Canal Pubs in Solihull
Canals and pubs simply go together. A major part of the appeal of a canal holiday is visiting the pubs that were built alongside. And few things are quite as pleasant on a hot Summer's day as a cool pint of Real Ale in a canalside pub garden.
The Solihull area includes two canals - the Grand Union and the Stratford upon Avon - and the area around Lapworth where they interconnect. Here we've listed those of our pubs which are on, or very near, the canals. If you're travelling on the water they make a perfect relaxing stop, and if you're not on a boat the towpaths make a fascinating walk.
To explore a more general selection of the best pubs in and around Solihull (with land-based directions), visit our Online Pub Guide. Also, many local pubs have also been featured in the Solihull Beerhunter's Spotlight Inns.
A small village between Solihull and Hampton-in-Arden, sited on the Grand Union Canal, a short walk from the local Ravenshaw Lane beauty spot. The village name originates from Ketelberne, the man who owned it after the Norman Conquest in 1066. However much of the settlement probably grew from the construction of the Grand Union Canal. In 1907, a isolation hospital was built in Henwood Lane and in 1978 the last known victim of smallpox died there having contracted it in the laboratory in Birmingham where she worked, long after it had been eradicated in the general population worldwide.
Boat Inn Grand Union Canal, bridge 78 Tel: 0121 705 0474
Built in the late 19th century, the Boat is now part of the Chef & Brewer chain. It is near the Grand Union Canal, and the enclosed garden makes it popular in summer. Two log fires make a pleasant feature in the winter. Interesting food menu, though slightly pricey.
Getting there: Post code B91 2TJ. OS Grid Ref: SP 17971 80361.
New development with a village centre, based on an old settlement. Surrounded by countryside and beside the Stratford upon Avon canal, so good cycling territory.
Mortons Kitchen Stratford upon Avon Canal, between bridges 13 and 15 Tel: 0121 744 2884
Modern bar/restaurant, in the same group as the Boot Lapworth, Crabmill Preston Bagot, Orange Tree Chadwick End and Farm Monkspath, located in the centre of Dickens Heath in the Market Square. Comfortable leather sofas. Open from 10am everyday and serves brunches at weekends, as well as lunches and dinners. Children and good natured dogs welcome.
Getting there: Post code B90 1UB. OS Grid Ref: SP 11175 76405.
Popular village to the south of the Stratford-upon-Avon canal and well known for its reservoir - generally called "The Lakes", with fishing, sailing and plenty of wildlife. Earliest reference to the area was by Richard III in the 15th century. The lakes are man made, reputedly dug by Napoleonic prisoners of war. Busy in summer with people out for a walk round the lakes, or Clowes Wood and the surrounding countryside. Popular craft centre nearby. Earlswood Maze in Norton Lane is also worth a visit.
Bull's Head Stratford upon Avon Canal, bridge 18 Tel: 01564 702335
Originally built in 1740 for the navvies constructing the Stratford Upon Avon canal. Rumoured to be haunted by the ghost of a 17th century lime kiln worker. This pub consists of a collection of late 18th and early 19th century two storey whitewashed brick buildings which have been extended and linked. It became a pub in 1832 and was refurbished in the 1990s. Now a Thwaites house, unusual in Solihull. Popular with cyclists and walkers.
Getting there: Post code B94 6BU. OS Grid Ref: SP 12285 74355.
Lady Lane Wharf Stratford upon Avon, bridge 16, just north of Earlswood, Tel: 01564 703821
A former canal side boat club, now open to all, this pub is on the west side of the Stratford upon Avon canal, at the side arm which leads to the pumping station on the corner of Earlswood Reservoir a short distance away. The area is popular with walkers and cyclists and non-boaters are more than welcome. The Earlswood Motor Yacht club still operates from the same location as the pub. Open 11.30am until late (11.30 - 10.30pm Sun) Food 12-9 Mon-Sat, 12-5 Sun and breakfast
Getting there: Post code B94 6AH. OS Grid Ref: SP 11475 75065.
A residential area to the west of Shirley, towards Shirley station.
Colebrook Inn Stratford upon Avon Canal, about 1 mile east of bridge 7 Tel: 0121 733 3731
A popular local pub surrounded by houses, this large inter war years roadhouse is now a member of the Ember Inns chain, so food orientated. Comfortable sofas adorn the large rambling lounge. The pub has participated in Ember Inns’ Real Ale Months, but beware, they have been known to show pumpclips on handpumps for beers that are in fact not available, a dubious practice. Children are not welcome other than in the garden or when eating. Quiz nights are held every Tuesday and Thursday. It also has a well used bowling green that is overlooked by patios.
Getting there: Post code B90 2LL. OS Grid Ref: SP 11010 78930.
Black Boy Grand Union Canal, bridge 69 Tel: 01564 772655
An ex-Bass pub, now a free house, this old (est 1793) canalside pub has been extensively modernised with an extension that has overwhelmed the original small boatman's pub. It has a reputation for meals of sizeable proportions. In fact the food seems its main raison d'être, hence it is very popular. It has a large children's play area and garden overlooking the Grand Union canal, ideal in summer. Children are welcome in the pub if eating a meal, but must vacate by 8:00pm. In summer a classic car meet is held on the first Tuesday evening of the month.
Getting there: Post code B93 0EB. OS Grid Ref: SP 19266 74728.
Heron's Nest Grand Union Canal, bridge 70 Tel: 01564 771177
Originally built in 1816 as a pub and then changed to a restaurant and a hotel - this establishment has had a varied career. Now belonging to the Innkeeper's Lodge group, it is a family food oriented pub with a smart but comfortable and traditional interior. The beers vary from time to time, but usually the better big names. The accommodation is next door. It has a large canal-side garden and there is an animal sanctuary across the canal.
Getting there: Post code B93 0EE. OS Grid Ref: SP 19045 75155.
Straddling the Stratford Road (A3400) between Stratford and Birmingham, this unassuming village has the unexpected distinction of having the highest house number in the UK: 2679 Stratford Road. A pub crawl of the three real ale pubs would be a pleasant way to while away a couple of hours, with maybe a wander along the towpath of the Stratford on Avon Canal. National Trust properties at Baddesley Clinton and Packwood are nearby.
Miller & Carter opposite side of road to Stratford upon Avon Canal, bridge 25 Tel: 01564 784137
It is said that the oldest part of this pub is a listed building. The rest is a modern extension. Large car park, and modest but well maintatined garden away from the road. This was a Harvester chain but was converted to the current one (losing it's original Nag's Head name in the process) and reopened in December 2011
Getting there: Post code B94 6NL. OS Grid Ref: SP 15290 72830.
Wharf Tavern Stratford upon Avon Canal, bridge 25 Tel: 01564 782075
Relatively modern pub (formerly known as the White Lion) on a site dating back to 1868 beside the Stratford-upon-Avon canal. The garden straddles a tiny spur of the canal which was the wharf and is popular with families in summer. Plenty of mooring space nearby on the canal. The interior is open plan, but divided into a public bar area, a lounge and an area for eating. Quiz night is Thursday and two local darts teams meet here regularly.
Getting there: Post code B94 6QT. OS Grid Ref: SP 15220 72530.
King George VI Club Stratford Canal near wharf Tel: 01564 782985
This is a members only club (with visitors) and new members are always welcome. Various sporting events and big screen TV. Open M-F 6-11pm and 12-11pm weekends. Lights snacks at lunchtimes, hot meals in the evening.
Getting there: Post code B94 5NH. OS Grid Ref: SP 15295 72400.
This is a superb bit of Solihull countryside. Lapworth is a village centred around a junction of canals (Grand Union meets Stratford upon Avon at Kinswood junction). A pleasant walk can include both the pubs whilst taking in the spectacular flight of locks on the Stratford Canal and the interesting junction with its barrel roofed lock keeper’s cottages. Nearby are the National Trust properties of Baddesley Clinton and Packwood House. You can easily spend a day here and if you take in the Boot, spend a lot of money. Pub-crawl wise, visit the Navigation and Boot, but eat in the Navigation, it's cheaper. For a really nice slightly longer summertime walk do a circular based on the canals and visit the Tom O' The Wood, Finwood End, Rowington.
The Boot Stratford upon Avon Canal, bridge 33 Tel: 01564 782464
The Boot is the oldest pub in the village, with records going back to 1722. A gentleman named Tom Sly once brewed his own beer here. It has a reputation for good food, but it is expensive. It has a separate restaurant although the food can be eaten anywhere in the pub. The bars retain a pub atmosphere.
Getting there: Post code B94 6JU. OS Grid Ref: SP 18114 71165.
The Navigation Grand Union Canal, bridge 65 Tel: 01564 783337
Solihull CAMRA Pub of the Year for four years from 1994 to 1997, this tastefully extended pub is very popular. Backing onto the Grand Union Canal the garden is always busy in the summer, whilst the small traditional bar and cosy lounge, although busy, are a pleasant escape. New kitchens and a restaurant were added in 1996; the pub was closed winter 2011-2012, but has now reopened having been redecorated losing none of its appeal with a stone floor and the wood fires are now cast iron log burners. Children are welcome at all times if well behaved. Refurbished kitchen should open early July. We wish the enthusiastic new landlord every success.
Getting there: Post code B94 6NA. OS Grid Ref: SP 19093 70924.
The Punchbowl Stratford upon Avon Canal, about 1 mile north from bridge 34 Tel: 01564 784564
The previous Punchbowl, demolished during 1993-4, was a characterful but cramped 18th century pub. The new pub, typical of a Banks' rebuild, has little character, having "olde worlde" beams, tiled floor and distressed woodwork. It's a combination of a foodie/drinkers pub. Live music fortnightly, usually on a Tuesday or Wednesday night. The garden is pleasant enough, with benches and a grassed area. Unfortunately it gives fine views of the car park.
Getting there: Post code B94 6HR. OS Grid Ref: SP 18406 72002.
Lowsonford, lying on the Heart of England Way is in what appears to be remote countryside where small country lanes predominate. The whole area is ideal for walking and cycling.
Fleur de Lys Stratford upon Avon Canal, bridge 41 Tel: 01564 782431
If you don't know the area this pub can be difficult to find despite its large size and extensive gardens and play area. The garden overlooks the canal and is exceptionally pleasant to sit and drink in. The interior has a wealth of oak beams (mind your head!) and quarried floor tiles where, in winter, five open log fires make the pub warm and cosy. A wine of the week is featured and for the beer drinker two-pint carry-out containers are on hand. The guest beer is changed monthly. The pub is the home of the original Fleur de Lys pies, and is very much food orientated. If you're coming by canal it has its own moorings.
Getting there: Post code B95 5HJ. OS Grid Ref: SP 18807 67876.
A residential area just west of Shirley, in Bromsgrove district (Worcestershire).
The Drawbridge Stratford upon Avon Canal, bridge 8 Tel: 0121 474 5904
Popular with the locals - live music and quiz nights. Food available lunchtime and evenings. Some outside seating by the road to the canal bridge. 2006 most improved pub in Solihull CAMRA branch area. New landlord and refurbished March 2010 to one of Punch's Flaming Grill pubs. The alternating beers are Greene King IPA or Courage Directors and then Adnams Broadside fills the gap
Getting there: Post code B90 2NE. OS Grid Ref: SP 10340 77905.
A scattered village in pleasant countryside. A walk alongside the Stratford upon Avon canal rewards you with a view of the canal’s unique barrel vaulted lock keeper’s cottages and split bridges.
The Crabmill Stratford upon Avon Canal, bridge 48 Tel: 01926 843342
An ex-Whitbread pub/restaurant near the Statford upon Avon canal just outside Henley in Arden. It describes itself as a "country pub and eating house". The traditional exterior belies the mock Mediterranean interior, which has polished timber, washed walls and wooden tables and chairs. A small back bar has sofas, but it is primarily a waiting area for those using the restaurant. The main preoccupation of this "pub" is food. Those who wish to drink only are not necessarily made welcome. The website lists only wine on its drinks page - no mention of beer or soft drinks. The main menus are on the expensive side with a reduced menu at lunchtime. The garden is both pleasant and large and is the only comfortable drinking area. Unfortunate, then, that it overlooks the car park.
Getting there: Post code B95 5EE. OS Grid Ref: SP 17180 65390.
A collection of villages and hamlets beside the Old Warwick Road and the Grand Union Canal, Rowington is an ancient village known at the time of the Domesday Survey as Rochintone. Ideal for walking and cycling. Baddesley Clinton & Packwood House are National Trust properties within 2-3 miles.
Cock Horse Grand Union Canal, bridge 62 Tel: 01926 842183
A traditional oak beamed pub, which used to have a forge at one end. Popular, with a separate restaurant and extensive menu. The lounge/bar area is quite small which emphasises the "village local" character to the pub. Has occasional beer festivals with live music and has recently instituted a folk club and encouraged local artists through an exhibition of their work. Well worth a visit.
Getting there: Post code CV35 7AA. OS Grid Ref: SP 20912 68817.
Tom o'the Wood Grand Union Canal, bridge 63 Tel: 01564 782252
Modernised 18th century canalside pub, named after a local corn mill. Located in a rural setting between Lapworth and Rowington, the pub overlooks the Grand Union canal. Usually heavily into food, which is served in either the conservatory restaurant or elsewhere throughout the pub. Beer garden by canal side. Makes a pleasant circular pub crawl with the pubs in Lapworth. Reopened spring 2011, but closed 31st July 2011 after a brief success. October 2011 new owners, with a good local track record, Chris and Charlie determined to make it succeed, real ale is selling well and food on offer every day. (open from 10am to 11pm, midnight on Friday-Saturday.) Details may change a little so phone or check their website and we wish them luck.
Getting there: Post code CV35 7DH. OS Grid Ref: SP 19394 69724.
A small, pleasant village by the Grand Union Canal. Well worth a look is the horse towpath of Shrewley Tunnel on the canal (not far from the Durham Ox). Tied in with a day at Lapworth, Hatton Locks and Hatton Country World the family can have a fascinating day out.
Durham Ox Grand Union Canal, between bridges 58 and 59 Tel: 01926 842283
Built in the 18th century the pub supplied beer to the navvies building both the nearby canal and railway. The name is said to derive from a famous beast of that name which was exhibited at local cattle shows, and until recently portrayed on the pub’s sign. This large pub was once a Bass house, became a free house and was refurbished in 2002 and is now owned by Greene King has a smart lounge with comfy armchairs. Large seated area outside on wooden decking, mainly under cover. Food orientated.
Getting there: Post code CV35 7AY. OS Grid Ref: SP 21195 67055.
A pleasant rural area adjoining Earlswood, and popular with walkers and cyclists, nearby are the famous Wedges bakery and a model steam railway open at weekends. You can also visit the Bulls Head, a Thwaites house, unusual in Solihull. Leave the Blue Bell along the road which follows alongside the Stratford upon Avon canal. The Bulls Head is a quarter of a mile down the lane on the right at the junction with the B4102, on Salter Street.
Blue Bell Cider House Stratford upon Avon Canal, bridge 19 Tel: 01564 702328
Standing beside the Stratford upon Avon canal this pub is renowned by cider drinkers as a mecca for the real stuff. Today it still serves real cider from Thatchers and others and usually has three real ales. A popular pub in summer with an extensive garden, it also has a bar, lounge and a conservatory for families. Up until the 1930s it was a working farm and brewed its own beer to slake the thirst of the navvies working on the canal. The brewhouse still stands behind the pub. It is also one of the very few free houses in Solihull. The bar sports darts, cribbage and dominoes. For those arriving by boat eight temporary moorings are available at the foot of the beer garden and next to the Grade II listed bridge (number 19). Solihull CAMRA Most Improved Pub of the Year 2002. Under new management since 2010 and still good.
Getting there: Post code B94 6BP. OS Grid Ref: SP 12860 74275.
Photos: Gordon Clarke, Robert Cawte, Chris Lloyd