Explore our Top 6 Military Destinations Afloat
Explore our Top 6 Military Destinations Afloat
Britain’s 3,000-mile network of canals and navigable rivers provide canal boat holiday-makers fantastic waterway adventures, with access to hundreds of exciting destinations in waterside villages, towns and cities along the way.
To celebrate Armed Forces Day on Saturday 29 June, and the 15% discount we give to members of the Armed Forces, we’ve put together a list of our Top 6 canal boat holiday destinations with military links:
- Discover the Hack Green Secret Nuclear Bunker – from our canal boat rental base at Bunbury on the Shropshire Union Canal in Cheshire, it takes around three-and-a-half hours, travelling nine miles and passing through just two locks, to reach moorings close to the Hack Green Secret Nuclear Bunker Museum. This fascinating blast-proof underground bunker was once of the nation’s most secret defence sites, and would have been the centre of Regional Government had nuclear war broken out. It was decommissioned in 1993, and today it offers visitors the chance to see the government’s preparations for nuclear war as well as the largest public display of nuclear weapons in Europe.
- Browse the nine galleries of the Royal Armouries Museum - from our narrowboat hire base at Silsden on the Leeds & Liverpool Canal, it takes around 17 hours to cruise to Leeds City Centre, home of the Royal Armouries Museum, passing through 28 locks along the way. Home to the national collection of arms and armour, there are thousands of objects from across the world to admire displayed in nine galleries, including the ‘War Gallery’ which houses a longbow from the wreck of the Mary Rose, a Maxim Machine Gun, a model of the Battle of Agincourt and the oldest surviving European horse armour.
- Explore over 900 years of history at Oxford Castle - from our canal boat hire base at Eynsham on the River Thames near Witney, it takes around three-and-a-half hours, passing through three locks, to reach moorings in the centre of Oxford, just a ten-minute walk from Oxford Castle. This imposing 11th century earthwork motte-and-bailey castle was founded by the Norman baron Robert D’Oilly the elder in 1071. Most of the fortress was destroyed in the English Civil War and by the 18th century, the remaining buildings had become Oxford’s local prison. Tours of the Castle are led by costumed character guides who lead guests up the Saxon St George’s Tower for panoramic views of the city, as well as deep underground to the 900-year old crypt, through the austere confines of the 18th century Debtor’s Tower and Prison D-Wing, and up the Mound of the castle.
- Find out about the last cavalry charge at the Warwickshire Yeomanry Museum – from our narrowboat hire base at Stockton on the Grand Union Canal in Warwickshire, it takes seven hours, passing through 20 locks to reach the county town of Warwick, home of the Yeomanry Museum. This small museum, based in The Court House, on Jury Street in Warwick, celebrates the history of the Warwickshire Yeomanry from 1794 to 1956, including the last classic unsupported Cavalry Charge of the Great War, with a collection of uniforms, weapons, medals and memorabilia.
- Get close to medieval warfare at Chirk Castle – from our narrowboat hire base at Trevor on the Llangollen Canal in North Wales, it takes just over an hour to reach Chirk, passing over the incredible Pontcysyllte Aqueduct along the way, which this year celebrates 10 years of World Heritage Status. The National Trust’s Chirk Castle, one of a chain of fortresses built on the Welsh-English border by Edward I, is a 30-minute walk up from the canal. Started in 1295, Chirk Castle features round 'drum' towers that allowed archers a wide firing field and created a 'killing zone' where the fields of fire overlapped. The towers are wider at ground level making it difficult for siege towers and battering rams to get close. Visitors today can explore lavishly furnished rooms, the Adam Tower - complete with its two-level dungeons, medieval toilets and murder holes - and enjoy walking through the Castle’s lovely gardens and parkland full of ancient trees, wildflowers and birds. Chirk can also be reached on a week’s holiday from our new canal boat hire base on the Llangollen Canal at Whixall.
- Learn about the siege of Skipton Castle – from our canal boat rental base at Silsden on the Leeds & Liverpool Canal in West Yorkshire, it takes just over three hours (travelling six miles with no locks) to reach Skipton with its 900-year old fortress, one of the most complete and best preserved medieval castles in England. Visitors to this impressive stone castle, which withstood a three-year siege during the Civil War, can climb from the depths of the Dungeon to the top of the Watch Tower, exploring the magnificent Banqueting Hall, Kitchen, Bedchamber and Privy in between. Skipton Castle also has some fabulous woodland walking trails to explore. For nearly a thousand years these woods provided fuel, food and building materials for the castle’s inhabitants. Today, there are at least 18 species of trees to admire there, as well as hundreds of flowering plants, including wild orchids and bluebells.