I’d like to introduce you to Canal and River Tours Ltd in Stratford-upon-Avon. What makes this company a little bit special is their commitment to accessible canal and river tours.
Last year when we visited Stratford upon Avon I wasn’t planning on taking a river tour, but when a company mentions a wheelchair ramp and access lift on a boat, it deserves investigating.
Rather than taking an incognito tour, I decided to contact the company and explain why we were in Stratford. I explained how The Bimblers champions access for all, therefore, a boat tour with this level of access seemed like an opportunity to do that.
Paul, from Canal and River Tours, invited us on a tour which was nice of him. He also sent me a copy of their access statement which proved they’re taking access seriously. During our conversation, he said he was glad I’d contacted him because they’ve worked hard to make their boat tours accessible and would love the chance to get some feedback.
I really love this attitude and commitment to accessibility. Obviously, I agreed to take a tour, but as luck would have it, Bridget took a funny turn and we had to leave Stratford-upon-Avon earlier than expected, which meant we never made the tour.
Even though we didn’t take the tour, I still wanted to write this post using the information available to me and the pictures I took when wandering around the canal basin.
Accessible Canal and River Tours
Canal and River tours operate out of the canal basin in Stratford, the basin itself is a lovely place to chill and watch the world go by. They run the only licensed sightseeing boat authorised to take you through the historic canal lock and onto the River Avon.
As well as the river tours, the company also own The Baguette Barge serving authentic French baguettes and the Ice Cream Barge selling award winning ice cream. And yes, you can take your food on the river cruise; which is unusual in itself.
The Accessible Boat
I’m no expert on boats, and it’s not much of an endorsement to say “it looks nice”!
So, I’m not going to attempt to give you the low down on the vessel. If you want to know more about the boat, take a look at the Jennifer May on their website.
As I mentioned, what interested me was the accessibility, especially access for wheelchair users. From the mooring, there is a non-slip portable ramp to get you onto the vessel and a hydraulic wheelchair lift to get you into the seating area. Onboard, there is a wheelchair friendly toilet and baby changing facility. You can read the full Access Statement here.
The Boat Tour
The tour starts in the historic lock and takes you on a 45-minute cruise along the River Avon. There is onboard commentary, sharing facts about the history, culture and secrets of Stratford upon Avon, and of course, it’s all voiced by Shakespearean actors.
There is also a downloadable multilingual app which provides a text version of the commentary, ideal for the hard of hearing and not English speakers.
Have you been on this tour?
If you’ve been on this tour, especially if you have access needs, what did you think of it?
I’m sad we had to cut our trip short, but you can be sure the next time we visit Stratford, we’ll be hopping aboard with Stratford Canal and River Tours.
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