Tooley’s Boatyard set for reopening to coincide with Banbury's Armed Forces Day

Tooley’s Boatyard set to welcome back visitors to coincide with Banbury's Armed Forces Day

An event held at Tooley’s Boatyard on the canal in the Banbury town centre
An event held at Tooley’s Boatyard on the canal in the Banbury town centre

Tooley’s Boatyard is preparing to welcome back visitors from Saturday June 26, and, coinciding with Banbury’s Armed Forces Day, there will be a whole host of fun activities and things to see for all the family.

In line with the latest Government advice, the historic dry dock is able to reopen with live demonstrations in the recently restored Old Forge, running throughout Armed Forces Day.

With many more things to see and discover at Tooley’s, visitors to the town are invited to come along and experience one of the oldest working dry docks in England - listed as a nationally important, ancient monument by Historic England.

People work on a boat at Tooley's Boatyard (submitted image)

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Alongside the dry dock sits the original blacksmith’s forge and carpenter’s workshop, both of which are still in full operation today, repairing traditional wooden and modern steel boats. Forming part of the original boatyard, the dry dock has remained in continuous service since it was built to maintain boats in 1778.

The re-opening will mark the first phase of an exciting schedule of improvements to the visitor attraction, including the re-launch of its hugely popular Tooley’s boat tours.

Provided the Covid restrictions are removed as planned on July 19, visitors will be able to board Tooley’s very own Dancing Duck to enjoy a 40-minute boat trip from July 24 and every Saturday thereafter to the end of September - tickets must be pre-booked online.

John Madden, chair of Tooley’s Boatyard Trust, said: “We are extremely excited to be reopening the Boatyard to visitors at long last! Although we will have to wait a little longer to welcome people back aboard The Dancing Duck, the revamped skippered tours we have planned will be worth the wait!

“Armed Forces Day always brings a buzz to the town, and we are thrilled to be able to offer visitors another reason to come along and discover such wonderful historic treasures.”

Tooley’s Boatyard is managed and preserved by the Tooley's Boatyard Trust, a charitable organisation run by a group of local waterways enthusiasts, who are passionate about sharing the dry dock's rich history with fellow boaters and the wider community.

The trust is working towards unveiling new visitor attractions in 2022, alongside some exciting longer-term plans. Revamped exhibitions and new events will create a fantastic customer experience full of rich local history and exciting activities, with something for visitors of all ages.

For more information about Tooley’s Boatyard and boat trips, please visit or call 01295 272917.