus ride away.

Canal Arms and Branches

The Caldon Canal is an arm of the Trent and Mersey Canal linking Etruria with the market town of Froghall in the Staffordshire moorlands. Take in the Staffordshire china pottery museums and the Churnet Valley steam railway.

The Coventry Canal: This canal offers a rural route through Warwickshire, with stops at the historic towns of Nuneaton and Bedworth.

The Industrious Birmingham canals

At the heart of the canal revolution and a must for industrial history buffs. This is one of the more educational canal cruises!

These waterways wind through the heart of Birmingham, offering a chance to explore the city’s history and culture.

The views are urban-brutalist, but I have a fondness for them; it’s my heritage after all. The Black Country Living museum is well worth a visit and is the backdrop for the hit show Peaky Blinders. There’s plenty of free mooring here. And cruise right to the centre of bustling Birmingham, England’s second city, for the best shopping, eating and nightlife around.

Do this trip as part of the Staffordshire (Black Country) Ring.

There are several routes for long weekend canal cruises, 1 week trips and cruises further afield for those with two weeks or more to relax. We packed in 2 rings on our first real canal boat holiday – that trip is blogged here. Don’t do this at home, relax and do one or the other 😂. Otherwise plan your own trip using this tool or Contact Us with your questions.

And always check the Canal & Rivers Trust site for any local stoppages – they are the authority on current restrictions. There’s a useful page by a fellow blogger here describing the width restrictions on a few canals.

These are just a few of the many destinations that are within easy reach from Gailey Wharf. UKvacationsAfloat holidays from here offer a unique way to explore the waterways of the English Midlands, taking in the stunning scenery, wildlife, and local culture along the way.


You can find more FAQs answered here and tips on our Home Page. And if this has whetted your appetite for a cruise of your own, you can find all our Booking Details here.