Anglo Welsh’s Top 8 October Half Term Breaks
- Step back in time at the Black Country Living Museum at Dudley… from our Tardebigge base on the Worcester & Birmingham Canal near Bromsgrove, it’s an eight-hour, three-lock journey to moorings outside the 26-acre open-air Black Country Living Museum. Here visitors can step back in time and meet costumed characters explaining what it was like to live and work in one of the world’s most heavily industrialised landscapes, explore period shops and homes, have a drink in the ‘Bottle & Glass Inn’ and take a ride on a vintage tram or bus. ***For the Kids – enjoy a trip ‘into the thick’ experiencing life in an 1850s coal mine, have a ride on the fun fair, attend a Victorian school lesson and sample the Museum’s famous traditionally cooked Fish & Chips. Special Halloween-themed Half Term activities include critter-themed trails, tales, street games, crafts and a visit to the Quack Doctor who will be cashing in on the dirt and disease of the 19th century!
- See the dinosaurs 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 a short break exploring Oxford, including the University’s Museum of Natural History. Housed in a stunning example of neo-Gothic architecture, this fascinating museum holds the University’s internationally significant collections of geological and zoological specimens, including the Oxfordshire dinosaurs, the Dodo and ‘swifts in the tower’. ***For the Kids – the Museum’s October half term activities ‘Through the Lens’ offers the chance to explore the Museum through the eyes of people and animals with exciting activities all about vision and photography. Drop-in sessions run from Mon 24 October to Weds 26 October, 1-4pm.
- Drink the magic waters at Bath’s Roman Baths… from our base on the Kennet & Avon Canal in the historic town of Bradford on Avon in Wiltshire, boaters can reach Bath Top Lock in just six hours. From there, it’s a 15-minute walk to Bath City Centre and the fascinating Romans Baths. Constructed around 70 AD to take advantage of the site’s natural hot springs, this magnificent Roman bathing complex and temple built in honour of the goddess of Sulis Minerva, is now one of the best preserved Roman remains in the world. ***For the Kids – meet Roman costumed characters and listen to their ancient stories, see the fearsome Temple Gorgon’s head animation, take a sip of spa water in the Pump Room believed to have healing powers and play the interactive ‘Roman Rush’ tax collecting game. ‘The Big Draw: Ex Libris’ is the Museum’s special half term activity, offering families the chance to learn a bit of Latin and make a Roman bookmark, 24-28 October, 10am-1pm & 2pm-4pm.
- Mess with mechanical art in Stratford upon Avon… from our base at Wootton Wawen on the narrow Stratford Canal in Henley in Arden, it’s a delightful six-hour, 17-lock cruise journey through the Warwickshire countryside to Bancroft Basin, in the centre of Stratford-upon-Avon, the birthplace of William Shakespeare. From here, the machine-infested MAD (Mechanical Art & Design) Museum, with over 100 pieces of Kinetic Art and Automata from artists around the World, is within easy reach. ***For the Kids – mechanical art is loud, fun and interactive and kids are encouraged to press buttons and be hands-on with the machines on display, subtly teaching them about design, physics and maths.
- Visit rare British livestock breeds at the Shugborough Estate… just a few miles along the Trent & Mersey Canal from our base at Great Haywood, near Stafford, canal boat holiday-makers can stop-off at the stunning Shugborough Historic Estate. Once the home of Lord Patrick Lichfield, this Georgian Manor house with magnificent riverside grounds, is now the UK’s only Complete Working Historic Estate, with working kitchens, dairy, water mill, Brewhouse and Farm, all manned by historic costumed guides. Shugborough is also one of just 20 Rare Breeds Survival Trust Farms in the UK, home to breeds rarer than the Giant Panda, including Boreray sheep and Middle White Pigs. ***For the Kids – ride on the Land Train, visit the Play Park and interactive learning gallery at the Georgian Park Farm, take a woodland walk, watch costumed characters cheese-making, milling, brewing and baking, and see the reconstructed Victorian schoolroom and puppet collection.
- Take a trip up ‘The Cathedral of the Canals’… from our base on the Shropshire Union Canal at Bunbury, the incredible Anderton Boat Lift is a nine-hour, 10-lock cruise away. Perched on the banks of the River Weaver Navigation like a giant three-storey high iron spider, the Anderton Boat Lift lifts boats 50ft from the River Weaver Navigation up to the Trent & Mersey Canal in two giant water tanks. No description can adequately convey the sheer scale of this masterpiece of Victorian engineering! ***For the Kids – interactive and cinematic visitor centre, watch the workings of the lift control centre and Edwin Clark boat trips.
- Travel across ‘The Stream in the Sky’… just five minutes by boat from our canal boat hire base on the Llangollen Canal at Trevor, the incredible Pontcysyllte Aqueduct 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. On a short break from Trevor, boaters can cross the aqueduct and continue east to reach the Ellesmere Lakes, teaming with wildlife and return back across the aqueduct to Llangollen to visit the town’s historic Steam Railway. ***For the Kids – Take the Halloween Train on 30 October at 6.30pm spooky story telling through the dark and creepy Dee Valley. Book in advance, adult tickets £16, children £10.
- Cruise to the Canal Museum at Stoke Bruerne… from our Stockton base on the Grand Union Canal in Warwickshire, the pretty canalside village of Stoke Bruerne with its intriguing Canal Museum, is 13 hours and 17 locks away. Housed in an historic corn mill, the Canal Museum offers a treasure trove of canal curiosities, including fascinating films, canal craft collections, models of working boats and displays all about the history of our waterways, from the great engineers and the navvies who created them to the boat families, leggers and lock keepers who lived and worked on them. While in Stoke Bruerne, visitors can also enjoy waterside pubs, woodland walks, towpath history trails and a wildlife reserve in the former brickworks. ***For the Kids – dress in traditional canal costume, visit the re-creation of a boat builder’s workshop, explore historic working boat ‘Sculptor’, watch early footage of working boats and visit the waterside café.