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The Canal Museum
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The Canal Museum, Stoke Bruerne

The Canal Museum, the first of its kind in the country, is located in the pretty canal village of Stoke Bruerne along the Grand Union Canal. A historic Grade II listed corn mill, it offers three floors of rich waterway heritage and panoramic views.

Things to see and do

Immerse yourselves in the treasure trove that is our museum, full of interactive displays and collections to bring to life what it was like to live and work on Britain's canals. Take a stroll along the towpath near Blisworth Tunnel, and the Woodland Walk, with its wire sculptures.

Enjoy watching the wildlife, do some pond dipping, and see colourful narrowboats. With two pubs and places to stop and grab a coffee, Stoke Bruerne is an ideal spot to spend a few hours.

Inside the museum

Immerse yourself in the sights, smells and sounds of life on the canals in former times, dress up in boaters’ costumes and have a go at creating your own roses and castles, the iconic decoration only seen on the English canals.

Visit the museum's narrowboat ‘Sculptor’, moored up outside. Built in 1935 for the Grand Union Canal Carrying Company, Sculptor started life carrying general cargo, such as cotton, wheat and coal. During World War 2, she was in action in London as a fireboat, putting out fires. Before she retired in 1984, Sculptor was still in use as a maintenance boat.

a colourful canal boat inside with other canal boat heritage objects

Outside the museum

The museum is set in the picturesque village of Stoke Bruerne, containing a flight of locks, a blacksmith’s forge, and the 200-year-old southern portal of the almost two-mile-long Blisworth Canal Tunnel. Can you spot the site and entrance into a filled-in boat dock, the stables where the boat horses used to rest and, the hut where the leggers used to wait to walk or ‘leg’ the boats through the tunnel?

A short walk down the lock flight will take you to a nature reserve which once contained brickworks and, where there was once an old dock for boats to load the bricks used to build the canal and tunnel. A bit further on is a dipping platform.

While you are here, why not hop on one of the two passenger boats for a trip into the mouth of the tunnel and back?

Planning your visit

  • Address

    The Canal Museum, Stoke Bruerne, Bridge Road, Stoke Bruerne, Towcester, NN12 7SE. View on Google Maps

  • Opening times & prices

    It's free to visit the museum! Just be aware that if you're driving in, then parking charges apply.

    • Until 28 July: Open Monday – Sunday, 10am – 4pm
    • Week commencing 29 July: Open Tuesday – Saturday, 10am – 4pm (Closed Monday & Sunday)
    • Week commencing 5 August: Open Tuesday – Saturday, 10am – 4pm (Closed Monday & Sunday)
    • Week commencing 12 August: Open Monday, Tuesday & Thursday - Saturday, 10am – 4pm (Closed Wednesday 14 & Sunday 18)
    • Week commencing 19 August: Open Tuesday - Sunday, 10am – 4pm (Closed Monday 19)
    • Open August bank holiday weekend (Saturday 24 – Monday 26 August): 10am – 4pm
    • Week commencing 26 August: Open bank holiday Monday & Thursday - Sunday, 10am – 4pm (Closed Tuesday 27 & Wednesday 28)
    • From 2 September onwards: open Wednesday – Sunday, 10am – 4pm (Closed Mondays & Tuesdays)
  • Parking

    Mon - Sun (4 hours £3), (all day £5); Evening/early morning £1. There are two disabled bays in the main car park.

  • Access

    There is level access from the car park to the canal towpath, and toilet facilities, plus ramped access to the museum café and shop. Wheelchairs will not be able to access the 2nd floor. The towpath is in good condition between the museum and Blisworth Tunnel entrance.

  • Getting here

    If you're travelling by car, follow the signs from the A508. There are two disabled parking spaces. If you're cycling there is a dedicated bike park.

  • Contact us

    Phone: 01604 346096 Email: [email protected]

Inside The Canal Museum

Designated museum collection

Designated for its 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 the [Anderton Boat Lift Visitor Centre] and Standedge Tunnel.

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.

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Tripadvisor Traveller Rating

Travelers Choice 2023
photo of a location on the canals
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