Anglo Welsh’s top 10 Canal Boat Holidays for 2016!
1. Visit Oxford afloat aboard ‘Delphinus’…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. Part of our new ‘Constellation’ fleet, the luxurious 12-berth ‘Delphinus’ will be available to hire from our Oxford base. With more space to chill out inside and extra room to relax outside, plus a large TV and Wifi, this stylish boat is perfect for extended family holidays or a city break afloat for groups of girls or boys. New ‘Constellation’ boats will also be available at Trevor, Wootton Wawen, Bunbury and Bradford on Avon.
2. Mark the Leeds & Liverpool Canal’s Bicentenary…in 2016 it will be 200 years since the magnificent Leeds & Liverpool Canal was completed. Stretching for 127 miles, the Leeds & Liverpool Canal was the earliest of the trans-Pennine canals to be proposed and the longest in Britain built as a single waterway. From our base at Silsden on the Leeds & Liverpool, on a short break canal boat holiday-makers can head east to reach the Sir Titus Salt’s model town at Saltaire, passing through the Grade I Listed ‘Bingley Five Rise’ locks. On a week’s break, boaters can continue on to Leeds, mooring close to the Royal Armouries Museum, home of our national collection of arms and armour.
3. Rome around Roman Bath…from our base on the Kennet & Avon Canal at the historic town of Bradford on Avon in Wiltshire, boaters can reach the World Heritage City of Bath in seven hours. Stunning examples of Georgian architecture, including the Royal Crescent, the Roman Baths where the thermal water still steams today and a thriving programme of festivals, including the International Music Festival which runs from 20-30 May 2016, are just some of the many things to see and do there.
4. Cruise the Cheshire Ring…in 2016 it will be 40 years since the Cheshire Ring was restored. Travelling 97 miles, through 92 locks, it takes around 55 hours to cruise this superb canal ring. From our base at Bunbury, the journey can be done on a two-week break. Head north from Middlewich passing the Anderton Boat Lift (AKA “The Cathedral of the Canals”) and on to Preston Brook and Warrington, before turning east to Manchester. The route runs past the world-renowned football stadiums of Old Trafford and the Ethiad, then out of Manchester onto the Macclesfield Canal, where peace and tranquillity returns as the canal becomes a quiet sleepy route through gorgeous rolling hills.
5. Travel through Shakespeare country…in 2016 will be 400 years since the death of the Bard. To mark the date, take a cruise through the Warwickshire countryside, starting at our Woowen Wawen base near Henley in Arden. It takes six hours, travelling through 17 locks to reach Stratford upon Avon where narrowboat holiday-makers can moor up at Bancroft Basin, close the Swan Theatre and other Shakespeare hotspots.
6. Commemorate the Brindley 300…in 2016 it will be 300 years since the birth of James Brindley, one of the greatest engineers of the 18th century. Brindley built 365 miles of canals, including the Trent & Mersey, Coventry, Oxford and Staffordshire & Worcestershire canals. From our base at Great Haywood, at the junction of the Trent & Mersey and Staffs & Worcs canals, canal boat holiday-makers can remember Brindley with a short break to Fradley, meandering through the Trent Valley and passing the grounds of Lord Lichfield’s Shugborough Hall. Or on a week’s holiday, boaters can reach historic Market Drayton, home of the gingerbread man, passing through the beautiful ‘Tixall Wide’, bursting with wildlife.
7. Celebrate the Year of the Monkey with a visit to Chester Zoo…beginning on 8 February 2016, it’s the Chinese year of the Monkey. It’s said that those born under the year of the Monkey share the animal’s intelligence, wit, inventiveness and problem solving strengths, as well as its playful nature. Celebrity Monkeys include Leonardo da Vinci, Mick Jaggar, Charles Dickins, Macauley Culkin, Elizabeth Taylor, Diana Ross and Mel Gibson. From our base at Bunbury, Chester is a delightful seven-hour and nine-lock cruise away, passing through rolling Cheshire landscape. Once there, canal boat holiday-makers can celebrate the year of the Monkey with a visit to Chester Zoo, home to a variety of monkey species, including Spider Monkeys, Sulawesi Macaques and Howler Monkeys.
8. Visit the World Heritage Status Pontcysyllte Aqueduct…the Llangollen Canal’s incredible Pontcysyllte Aqueduct in North Wales is truly one of the Seven Wonders of the Waterways. Its cast iron trough is supported on iron arched ribs and carried 38 metres high above the Dee Valley on 19 hollow pillars. In 2009 it was granted World Heritage status, putting it on an equal footing with the Great Barrier Reef and Taj Mahal. From our base at Trevor, the aqueduct is a 20-minute cruise away. Boaters can then continue east to reach the Ellesmere Lakes, also known as the Shropshire Lake District and then head back west to the delightful town of Llangollen, with its fascinating Steam Railway Centre.
9. Head to Devizes and the Caen Hill Flight…from our base at Bath, Fox Hanger Wharf, at the base to the magnificent Caen Hill flight of locks at Devizes, is 10 hours and eight locks away. Devizes is an historic market town with a colourful medieval past and plenty of good eateries. It’s also the start point for the gruelling annual 127-mile long Devizes to Westminster International Canoe Race, beginning on 25 March in 2016.
10. Potter along to Stoke Bruerne canal village…from our Stockton base on the Grand Union Canal in Warwickshire, the pretty canalside village of Stoke Bruerne is 13 hours and 17 locks away. Stoke Bruerne is home to a variety of historic pubs and eateries, a treasure trove of canal curiosities at the Canal Museum, the southern end of the spooky 2,813-metre long Blisworth Tunnel and the popular Village at War event, held each September.Tags: Anglo Welsh, Barging, Canal Boats, Canals, English Countryside, Mother's Day, Narrow Boats, Staycation, UK Waterways, Waterway Holidays