Visit the Canal Museum

Come and discover the story of Britain's canals and the people who lived and worked on them. Find out about the engineering feats, the challenges and how canals fuelled the industrial revolution.

Get closer to the canals

Learn about the Grand Union Canal, its construction challenges and engineering feats, and how the canals fuelled the industrial revolution. We bring to life the stories of the everyday people, who lived and worked on the canals and made up a unique waterway society.

You’ll find working models of historic narrowboats, barges and butties, displays of boaters’ belongings, a re-created boatbuilder’s workshop and films of canal days gone by.

Meet our museum narrow boat ‘Sculptor’, moored up outside the museum. Built in 1935, Sculptor is one of just a few historic working boats that still lives on the canal. Originally owned by the Grand Union Canal Carrying Company, Sculptor was used to carry a variety of cargo, such as cotton and coal.

You’ll find the museum at the top of the locks when you visit Stoke Bruerne, in a restored corn mill at the end of a row of canal cottages.

One of the first canal museums in the country, The Canal Museum opened in 1963, Today, The Canal Museum at Stoke Bruerne is still home to part of the Canal & River Trust wider ‘museum collection’.

Designated museum collection 

Designated of national importance by Arts Council England, most of our ‘museum collection’ is housed within the National Waterway Museums at Ellesmere Port and Gloucester Docks. However, you can also find important, treasured items here at the Canal Museum as well as at Anderton Boat Lift Visitor Centre and Standedge Tunnel Visitor Centre.

The collection forms the most comprehensive collection of artefacts that tell the story of Britain’s canals and navigable rivers over the last 300 hundred years. The collection consists of over 12,000 objects – including 68 historic boats and the national waterways archive.

Opening times and prices

Spring opening times

Due to staff training the Canal Museum and Café will be opening at 11am on Tuesday 17 May.

Open daily throughout the Spring season March – May 10am to 4pm

Summer season

June- September Weekdays 10am to 4pm and Weekends 10am to 5pm

The Café and Gift Shop are now open serving locally sourced produce and unique canal inspired gifts.

Gift aid

Gift Aid makes a huge difference to charities like us here at the Canal & River Trust. It’s only because of your donations that we can continue to care for the 2,000 miles of historic and beautiful waterways we look after. Gift Aid, of course, is entirely your choice.

If you have any questions about your visit to the Canal Museum please call: 01604 862229.

Free audio trail

And you can continue the story of the canals with our free audio guide, which takes you from the museum along the banks of the Grand Union Canal and up to the Blisworth Tunnel.

Get involved and volunteer here

Love history? Have a big smile? Want to get involved?

We have a magnificent team of volunteers and Canal & River Trust colleagues who work together to care for this unique peice of Victorian heritage. Not just for the local community but for the whole country.

However, as a charity, we can only stretch so far. So if you want to get involved, no matter how much time you think you can give, check out our volunteering page.

Boating through Stoke Bruerne Boating through Stoke Bruerne

Last date edited: 16 May 2022