We were spending a few days with a friend in Chichester who suggested an outing on the Chichester Ship Canal.
We bought our tickets (£8 but no concessions at it’s a charity) at the canal’s visitor centre where there’s also a small selection of souvenirs and a cafe shop (with an enticing array of what appeared to be home-made cakes). Even if you’re not going on a trip, it’s a pleasant place for coffee with outdoor seating overlooking the canal basin.
Having bought coffee, we boarded the Kingfisher for 12pm trip: there are departures four times a day at 10.15am, 12pm, 13.45pm and 15.30pm from mid-March to late October. It’s amazing to think that this is all run by volunteers who must give very generously of their time.
The boat is relatively easy to get on and off with just a few steps but it can accommodate wheelchair users. Although the boat takes 22 people, it probably would feel a little squashed if full and we were lucky in that, on a relatively chilly day in early May, there was only seven of us onboard including a man who slept for most of the 90-minute trip.
The canal basin is surrounded by housing developments including a row of stunning grey houses which wouldn’t have looked out of place in Amsterdam. Having left the town, the scenery changed with green fields, a variety of birds both in the air and on the water and lots of walkers using the tow path.
The return journey into Chichester, gave us stunning views of the cathedral and on board was a photograph of a painting by Turner done in 1828 of the canal and cathedral but apparently, the lighting was wrong for the time of day. All in all, it was a very pleasant way to spend a couple of hours (or catch up on your sleep)!
There are also a range of special trips including ones with fish and chips or cream teas. Specials are run both with the Easter Bunny and Father Christmas. Full details are at www.chichestercanal.org.uk