Central Birmingham

I use “Central Birmingham” to covers all of the canals between Vincent Street (on the New Main Line), Farmers Bridge Top Lock (on the Birmingham and Fazeley canal) and Granville Street (on the Worcester and Birmingham Canal), as shown on this map from C&RT.

Safe Moorings

central-birmingham-moorings-map

Download this photo for a decent view of it

There are plenty of safe moorings, though they are popular, so space can be a problem.  There are bollards on the both sides of New Main Line from Vincent Street Bridge to Deep Cutting Junction, on Oozells Street Loop by Brindley Place (the moorings on the Symphony Court side are private, as are the secure moorings in Sherborne Wharf, though the latter are available on a payment basis.

There are moorings on the Newhall Branch of the old main line, from Old Turn Junction to the water point at Cambrian House and at Cambrian Wharf.  (This is described this way for the pedants – the first few hundred yards of what is usually thought of as the Birmingham and Fazeley is actually part of the Birmingham Old Main Line)

There is a single mooring, not marked on this map, just by the ICC (Symphony Hall) opposite the Handmade Burger.   All of the other moorings between Deep Cuttings Junction and the Broad Street Tunnel are for trip boats.  There are no restrictions noted, so it would appear to be available for a fortnight.

Gas Street Basin has two visitor moorings as marked.  The rest are permanent contract moorings.

There are visitor moorings on the towpath side of the Worcester Birmingham canal from the Worcester Bar to just beyond Grenville Street Bridge.

The Worcester and Birmingham canal has never been part of the BCN, and has it’s own canal society, the Worcester Birmingham and Droitwich Canal Society.  (They meet at Alvechurch Boat Centre on the 1st Tuesday of the month.)

Oozell's Street Loop moorings from Deep Cuttings Junction

Oozell’s Street Loop moorings from Deep Cuttings Junction

When all of the recognised moorings with bollards are full, I have often seen boats in Monument Road Basin.

Return to the BCN Safe Moorings main page

Boaters Facilities

Diesel, Coal, Gas, Pumpout are available as mobile service from Away2Service and on the main line by the Roundhouse run by Sherborne Wharf
(Sherborne wharf sold the Fiddle and Bone pub in early September 2016,  it has now re-opened as a gin distillery / gin bar.  The laundry facilities, that I thought had closed, are apparently still open – however comment made suggests that they are sub optimal.)

Note that the C&RT map is inaccurate in showing water available at the Roundhouse (ex Fiddle and Bone) fuel and pumpout point – it is not.  The “30 minute moorings” are for pump out and fuel only.

C&RT Pumpout Cards, Sanitary Station Keys, Handcuff Keys, and Radar Keys are available from the C&RT Birmingham Office.  Most of them are also available at Away to Service and Sherborne Wharf.

Return to the BCN Facilities index page.

Cambrian Wharf

Cambrian Wharf

Eating Out

Within a fifteen minute walk of Deep Cuttings junction I have counted about 200 restaurants.    Four with great canal views that I use are the Bank, (upmarket chain) JuJu’s,(owner run bistro) the Handmade Burger Co (small chain that does good burgers) and the Barajee. (Indian)  Look at their web sites to see if they suit.  I have had good meals in all, but they do aim for different places in the market.

Others well worth considering are Pasta di Piazza and Lasan’s in the Jewellery Quarter  (but not if you are on a tight budget!)
The College of Food in Summer Row is quite special.  It trains young people for the catering trade – front of house, chef, sommelier, pastry cook, bread making etc.  During term time you can get outstanding bread, or an excellent meal at very reasonable prices – but you do have to book in advance.
The Edwardian Tea Room in the Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery does very decent food at very good value.

Ristorante Caffe Gustami is very close to Monument Road Basin, almost adjacent to the bridge to where the Ladywood Middleway crosses the main line.  Decent, reasonably priced Italian food.  (They make their own pasta)

It is next door to Pablo’s Launderette. If you need laundry done, look for a time when they are both open, and you can have a decent meal while waiting for your clothes to be cleaned.

If you are looking for some quite amazing sandwiches (or bread) – particularly if you want some sandwiches while going down Farmers Bridge locks, Peel and Stone is under the railway arch on Water Street.  This is the next railway arch to the left as you are going down the flight.  These ain’t cheap sarnies – but they are really good.  They make (and sell) their own bread.

For pub food see below.  There are a huge range of other possibilities.

Pubs

The Prince of Wales on Cambridge Street has been a boaters favourite for many years – 8 real ale taps, live music on Thursday nights and Sunday afternoons.  (However it is closed for refurbishment in early Aug 2017, and Paul & Sarah, the licensees,  have moved down to Alvechurch – I hope it remains as friendly a pub as it has been for many years.)  As the music listings still show music on 13 Aug, the refurbishment may only have it closed for a few days.

Others that spring to mind (I have a prejudice towards real ale) are the Shakespeare in Summer Row (which does food) just beside the College of Food, and the Wellington, on Bennets Hill, off New Street.  The latter has at least 18 real ales on tap – changing sufficiently frequently that you order by number from a TV screen.  The Wellington does not do food, but allows you to bring in food bought elsewhere.

For a good guide to Birmingham pubs try the CAMRA good pub guide.

Monument Road interchange basin. NOT recognised moorings, but seem to be frequently used, especially when the visitor moorings are full.

Monument Road interchange basin. NOT recognised moorings, but seem to be frequently used, especially when the visitor moorings are full.

Music

There is an amazing range of pub music within a few hundred yards of the canal.  “Live Brum” provides listings.  I have pointed the link to the Prince of Wales, from where it is easy to find others.
In addition to pub music there is an amazing range within a few hundred yards of the canal.
In the Town Hall  and the Symphony Hall, both have a huge range and availability of music, and the latter, with the CBSO centre is home to the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra.  The Birmingham Conservetoire introduces you to the musicians of tomorrow,  while the Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery has free classical guitar concerts at lunchtime on the first Friday of the month, in addition to other events and a lot of stunning exhibitions).  If you want major gigs by international stars the Barclaycard Arena is the place to try.
It is often easy to three live music gigs in a day within walking distance of each other, and your boat.

Theatre

If it is the theatre you want, then the Birmingham Rep and the Crescent Theatre are, like almost everything else listed here, within 10 minutes walk of Old Turn Junction.

Return to the BCN Safe Moorings main page

4 thoughts on “Central Birmingham

  1. Great information and a nice line in dry wit. As ‘newbies’ to continual cruising we want to visit the BCN and were concerned about safe moorings so this has eased our minds somewhat.
    The other information I was looking for was regarding available draught/draft around the BCN – are there any limitations and would I have a problem (other than discarded rubbish which I am expecting despite your best efforts) with 32″ draft?
    Regards
    Geoff

    • Geoff
      Felonious Mongoose draws 32 inches and I have had her over the entire BCN.
      Main bits – parts of the Walsall & Dawes End are a bit shallow but perfectly do-able.
      If you are heading down some
      less common routes, Titford Pools are fine – but in the main pool don’t go under the motorway. If you do want to go up there (and we’ll give you a plaque if you do – as we did to 17 Russell Newbery boats last weekend) contact me again.
      Charley

  2. Fiddle and Bone is now named The Distillery.
    If you want to use the Boaters Facilities then you have to go into the bistro/pub.

    Laundry: I have used this in the past and it was fine. On this visit I was appalled. The washing machine leaks so much that you stand in a pool of water operating electrical equipment; the door is rusty; not fit for use. I did report it to the pub in detail.
    The drier used to extract outside but now its a condenser. I had to clean the machine before using it.

    Alternative – a few minutes from Cambrian Wharf is Pablo’s Laundry. This is a commercial set up and modern equipment. It cost me the same as the abovebut evidently far superior.

    • Hi Rod
      I understood that the “boaters facilities” had closed when the pub was sold (however as I never used it, I had not followed it up)
      I thought I had updated all the pages that referred to the Fiddle and Bone – you have proved me wrong, and I will check again.

      I agree with you on Pablo’s laundry. (They also make curtains!) There is a map on their website http://pabloslaundry.co.uk/contact-us/
      It also has the advantage of a lovely (and very reasonably priced) Italian restaurant next to it, where they make there own pasta.
      https://www.ristorantecaffegustami.uk/menu/ (Declaration of interest – Pablos have made curtains for me, but I haven’t used the laundry – I have used the restaurant much more often. They are very close to the main line, but for people who are not happy with a 15 minute walk, they are not that close to Cambrian Wharf)
      Charley

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