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Top 10 August Bank Holiday Destinations

Canal boat holidays are great for families, offering the change to experience life afloat exploring Britain’s beautiful canal network, watching out for wildlife and stopping off at exciting waterside destinations along the way. Pottering along the waterways at walking pace, narrowboat holidays are said to be ‘the fastest way to slow down’. So why not pack up and ship out over the August Bank Holiday aboard one of our fantastic canal boats, equipped with all the key comforts of home - central heating, hot water, TV, WiFi, well-stocked kitchens, showers and flushing toilets.

Here are our 'Top 10 August Bank Holiday Family Destinations Afloat' – all short breaks suitable for beginners:

  1. Visit the Sea Life Centre in Birmingham’s Brindleyplace. From our canal boat hire base at Tardebigge on the Worcester & Birmingham Canal near Bromsgrove, it’s a five-hour, lock-free journey to moorings at Gas Street Basin in Birmingham City Centre. From there Brindleyplace is a short walk away, offering an abundance of shops, restaurants and attractions, including Birmingham’s Sea life Centre, with over 60 displays of freshwater and marine life, and the new Jelly Invaders exhibit offering a glittering underwater wonderland to marvel at.
  2. Explore Sir Titus Salt’s model town at Saltaire. From our narrowboat holiday base at Silsden on the Leeds & Liverpool Canal, it takes seven hours, passing through 11 locks to reach Sir Titus Salt’s famous Victorian industrial model town at Saltaire. Now a UNESCO World Heritage Site, Sir Titus Salt built the textile Mill and entire village for his mill workers, all in a beautiful Italianate style. Places to visit at Saltaire include the magnificent Salt’s Mill where many examples of the work of Bradford born artist David Hockney are on display, and the Shipley Glen Tramway, the oldest working cable tramway in Britain, which takes visitors a quarter of a mile up through woodlands to a popular local beauty spot.
  3. Take a Thames boating holiday and see the Oxford Dinosaurs. From our Oxford base, it’s a tranquil three-hour cruise along the River Thames to moorings at Hythe Bridge, perfect for exploring Oxford’s city centre, including the Oxford University Museum of Natural History. Some of the most important finds during the pivotal early years in the study of palaeontology were made in Oxfordshire, including the full skeleton of Eustreptospondylus in 1871. Today, visitors to the City’s Museum of Natural History can see this incredible skeleton of a carnivore that once walked on its hind legs and had a large head armed with sharp blade-like teeth.
  4. Watch the African painted dogs at Chester Zoo. From our canal boat rental base at Bunbury on the Shropshire Union Canal near Tarporley in Cheshire, it takes seven hours, passing through nine locks to reach the ancient City of Chester. Once there, narrowboat holiday-makers can visit the award-winning Chester Zoo, home to 21,314 animals from 500 species, including a fascinating pack of rare African Painted Dogs.
  5. Watch the Dragon Slayer Show at Warwick Castle. From our Stockton base on the Grand Union Canal in Warwickshire, it’s a seven-hour journey, passing through 20 locks, to reach the beautiful country town of Warwick, with its magnificent medieval castle on the banks of the River Avon. The Castle offers a fantastic family day out with ramparts to climb, the Castle Dungeon, Great Hall, Staterooms and Kingmaker Exhibition to explore, and soaring birds of prey and trebuchet firing displays to watch. And each evening of the August bank holiday weekend (24-27 August), the spectacular Dragon Slayer show will be on, with light shows on the walls of the castle, fire-jousting and live action stunts.
  6. Visit the Shropshire Lake District. On a short break from our canal barge holiday hire centre at Trevor on the Llangollen Canal in North Wales, boaters can reach the Shropshire town of Ellesmere in seven hours, passing through four locks. Along the way, canal boat holiday-makers encounter the incredible UNESCO World Heritage designated Pontcysyllte Aqueduct, which carries the canal in a cast iron trough 38 metres high above the Dee Valley. Once at Ellesmere, boaters can explore the Shropshire Lake District, including the Mere with its Victorian gardens, woodland paths, historic castle and abundance of wildlife.
  7. Discover the secret life of the Tudors in Stratford-upon-Avon. From our narrowboat hire base at Wootton Wawen on the Stratford Canal, it’s a delightful six-hour, 17-lock cruise journey through the Warwickshire countryside to Bancroft Basin in the centre of Stratford-upon-Avon. From there, it’s a short walk to the town’s theatres, shops, restaurants and museums, including Tudor World where visitors can find out what life was really like during Shakespeare’s time, from dining and sleeping, to plague and poo!
  8. Enjoy some historic holiday fun the Black Country Living Museum. From our Tardebigge base on the Worcester & Birmingham Canal near Bromsgrove, it’s an eight-hour, three-lock journey to moorings at the Black Country Living Museum. Visitors to the Museum this summer can discover the hobbies and pastimes that entertained Black Country people from Victorian times to the 1930’s. From cooking demonstrations, silent films, street games, school lessons and a traditional fairground, to pop-up dramas, vintage music and themed evening events, there’s a whole host of period entertainment on offer over the August Bank Holiday weekend.
  9. Marvel at the Caen Hill flight of locks at Devizes. From our barge holiday base on the Kennet & Avon Canal at Brassknocker Basin in Bath, it’s a nine-hour journey, travelling 15 miles and passing through eight locks, to Fox Hanger Wharf at the base of the mighty Caen Hill flight of 29 locks at Devizes. Said to be one of The Seven Wonders of the Waterways, the breath-taking sight of the 16 locks in a row climbing Caen Hill is truly one of the most spectacular of Britain’s inland waterways. Once there, the historic market town of Devizes is a short walk away, with its Wadworth Brewery Visitor Centre and famous shire horses making daily deliveries, plus a range of independent shops, pubs and restaurants, including the ‘Peppermill Restaurant’ and the Bear Hotel.
  10. Get close to nature at Fradley Pool Nature Reserve. From our canal barge holiday base at Great Haywood in Staffordshire, on a short break boaters can cruise along the Trent & Mersey Canal to Fradley Junction at Alrewas near Burton-on-Trent, a journey which takes six hours, travelling 12 miles and passing through five locks. Picturesque Fradley, where the Coventry Canal meets the Trent & Mersey Canal, offers visitors guided walks, a café, two pubs and the award-winning Fradley Pool Nature Reserve, home to an abundance of creatures. Along the way, boaters pass the Shugborough Estate with its stunning Georgian Mansion House and a number of rural family-friendly pubs, including Mossley Tavern at Rugeley.

To book a holiday or break on any of Anglo Welsh’s fleet, call our friendly booking team on 0117 304 1122.