Canal trips specifically designed for parties of school students

Coot feeding chicksWe aim to provide an introduction as to why, how and when canals were built and how this one operates. (For a brief history of the canal please refer to the Canal History page).

The canal is well illustrated in the Photo Gallery section.

The trips provide opportunities to support your delivery of the National Curriculum, particularly in the areas of History, Science, Design and Technology, and Art.

Boat trips

Educational boat trips can be booked on the wide-beamed boat Richmond, maximum number 35.

Special reduced prices apply for educational trips if they take place in the morning.

MS Richmond makeover 1

Richmond interior

We recommend that you allow at least 90 minutes for the session on the boat although you could expand the visit by walking part of the canal (the tow path extends beyond the navigable part of the canal through to Chichester Harbour). The trip can also be enhanced by spending some time in our Visitor Centre.

The Visitor Centre is located in a 19th century old stable which has been refurbished to provide information about the canal and its history. Canal users and local schools appreciate the opportunity to learn more about the canal and view artefacts recovered during excavation works.

The exhibition includes interesting displays, part of a lock gate and a model of a lock.

The boat trip includes a brief talk about the canal’s history and a powerpoint presentation on board. This presentation can be general or focus on specific topics depending on your needs. Worksheets (see Downloads below), clipboards and pencils are provided.

To enquire about prices, availability and booking please contact the canal centre in person or by phone between 10.30 am and 3.30 pm weekdays.
Telephone 01243 771363 or email:

At the end of their visit, students should have an appreciation of:

  • Cygnet close-upThe history and decline of the original canal system
  • The value of restoring and maintaining the canal as a modern recreational resource
  • The diversity of wildlife that the canal encourages
  • The design of boats, bridges and maintenance equipment
  • The artistic inspiration of the canal

Student worksheets

See Downloads below: these worksheets can either be used during the trip or back in the classroom to reinforce what has been learnt. All these documents can be previewed before downloading: just click on the link and then click Open. Please note that the Key Stage 2 worksheet is organised to print double sided on one A4 sheet as a 4 page bookfold document. If you have a version earlier than Office Word 2003 you may need to adjust the page setup (File/Page Setup…) in Word or adjust your printer Properties to achieve the best results.

Planning your visit – checklist

  • Contact the Trust to book your visit Tel: 01243 771363
  • Please carry out a pre-visit to the Canal Centre. This will help you to undertake a risk assessment.
  • Carry out a risk assessment (see pre-prepared example in Downloads below).
  • The canal boat skippers and volunteer helpers are trained in safety issues and, depending upon the number of children in the party and teachers and adult helpers available, we will work with you to ensure an appropriate number of volunteers are present to ensure a safe adult to pupil ratio.
  • Brief your helpers on their roles, safety and planned activities.
  • Obtain parental consent and brief parents on trip requirements.
  • Ensure that parents have covered any child’s cuts with waterproof plasters.
  • Advise children to bring suitable clothing and wear shoes with a good grip – e.g. trainers.