On selected dates you can add a canal boat trip to your museum visit. The trips are normally aboard Long Tom, a purpose-designed sightseeing boat jointly owned by us and another waterways charity. It has big windows that open in summer, and passengers are seated at tables. Free tea or coffee is provided on all long trips and tunnel trips, and on these cruses a guide provides a commentary about the route on which you are cruising. The canal is a living piece of industrial history so seeing it from the boat is the perfect addition to your visit.
Trips in 2024 are on Thursdays Fridays and Sundays from Easter until the end of October. There will be short trips on some Wednesdays and on Saturday July 20th. There will be winter trips in December with mince pies on board.
There are five summer itineraries:
There is one winter itinerary:
This year there are also historic boat cruises on selected Saturdays. Follow the link for details of these.
Our 2024 summer boat trip charges are:
All tickets include your museum visit. All long trips and tunnel trips include a cup of tea or coffee on board the boat. Except on short trips, a guide travels with you to give a historical commentary. December mince pie cruises include a mince pie and cream, and the option of a hot fruit drink.
If there are any tickets left you can book online up to 15 minutes before departure. After that any unsold seats can be paid for at reception. However, this is not a good idea, it is reccommended that you book in advance otherwise disappointment is likely. If you make a booking online after paying for museum admission your museum entry ticket can be refunded at reception.
If you give us a minimum of one week's notice by email not by telephone we may be willing to transfer your booking to a different date. This is at our discretion. Refunds will only be made in exceptional circumstances, with at least a week's notice, and an administration charge of £2 per person will be deducted. Changes can only be requested by e-mail or using our Online Booking Support Form. Please do not telephone asking to change your booking.
The tunnel was largely complete by 1818 and opened in 1820 with a procession of boats carrying dignitaries. The engineer was the canal's engineer James Morgan, and the tunnel is the major work of his life. Originally it was worked by "legging", which means that men lay on their backs on planks mounted on boats and pushed against the walls or roof of the tunnel to propel the boat. This was necessary because there is no towpath through the tunnel. Later, in 1826, a steam chain tug was introduced. An iron chain rang the whole length of the tunnel and was wound around a drum on board the tug, which was turned by a steam engine. Thus, the tug was pulled along the chain and it could tow several barges behind it. This speeded up traffic considerably. This method of towing boats and barges through the tunnel lasted almost without a break until 1926 by which time diesel tugs were available. The tunnel has lasted well since 1820 and remains in frequent use. You will be able to see the original brickwork and some sections that have been repaired in more recent years. It is 960 yards long and it will take about 20 minutes to pass through it in each direction on your trip. Your guide on trips that pass through the tunnel will tell you more.
There is more about the history of the tunnels on our page Canal Tunnels of London
Boat trips offered by other organisations on London's Canals mainly run between Paddington and Camden. See our London Canal Cruises page for more information.
Booking is online on this page. Long trips, tunnel trips and cream tea cruises are now open for booking. Short trips on limited dates will be open for booking soon.There are 12 places on each trip (11 on long trips) and early advance booking is very highly recommended. All passengers require a ticket including babies.
Bookings are made online and immediately using our online booking system. Payment is by credit/debit card and will be processed on behalf of the museum by Tygit Ltd. In the 15 minutes before departure any unsold places on the boat can be purchased in person from the museum shop.
If you have a problem making a booking we will try to help, but we cannot make additional places available on boats that are already full! Use the Online Booking Support Form if you need help
Long trips operate on Fridays only. They depart at 1100 (To Little Venice) or 1130 (To Victoria Park).
Cream tea cruises depart at 1500 every Thursday from 28th March to 31st October inclusive
Tunnel trips operate on Thursdays and Sundays from 28th March to 31st October, except there are no trips on 1st September when the Angel Canal Festival takes place.
The boat is not wheelchair accessible. Access to the cabin involves climbing down narrow stairs that turn. Staff will do their best to help people with access needs if they can.
The boat trip is suitable for blind and visually-impaired people, deaf and hearing-impaired people, and those with moderate walking difficulties. Please contact us to discuss your access needs and we will try to help if we can.
The boat is fully enclosed but many people like to open the windows so it is best to have outdoor clothing with you. In the tunnel there is no sunshine so it can be chilly even in summer. Please wear sensible shoes that won't fall off your feet. In autumn and winter the boat is heated but we advise outdoor clothing be worn.