The Canal Museum is located in the pretty canal village of Stoke Bruerne along the Grand Union Canal. A historic corn mill, offering two 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.
With a blacksmith only a stroll along the towpath near Blisworth Tunnel, a woodland walk, boat trips 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’ costume and have a go at creating your own roses and castles, the iconic decoration only seen on the English canals.
Visit the museum narrow boat ‘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.
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 a brickworks and, where there was once an old dock for boats to load the bricks used to build the canal and tunnel.
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
8 January – 2 March is the Stoke Bruerne ‘super stoppage’ (lock gate repairs) so opening hours will be subject to change based around the construction schedule.
The site may close at short notice due to bad weather
Check the Facebook page for updates.
It's free to visit the museum! Just be aware that if you're driving in, then parking charges apply.
1 December – 31 December: Wednesday – Sunday, 10am – 3pm
Closed Christmas Day, Boxing Day, 27/28 December
1 January 2024 – 7 January 2024 – 11am – 3pm
Mon - Sun (4 hours £3), (all day £5); Evening/early morning £1. There are two disabled bays in the main car park.
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.
If you're travelling by car, follow the signs from the A508. There are 2 disabled parking spaces. If you're cycling there is a dedicated bike park.
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.