Enjoy a boat trip through London's longest canal tunnel whilst enjoying a warm fruit punch and a delicious locally-baked mince pie with cream! Guided cruises pass through the tunnel twice and to/from St. Pancras. Five dates in December. All tickets include a museum visit.
Our 2023 boat trip charges are:
The calendar shows the dates when boat trips are running.
The passenger boat Long Tom will normally operate all our trips. It is jointly owned by London Canal Museum and Islington Community Canal Boat Trust. It is a purpose-built passenger craft seating 12 people at tables with very large windows. A toilet is provided on board but you are asked to use facilities in the museum or other buildings if possible.
The boat trip is suitable for blind and visually-impaired people, deaf and hearing-impaired people, and those with moderate walking difficulties on all dates but access is via stairs. Assistance with boarding is available, but there is no wheelchair lift on the boat. Access to the cabin is via stairs. Please contact us to discuss your access needs and we will try to help if we can.
There are 12 places on each trip and early advance booking is very highly recommended. Bookings are not refundable. It may sometimes be possible toamend a booking, e.g. to transfer it to a different time, if you give us plenty of notice (at least a week. This 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 the trip (except when cruising to Little Venice) will tell you more.
There is more about the history of the tunnels on our page Canal Tunnels of London