Cruising down the enchanting River Avon
Welcome to our cruise on board the Countess of Evesham. During the cruise we will be passing through three locks*. Our first lock, the Stratford Basin opened on 24 June 1816, restoration being undertaken from 1961 to 1964, which led to the reopening of the Stratford/Birmingham Canal by Her Majesty the Queen Mother on 11 June 1964. On your right The Royal Shakespeare Theatre opened in 1932, which was designed by Elizabeth Scott to replace an earlier Theatre destroyed by fire in 1926. Just before we enter Stratford Lock, on your right there is the Holy Trinity Church, mainly 15th Century apart from the spire, which was rebuilt in 1763. The fine monuments include one of William Shakespeare who is buried in the chancel.
Stratford New Lock, reinforced by a series of rectangular steel girder frames to overcome the high ground pressure, enabled the Navigation Trust to raise the floor and line the walls, install new bottom gates and carry out other improvements. As we leave the lock on the right hand side we see there is a block of flats, which stands on the side of Old Lucy's Mill whose grain was once carried on the River Avon. On to our final lock, known as Weir Brake or Anonymous Lock.
This lock was constructed in just 38 days and is dedicated to the anonymous donors. It was here that Her Majesty the Queen Mother arrived by helicopter on 1 June 1974 to travel on the narrow boat 'Jubilee' to Stratford Lock. The bridge over the lock is called The Edgar and Mabel Jones Bridge to commemorate the generosity of the landowners who gave the land for, and access, to the lock.
Now we cruise down river for approximately half an hour giving you time to enjoy the beautiful countryside around us before we arrive at Luddington where we will moor up for around 15 minutes (weather and mooring availability permitting).
Luddington Lock was renovated in Spring 1971. There were no overnight moorings, but a sign informed 'Sorry no Pubs, no Shops'. The reason being, it was originally a Quaker Village. It is thought that William Shakespeare may have been married in the fine little church.
We very much hope you enjoy your time aboard the Countess and that you will return again one day, for a social occasion, business event, conference or perhaps as an individual booking. All our food is cooked fresh onboard by our acclaimed Chef. Countess is centrally heated for your comfort and the river banks are flood lit for you to enjoy the countryside after dark. If for weather, flood or any other reason, the Skipper considers it necessary to vary the trip or continue the function whilst moored, they shall have the final word, please respect their decision.
* One and a half hour cruises, pass through two locks, passing the Royal Shakespeare Theatre and Holy Trinity Church.