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.
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.)
When all of the recognised moorings with bollards are full, I have often seen boats in Monument Road Basin.
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Diesel, Coal, Gas, Pumpout are available as mobile service from Away2Service and on the main line at the Fiddle and Bone run by Sherborne Wharf (Sherborne wharf sold the Fiddle and Bone pub in early September 2016, and the new owners of the pub closed it for refurbishment in November. The boaters facilities are unaffected by the closure.)
Note that the C&RT map is inaccurate in showing water available at the Fiddle and Bone – 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.
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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.
For pub food (see below), The Prince of Wales does food, but not on Mondays, and very much as a second fiddle to being a good pub. The Shakespeare does food more reliably. There are a huge range of other possibilities.
The The Prince of Wales on Cambridge Street is a boaters favourite, – 8 real ale taps, live music on Thursday nights and Sunday afternoons. Others that spring to mind (I have a prejudice towards real ale) are the Shakespeare in Summer Row, 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.
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.
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