I use “Central Birmingham” to cover all of the canals between Monument Road Basin (on the New Main Line), Farmers Bridge Top Lock (on the Birmingham and Fazeley canal) and Granville Street (on the Worcester and Birmingham Canal).
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, and 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. (I have described it this way for the pedants – the Newhall Branch is the first few hundred yards of what is usually thought of as the Birmingham and Fazeley and is actually part of the Birmingham Old Main Line)
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 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 “The Distillery” 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.)
C&RT Pumpout Cards, Sanitary Station Keys, Handcuff Keys, and Radar Keys are available from the C&RT Birmingham Office.
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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.
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.
The Prince of Wales on Cambridge Street had been a boaters favourite for many years. Sadly it is currently closed (May 2018). Paul & Sarah, the licensees, moved to the Bell and Cross in Holy Cross on the Clent Hills.
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.
There is an amazing range of pub music within a few hundred yards of the canal. “Live Brum” provides listings, however I am uncertain how good it is, for the Prince of Wales (shut) still shows listings, though they may be last year’s.
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 Royal 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 Arena Birmingham 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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