Tooley's Boatyard

Tooley’s Boatyard, situated in the heart of Banbury on the South Oxford Canal, is one of the oldest working dry docks on the Inland Waterways, having been in continuous use since 1778.

The 86′ dry dock is fully covered and heated, providing excellent conditions to carry out a wide range of services. Also on-site is the 240 year-old forge, in regular use by their blacksmiths. Items can be made to order or why not treat yourself to one of the Blacksmith Courses?

They also run RYA courses on inland-waterway boat handling, but if all that sounds too energetic, the narrowboat Dancing Duck is available for skippered trips.

Now available! Forging Ahead – A History of Tooley’s Boatyard, written by Matthew Armitage, director of the site for the last 16 years. Copies available by following the link: -

Tooley’s Boatyard was once a thriving centre for horse drawn wooden boats. It has been in continuous operation since it was built nearly 240 years ago. It is a place locked in the past with old traditions, skills and tools.

The site was threatened by the development of the Castle Quay shopping centre. The site was preserved and now boasts two ‘Scheduled Ancient Monuments’, and has been incorporated within the new Banbury Museum and TIC, as part of the new shopping centre.

Archaeological assessments of the boatyard have been conducted by Birmingham University. The site has been drawn, photographed and recorded. The artefacts were removed from the site and replaced in the same positions, once the site was regenerated.

They understand the importance of this historic boatyard, and actively invite the general public to come and to find out about the history of the site, the work that was done here and the work They do here now.

The Shop is open Tuesday to Saturday 10am to 1pm Not bank holidays - ask around Christmas. Open Days on Saturdays Easter to October with later opening


  • Boat trips
  • Professional boat repairs & servicing
  • DIY boat repair facilities
  • Dry-dock
  • Chandlery
  • Boat handling courses
  • Working Forge


Tooley's Boatyard

Spiceball Park Road
Banbury Museum
OX16 2PQ

Disability Access Information

Chandlery, Museum, dock and but not yard

  • Path slope no steeper than 1 in 10