Anglo Welsh’s Top 10 Easter Holidays Afloat
Narrowboat holidays offer the chance to enjoy a fantastic family adventure holiday afloat. So why not ship out this Easter to explore the Great British countryside as it bursts into life with spring lambs, busy birds, blossom and new leaves.
And stop-off along the way to visit exciting waterside visitor attractions hosting special Easter activities.
Here are our Top 10 family destinations this Easter to help you plan ahead:
- Check out the new arrivals at Chester Zoo. From our canal boat hire base on the Shropshire Union Canal at Bunbury, the Roman City of Chester is a delightful seven-hour, nine-lock cruise away, travelling through the rolling Cheshire landscape. Once there, canal boat holiday-makers can visit Chester Zoo, home to over 15,000 animals, living in 125 acres of award-winning zoological gardens. New arrivals include a rare baby Sulawesi crested macaque monkey, ‘Diego Junior’ an endangered giant otter, ‘Murchison’ the baby giraffe and two baby elephants.
- Glide across ‘The Stream in the Sky’. Just five minutes by boat from our base on the Llangollen Canal at Trevor, boaters encounter the incredible World Heritage Status Pontcysyllte Aqueduct, truly one of the ‘Seven Wonders of the Waterways’. Its cast iron trough, along which boats travel, is supported on iron arched ribs and carried 38 metres high above the Dee Valley on 19 hollow pillars. On a short break from Trevor, boaters can cross the aqueduct and then continue east to reach the Ellesmere Lakes, teaming with wildlife. On a week’s break, boaters can cruise on to the historic market town of Whitchurch, with its striking half-timbered buildings, independent shops and restaurants, way-marked circular walks, and numerous pubs, including the award-winning Black Bear.
- Enjoy Egg-citing Easter activities at 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 outside the Black Country Living Museum. From 8-23 April the Museum will be hosting an array of family activities, including a ‘m-egg-a hunt across the 26-acre site, exploring shops and houses to solve clues, egg rolling competitions, eggy craft activities, traditional street games, Victorian school lessons, a trip into an 1850s coal mine and the chance to enjoy freshly baked hot cross buns from their bakery and traditionally cooked fish & chips.
- Get brainy at the Oxford University Museum of Natural History. 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 awesome Oxford University Museum of Natural History, home to the University’s internationally significant collections of geological and zoological specimens, including the Oxfordshire dinosaurs, the Dodo and the swifts in the Tower. This Easter, visitors can enjoy their special ‘Brain Diaries’ exhibition (10 March 2017 to 1 January 2018), which chronicles the fascinating physical developments our brains undergo as we grow from babies to children, teenagers and then adults.
- Join the Medieval Easter activities at the Royal Armouries Museum. From our base at Silsden on the Leeds & Liverpool Canal, on a week’s holiday, canal boat holiday-makers can travel to Leeds and back, cruising for a total of 34 hours and passing through 56 locks. Here, boaters can moor up and explore the Royal Armouries Museum at Leeds Dock, home of the national collection of arms and armour. From Saturday 8 to Sunday 23 April, the Museum will be hosting a range of medieval-themed events and activities, with an exciting gallery programme of live interpretations, dramatic performances, and combat demonstrations, plus the Knight’s Apprentice Horse Show, Knight School, Falconry Flying Displays and medieval dance workshops.
- Meet a Roman soldier at the Roman Baths. From our base on the Kennet & Avon Canal at the historic town of Bradford on Avon in Wiltshire, boaters can reach Bath Top Lock, in just six hours, travelling through one lock and over two beautiful Bath stone aqueducts. From there, it’s a 15-minute walk into Bath City Centre and the Roman Baths, where visitors can see the remarkably preserved remains of one of the greatest religious spas of the ancient world and meet costumed characters, including a Roman soldier, stonemason, slave girl and priest, bringing to life the people who lived and worked at Aquae Sulis 2,000 years ago.
- Find a tropical butterfly paradise at the Stratford-upon-Avon Butterfly Farm. From our base at Wootton Wawen on the Stratford Canal, it’s a delightful six-hour, 17-lock cruise journey through the Warwickshire countryside to moorings in the centre of Stratford-upon-Avon. From here, it’s a short walk to the town’s theatres, shops, restaurants and museums, as well as the Stratford-upon-Avon Butterfly Farm, where visitors can see some of the world’s largest and most camouflaged caterpillars on show, find out about the amazing lifecycle of a butterfly within the Farm’s Emerging Cage and observe the fascinating Mini-Beast Metropolis, inhabited by stick insects, beetles, leafcutter ants and some of the world’s largest tarantula spiders.
- Step back in time at Fradley Junction. From our base at Great Haywood, near Stafford, it’s a peaceful six-hour journey along the Trent & Mersey Canal to Fradley Junction, near Burton-on-Trent, where the Trent & Mersey Canal meets the Coventry Canal. Here visitors can find out about the people who once lived at Fradley Junction, repairing boats and locks, the cottages they lived in, the maintenance yard where they worked and the pub where they swapped gossip after a hard day’s work. There’s an audio trail to follow and wildlife to spot at the Fradley Pool Nature Reserve, with a bird hide and pond dipping platform.
- Wonder 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 jaw-dropping medieval castle on the banks of the River Avon. Dating back to William the Conqueror, Warwick Castle offers a fantastic day out with ramparts to climb, the Castle Dungeon, Great Hall and Staterooms to explore, the sights, sounds and smells of the medieval period to experience in the Kingmaker exhibition, soaring birds of prey and trebuchet firing displays to watch, the Horrible Histories Maze to navigate and landscaped gardens to tour.
- Explore Brunel’s SS Great Britain in Bristol’s Floating Harbour*. From our base on the Kennet & Avon Canal at Sydney Wharf in Bath, Bristol’s Floating Harbour is an eight-hour cruise away, travelling through 13 locks. Once there, narrowboat holiday-makers can moor-up and take time to explore Brunel’s awesome SS Great Britain, one of the most important historic ships in the world. Special activities planned this Easter include an Easter Animal Trail for families to follow clues in search of creatures that traditionally travelled on board the ship, and volunteer-led talks about the ship’s first voyage to Australia, with tales of murder, mystery, life changing success and spectacular failure. *NB this route is recommended route for experienced boaters.