Instagram
YouTube

Top 7 holidays for 2025

Visit Stratford upon Avon on a canal boat holiday

Top 7 canal boat and narrowboat holidays in England and Wales for 2025

Our 2025 holidays are now available to book at 2024 prices with an early booking discount*

1. Cruise through the countryside to Whitchurch and back

On a mid-week break from Bunbury, you can cruise to Whitchurch.  The journey there and back travels 35 miles, through 40 locks and takes around 20 hours. You’ll first head south through Bunbury Locks and on to Barbridge Junction, where the Middlewich Branch meets the Shropshire Union Canal. At Hurleston Junction you’ll transfer onto the Llangollen Canal. Cruise on through the countryside and stop at bridge 12 for a walk to the Farmers Arms in the village of Ravensmoor. Soon after you’ll reach Wrenbury, with the canalside Dusty Miller and Cotton Arms.  Continue on to Marbury, home to the Swan Inn. Then on to Grindley Brook Locks and historic Whitchurch, with independent shops and restaurants, way-marked walks and award-winning Black Bear pub.

2. See the spectacular flight of locks at Devizes

On a short break from Bradford on Avon you can cruise east along the Kennet & Avon Canal to the Caen Hill locks at Devizes. The journey there and back goes through 14 locks and takes around 15 hours.  You’ll pass the canalside King’s Arms pub at Hilperton Marina. The journey continues east through Semington and Seend, with its canalside Barge Inn.  Soon after you’ll reach the base of the Caen Hill flight of 29 locks at Devizes, one of the ‘Seven Wonders of the Waterways’. From the canal it’s a short walk to the historic market town of Devizes, with places to visit including the Wadworth Brewery Visitor Centre, Bear Hotel, Peppermill Restaurant and Dolcipani Bakery.

3. Glide across ‘The Stream in the Sky’ to Ellesmere

From Trevor on the Llangollen Canal in North Wales, the incredible Pontcysyllte Aqueduct is minutes away. This UNESCO World Heritage structure carries canal boat holiday-makers 38 metres high in the air above the River Dee. On a short break from Trevor you can cross the aqueduct and then continue east through Chirk, with a choice of canalside pubs.  Then on to the historic town of Ellesmere in the heart of the Shropshire Lake District. The journey to Ellesmere and back travels 28 miles, passes through four locks and takes around 14 hours.

4. Cruise along the River Thames to the Cotswolds

On a mid-week break from our Oxford base you can cruise along the River Thames to Lechlade on the edge of the Cotswolds.  The journey there and back takes 18 hours and passes through 14 locks.  Along the way, you’ll enjoy views of the peaceful Oxfordshire countryside.  You’ll pass through small villages along the way, including Radcot with its Swan Hotel. And Kelmscott with its picturesque Plough Inn and beautiful Grade I listed riverside Kelmscott Manor, once the inspirational Cotswold retreat of William Morris.

5. Travel round the Avon Ring

On a 10-day or two-week break from Wootton Wawen on the Stratford Canal you can travel round the epic Avon Ring. The journey takes around 58 hours and passes through 131 locks. Heading south from Wootton Wawen, you’ll connect with the River Avon at Shakespear’es Stratford-upon-Avon.  From there, you’ll cruise through the countryside to Evesham and then Tewkesbury, where the Avon joins the River Severn.  You’ll cruise for 16 miles along the River Severn before reaching Worcester. The route then travels up the Worcester & Birmingham Canal to its junction with the Stratford Canal at Kings Norton.  You’ll pass through the mighty Tardebigge flight of 30 locks along the way. At Kings Norton, head south along the Stratford Canal back to return to Wootton Wawen, passing through Lapworth and Lowsonford.

6. Boat to Fazeley and Drayton Manor Park

On a week’s holiday from Great Haywood you can cruise through the Staffordshire countryside to Fazeley and back.  The journey there and back travels 48 miles, passes through 10 locks and takes around 22 hours.  First head south along the Trent & Mersey Canal past Little Haywood, with Red Lion and Lamb & Flag pubs.  Cruise on past the Wolseley Bridge, with canalside Wolseley Arms pub and access to the Staffordshire Wildlife Trust’s Wolseley Centre.  Continue on, now passing through Cannock Chase, a designated Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. Cross Brindley Bank Aqueduct and continue towards the historic town of Rugeley. At Fradley Junction transfer onto the Coventry Canal. Next you’ll pass through a series of villages, including Whittington, home of The Swan pub. At Fazeley Junction turn right and moor up between Tolson’s Footbridge and Coleshill Road Bridge.  From there you can walk to Drayton Manor Park.

7. Visit the World Heritage village at Saltaire

On a short break from Silsden on the Leeds & Liverpool Canal you can travel to Sir Titus Salt’s model town at Saltaire.  The journey to Saltaire and back travels 18 miles, takes 13.5 hours and passes through 22 locks. Along the way you’ll encounter the Bingley Five Rise locks, one of the ‘Seven Wonders of the Waterways’. These cavernous chambers raise (or lower) boats 18 metres.  They open directly from one to another, with the top gate of one forming the bottom of the next. It takes around one-and-a-half hours to pass through and there are lock keepers on hand to help. Cruise on through Stockbridge and Riddlesden and then you’ll reach Saltaire, near Shipley.  Now a World Heritage site, Sir Titus Salt built the textile Mill and entire village for his mill workers at Saltaire. Today, Salt’s Mill is home to examples of the work of Bradford born artist David Hockney.

*If you book your 2025 canal holiday by 31 August 2024, you can book at 2024 prices with a 10% discount. T’s & C’s apply.

To check availability and book click here or call us on 0117 463 3419.

Tags:

Father’s Day canal boat cruise

Enjoy a family day out canal boating on Father's Day

Enjoy a relaxing family day out boating on the canals on Father’s Day 

Cruising along a peaceful canal and stopping off for a pub lunch along the way, is a great way to bring the family together on Father’s Day (Sunday 16 June).

We offer self-drive day boat hire from six of our bases, with prices starting at £99 on weekdays, £150 on weekends and bank holidays.

Full tuition is included so we can help you get the hang of steering, mooring up and working the locks. Our day boats have a toilet, fridge, kettle, cutlery, cups and plates – perfect for a picnic afloat. Or you can you can stop-off for lunch at a canalside pub or restaurant nearby.

Here’s a guide to our six day boat bases and top destinations:

  1. Glide across ‘The Stream in the Sky’ – you can cruise across the Pontcysyllte Aqueduct from our canal boat hire base at Trevor on the Llangollen Canal in North Wales. Standing at over 38 metres high, the UNESCO World Heritage Pontcysyllte Aqueduct is often referred to as ‘The Stream in the Sky’. There are a choice of canalside pubs to stop off at, including The Bridge Inn at Chirk Bank.
  2. Cruise along the Stratford Canal to the Fleur de Lys at Lowsonford – from Wootton Wawen on the Stratford Canal near Henley-in-Arden, it takes around three-and-a-half hours to reach the Fleur de Lys canalside pub at Lowsonford.  The route takes you through the Warwickshire countryside and the remains of the Forest of Arden, passing through eight locks each way.
  3. Boat along the Kennet & Avon Canal to the Cross Guns at Avoncliff – on a day out boating from Bradford on Avon in Wiltshire, you can cruise through the Bath Valley to Brassknocker Basin and back. There are a choice of places to stop for lunch, including the Cross Guns pub at Avoncliff.
  4. Navigate through the Shropshire countryside to the Boathouse at Ellesmere – from Whixall Marina you can cruise along the Llangollen Canal to Ellesmere and back. You can moor up on the Ellesmere Branch and take a short walk through the town to enjoy lunch at the waterside Boathouse restaurant on the Mere. The journey to Ellesmere and back takes around six hours.
  5. Float along the Trent & Mersey Canal to the Ash Tree pub at Rugeley – on a day out from Great Haywood you can cruise to the historic market town of Rugeley and enjoy lunch at the canalside Ash Tree pub. Along the way, you’ll pass the Wolseley Arms in Wolseley Bridge. The return journey to Rugeley and back takes around six hours, passing through two locks each way.
  6. Cruise ‘The Shroppie’ to The Cheshire Cat at Nantwich – from Bunbury on the Shropshire Union Canal, you can cruise to Nantwich and back in a day.  There’s a choice of pubs at Nantwich, including the Cheshire Cat. And you’ll pass the canalside Barbridge Inn at Barbridge.  The journey to Nantwich and back takes around six hours.

To find out more about our day boat hire and to book, go to https://www.anglowelsh.co.uk/our-boats/our-dayboat-fleet/

Or call us on 0117 304 1122

Top 6 Easter family canal boat holidays

Canal boat holidays on the Worcester & Birmingham Canal

Take to the water this Easter to enjoy a family boating adventure

You can cruise slowly through the spring countryside aboard your own floating holiday home and stop off at exciting waterside destinations along the way.

From medieval fortresses, battles and jousting, to the Worlds biggest Cadbury shop, here’s a guide to our top 6 family canal boat holiday destinations this Easter:

  1. Explore the medieval fortress at Chirk – from our base at Trevor on the Llangollen Canal in North Wales, it takes just over an hour to reach Chirk.  On the way you’ll cross the incredible UNESCO World Heritage Pontcysyllte Aqueduct. Once moored-up, it’s a half-hour walk up to the National Trust’s Chirk Castle, with dungeons and murder holes, and a wild play area to explore.
  2. Watch live-action jousting at the Royal Armouries Museum – on a week’s break from Silsden on the Leeds & Liverpool Canal you can travel to Leeds and back.  The journey to Leds takes 17 hours and passes through 29 locks. Over the Easter weekend (29 March to 1 April) the waterside Royal Armouries Museum will be hosting its spectacular International Jousting Tournament, with teams from the UK, France and Italy.
  3. Tour the Roman Baths – from Monkton Combe on the Kennet & Avon Canal it takes around four hours, passing through six locks to reach Bath City Centre.  From there it’s a short walk to the Roman Baths Museum, where you can see the remarkably preserved remains of one of the greatest religious spas of the ancient world.
  4. Join the annual Easter Boat Gathering at Ellesmere Port – over the Easter Weekend (29 March to 1 April), the National Waterways Museum at Ellesmere Port in Cheshire celebrates the start of the boating season with a large boat gathering, live music and family activities. From our canal boat hire base at Bunbury on the Shropshire Union Canal in Cheshire, it takes 10 hours to reach Ellesmere Port.  You’ll travel 21 miles through 12 locks, passing through the ancient City of Chester along the way.
  5. Visit the Butterfly Farm in Stratford-upon-Avon – from our base at Wootton Wawen on the Stratford Canal, it takes around six hours to reach Bancroft Basin in Shakespeare’s Stratford.  From there, it’s a short walk to the Stratford-upon-Avon Butterfly Farm, home to the UK’s largest tropical butterfly paradise.  You can see hundreds of the world’s most beautiful butterflies flying in an exotic environmental of tropical blossom, waterfalls and fish filled pools.
  6. Explore the Trentham Monkey Forest – from our boatyard at Great Haywood on the Trent & Mersey Canal near Stafford, it takes around 10 hours to reach Stoke bottom lock No. 36.  From there it’s a short walk to the Trentham Monkey Forest, where there are 140 fascinating Barary macaques to see. The journey travels 13 miles and passes through 13 locks.

Click here to check availability and book, or call us on 0117 304 1122.

Top 10 wildlife destinations to enjoy on a canal boat holiday

Top 10 wildlife hotspots to enjoy on a canal boat holiday

There’s so much wildlife to see when you are boating along Britain’s beautiful inland waterways

Our beautiful network of inland waterways were once the transport arteries of the Industrial Revolution, but today they have become important green corridors for wildlife.

When enjoying your canal boat holiday, whether you are cruising through the countryside or waterside towns and cities, you can spot anything from ducks, moorhens and dragonflies, to kingfishers, otters and water voles.

Many areas of our canals and rivers have been designated as important nature sites, recognising the valuable habitats they provide.

To celebrate the wildlife of the waterways, we’ve put together a guide to our top 10 waterway wildlife hotspots:

  1. Chimney Meadows, Oxfordshire

    The Berks, Bucks & Oxon Wildlife Trust’s largest nature reserve in Oxfordshire runs alongside the River Thames, close to Shifford Lock. This vital refuge for wading birds has walking trails, bird hides and a picnic area.  Part of an ancient landscape created by the River Thames and shaped by centuries of farming, these remote and tranquil wildflower meadows have a remarkable diversity of plant-life and are home to nationally declining wading birds such as curlew.  When visiting, you can also look and listen out for cuckoos, barn owls, lapwing, fieldfare, redwing, snipe, brown hares, water voles and otters. Travelling from our Oxford canal boat rental base on the River Thames at Eynsham, you can take a Thames boating holiday and reach Chimney Meadows in just under four hours, cruising for 10 miles and passing through two locks.

  2. Hatton Locks, Warwickshire

    This stunning flight of 21 locks in the Warwickshire countryside offers a great place to watch out for wildlife. As well as ducks, moorhens and swans, you might see house sparrows and grey wagtails at the water’s edge, and on a warm day, grass snakes and slow worms.  Setting off from our base on the Stratford Canal at Wootton Wawen, you can reach the bottom of the Hatton Flight in around eight hours, passing through 17 locks along the way.

  3. Fradley Pool Nature Reserve, Staffordshire

    At Fradley Junction, where the Coventry Canal meets the Trent & Mersey Canal, the picturesque Fradley Pool Nature Reserve is a great place for a family day out. There are walking trails, sculpture trails, places to picnic, as well as a choice places to eat and drink.  Look out for ducks and swans, as well as terrapins basking in the sunshine and bats if you are there at dusk.  Heading south from our base at Great Haywood, you can reach Fradley Junction in around five hours, cruising along 12 peaceful miles of the Trent & Mersey Canal and passing through just five locks.

  4. Ellesmere, Shropshire

    The pretty market town of Ellesmere on the Llangollen Canal in Shropshire is next to The Mere, a large lake packed with wildlife. There are woodland walks, places to eat, drink and picnic, a sculpture trail and adventure playground.  Keep an eye out for many of types of birds, including kingfishers, yellow hammers, tree sparrows, lapwing, sand martins and ringed plovers.  Watch out for wading birds like curlew, greenshank, godwit and whimbrel, as well as herons using the heronry on Moscow Island.  Setting off from our narrowboat hire base on the Llangollen Canal at Trevor, you can reach Ellesmere in around seven hours, passing through just two locks along the way.  And from base at Whixall, Ellesmere is just three-and-a-half hours away by boat.

  5. Caen Hill Locks, Wiltshire

    The flight of 29 locks on the Kennet & Avon Canal at Devizes in Wiltshire, includes the spectacular run of 16 locks falling in a straight line up Caen Hill. Travelling from our Monkton Combe base it takes around 10 hours, passing through eight locks to reach the bottom of the Caen Hill flight.  Along the way, look out for kingfishers, mute swans, coots, moorhens and herons.  Once at Caen Hill, the newly planted Jubilee Woodland is already providing excellent habitat for birds, water voles have been spotted in the Caen Hill side pounds, along with otters and the rare chaser dragonfly.

  6. Marple Locks, Derbyshire

    The flight of 16 locks on the Peak Forest Canal at Marple are surrounded by beautiful countryside and stretches of ancient woodland – home to many types of woodland bird. You can also enjoy fantastic views across the Peak District from here.  From our narrowboat hire base on the Shropshire Union Canal at Bunbury, you can reach the bottom of the Marple Flight in around four days, travelling 68 miles and passing through 36 locks.  The Marple Flight is on the spectacular Four Counties Ring, which takes around 58 hours from Bunbury, or 55 hours from Great Haywood.

  7. Prees Branch Canal, Shropshire  

    This tranquil arm of the Llangollen Canal provides a haven for waterway wildlife, including water plants, dragonflies, damselflies, birds and water voles. Our base at Whixall Marina is on the Prees Branch of the Llangollen Canal and next to the Whixall Moss Nature Reserve, a large wetland site which is home to a range of wading birds, rare plants, butterflies and dragonflies.  From Whixall, you can travel to Ellesmere on a short break (three or four nights) or Llangollen on a week’s narrowboat holiday, passing over the magnificent World Heritage Status Pontcysyllte Aqueduct along the way.

  8. Consall Forge, Staffordshire

    On the beautiful Caldon Canal in the Churnet Valley, next to Consall Nature Park, Consall Forge is a great place to spot wildlife, including water birds, woodland birds and birds of prey. You can moor up to explore the nature trails here and choose from a variety of places to eat, drink, including the popular canalside Black Lion Inn.  From our base at Great Haywood, you can reach Consall Forge in around 20 hours, travelling 33 miles through beautiful countryside, and passing through 34 locks – perfect for a week away.

  9. Bittell Reservoir, Worcestershire  

    Built to supply water for the Worcester & Birmingham Canal, today Bittell Reservoir is a Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI). Over 200 species of water bird have been recorded here, including wintering wading birds and waterfowl, breeding birds such as the great crested grebe, little ringed-plover and grasshopper warbler. Rare silt shoreline plants such as slender spike rush and mudwort can be found here, along with the rare mud snail and five different species of dragonfly. You can reach the Bittell Arm and Lower Reservoir in around 15 two hours from our base on the Stratford Canal at Wootton Wawen.

  10. Bingley, West Yorkshire

    The fields either side of the Leeds & Liverpool Canal at Bingley are full of wildflowers, including Arum Lily, Yellow Flag Iris and Cuckooflower.  The canal itself is home to dragonflies, damselflies, and many water birds. Setting off from our base on the Leeds & Liverpool Canal at Silsden, you can reach the Bingley Five Rise Lock Staircase, one of the Seven Wonders of the Waterways, in just over three hours.

To check availability and book click here, or call us on 0117 304 1122.

Top 8 May bank holiday destinations

Best May bank holiday canal boat holidays

Canal boat holidays are great for families, watching out for wildlife and exploring exciting waterside destinations.

Here’s a guide to our top 8 May bank holiday family destinations – all short breaks suitable for beginners:

  1. Explore Sir Titus Salt’s model town at Saltaire on the Leeds & Liverpool Canal – from Silsden it takes seven hours, passing through 11 locks to reach Sir Titus Salt’s 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 examples of David Hockney’s work 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.
  2. 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 close to Oxford city centre. One of the historic’s city’s most popular destinations for families is the Oxford University Museum of Natural History. Some of the most important finds during the early study of palaeontology were made in Oxfordshire.  This includes the full skeleton of Eustreptospondylus in 1871. Today, visitors to the Museum can see this incredible skeleton of this massive carnivore with sharp blade-like teeth.
  3. Watch the African painted dogs at Chester Zoo – from Bunbury on the Shropshire Union Canal it takes seven hours to reach the ancient City of Chester. Once there, you can moor-up and visit the award-winning Chester Zoo, home to 21,314 animals from 500 species, including a fascinating pack of rare African Painted Dogs.
  4. Visit the Shropshire Lake District – from Whixall on the Llangollen Canal, you can reach Ellesmere in the heart of the Shropshire Lake District. The journey takes seven hours and you’ll pass Cole Mere and Blake Mere along the way.  At Ellesmere there are plenty of visitor moorings, giving you the chance to explore this historic market town with a mix of Tudor, Georgian and Victorian buildings, as well as its famous Mere and woodland walks. There’s a range of places to eat and drink, including The White Hart pub and The Red Lion coaching inn.
  5. Discover the secret life of the Tudors in Stratford-upon-Avon – from Wootton Wawen on the Stratford Canal, it’s a delightful six-hour cruise through the Warwickshire countryside to Shakespeare’s Stratford. From there, it’s a short walk to the town’s theatres, shops, restaurants and museums, including Tudor World. There you can find out what life was really like during Shakespeare’s time, from dining and sleeping, to plague and poo!
  6. Marvel at the Caen Hill flight of locks at Devizes – from Monkton Combe on the Kennet & Avon Canal, it’s a nine-hour journey to 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 is one of the most spectacular of Britain’s inland waterways. Once there, the historic market town of Devizes is a short walk away.  Devizes has a great choice of independent shops, pubs and restaurants, including the ‘Peppermill Restaurant’ and the Bear Hotel.
  7. Get close to nature at Fradley Pool Nature Reserve – from Great Haywood in Staffordshire you can cruise along the Trent & Mersey Canal to Fradley Junction in around six hours. Picturesque Fradley, offers visitors guided walks, a café, two pubs and the award-winning Fradley Pool Nature Reserve. Along the way, you’ll pass the Shugborough Estate with its stunning Georgian Mansion House and a series of pubs.
  8. Travel on the Llangollen Steam Railway – from Trevor on the Llangollen Canal in North Wales, it takes around two hours to cruise to Llangollen. You’ll pass the canalside Sun Trevor pub along the way.  Once in Llangollen, you can moor up in Llangollen Basin to explore the town. And you can experience a journey along the Llangollen Steam Railway.

Click here to book a holidayor call our booking team on 0117 304 1122.

Best narrowboat holiday getaways for couples

Canal boat holiday getaways for couples

A boating break on Britain’s beautiful inland waterways can be a perfect minibreak for couples wanting to experience life in the slow lane

Slow life down to a tranquil three miles per hour and drift along the historic waterways of England and Wales to admire beautiful countryside and fascinating historic towns and cities by narrowboat.

Bath to Bradford-on-Avon

Soak up all the history and culture of the stunning Georgian city of Bath at your own pace. With its famous Roman Baths, its close links with Jane Austen and museum honouring the author, its wonderful range of iconic Regency buildings and much more, Bath is a history lover’s dream. But it is also a lovely modern city to simply meander around, with great shops, restaurants and cafes at every turn, all surrounded by the lush green Somerset hills. It is an easy day cruise through a scenic Cotswold valley boasting some wonderful canalside pubs, to the equally picturesque medieval market town of Bradford-on-Avon with its tithe barn, 13th century bridge and impressive riverside former cloth mills.

Oxford to Lechlade

The ancient university city of Oxford is bursting with history, culture and stunning colleges to be explored. You can wander around the imposing and fascinating Ashmolean, the University of Oxford’s museum of art and archaeology, founded in 1683. Or the smaller Pitts Rivers Museum crammed with artefacts and oddities from all over the world. Take a walk around some of the 38 Oxford University colleges each with their own distinct character and beauty before escaping to the lush greenery of the Oxford botanic garden. It is a tranquil two day cruise along a stunning rural stretch of the River Thames to the glorious Gloucestershire village of Lechlade, in an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty on the edge of the Cotswolds.

Wootton Wawen to Stratford-upon-Avon

Absorb yourself in Shakespeare’s historic hometown, which is a day’s cruise from our base at Wootton Wawen. Once in Stratford-upon-Avon, treat yourselves to a delicious dinner at one of the town’s many welcoming restaurants.  Followed by a production at one of the world renowned Royal Shakespeare Company theatres overlooking the canal basin. Spend a day exploring the medieval town with its Tudor timber-framed houses including Shakespeare’s birthplace and the 500-year-old thatched Anne Hathaway’s cottage.  As well as its many independent shops, pubs and cafes before enjoying a relaxed amble along the River Avon.

Trevor to the Montgomery Canal

If you are wildlife enthusiasts, this is the canal boat holiday route for you. Set out from our Trevor base and immediately cross the jewel of the canal network, the soaring Pontcysyllte Aqueduct, carryings the Llangollen canal 38 metres above the River Dee valley. Just a couple of kilometres later, you’ll pass through the Chirk Tunnel then over the Chirk Aqueduct and into England. Continue heading south among the dramatic Shropshire hills until you reach Frankton Locks where you can turn onto the Montgomery Canal. Affectionately known as the ‘Monty’, this canal snakes through wonderful unspoilt border country where you can truly escape the pressures of modern life. Much of the Monty has been designated a ‘Site of Special Scientific Interest’ due to its abundance of rare wildlife such as the floating water plantain, otters and water voles, so don’t forget to bring your binoculars.

Bunbury to Chester

Head north from Bunbury along the Shropshire Union Canal, crossing the open country of the Cheshire Plain and patchwork quilt fields. You’ll pass the looming ruins of Beeston Castle sitting atop its rocky crag and the delightful village of Christleton before reaching the medieval city walls of Chester. The canal takes you right into the heart of this historic jewel of a city, with its impressive collection of 700-year-old buildings the Rows, great shops, restaurants and cafes, and stunning sandstone cathedral all encircled by the imposing walls. The city is also host to the largest stone-built Roman Amphitheatre in Britain, scene of Britain’s largest archaeological excavation in 2005, the results of which can be seen at the Grosvenor Museum. During the summer months, you may be able to enjoy an outdoor theatre production in the atmospheric surroundings of the amphitheatre.

Silsden to Saltaire

Sitting on the edge of the Yorkshire Dales, our narrowboat base at Silsden is a perfect starting point for a breathtakingly beautiful trip along the Leeds and Liverpool Canal. Heading east, you’ll follow the River Aire valley through dramatic countryside with villages that still carry the hallmarks of their rich industrial past.  There are plenty of good pubs to enjoy along the way. Just outside Keighley, you’ll reach the magnificent Bingley Five-Rise Locks, the steepest flight of locks in the UK and one of the ‘Seven Wonders of the Waterways’. This takes you into the perfectly preserved model village of Saltaire, built in 1853 by Sir Titus Salt for local mill workers and now a World Heritage Site. Admire the giant textile mill, the Salts Mill, which now houses an impressive collection of David Hockney paintings, wonder at this early example of town planning and perhaps even take a trip on the the Shipley Glen Tramway built in 1895 before heading for some refreshment at one of the many cafes and restaurants.

Whixall Marina to Chirk

Whixall marina is surrounded by miles of open countryside, making it a great starting point for a truly peaceful, rural canal boat holiday. Head west along the Llangollen Canal to admire several miles of uninterrupted pastoral beauty before you reach the market town of Ellesmere. This historic town in he heart of the Shropshire Lake District is surrounded by lakese formed by glacial compressions at the end of the last Ice Age. Beyond that, the canal meanders west through the increasingly dramatic hills of the border country that straddles England and Wales.  The 710-ft long and 70-ft high Chirk Aqueduct takes you across the River Ceiriog into North Wales. Admire Thomas Telford’s masterly construction before heading to one of the nearby pubs.

Click here to check availability and book, or call us on 0117 463 3419.

Tags: , , , , , , , , , ,

Top 8 quirky canal boat holiday destinations

Most impressive canal aqueducts

With a 250-year old history, Britain’s canals and rivers have some fascinating destinations and stories to tell

To celebrate the new cruising season ahead, we’ve listed some of the most interesting, quirky and unusual stories on our waterways:

  1. Enjoy the most heart-stopping boat trip in Britain  

    The World Heritage Status Pontcysyllte Aqueduct is a stone’s throw away from our canal boat hire base at Trevor in North Wales. This magnificent feat of engineering was built over 200 years by canal engineers Thomas Telford and William Jessop.  Incredibly, ox blood was added to the lime mortar which binds the structure’s masonry together (forming 18 titanic brick pillars), following an ancient superstition that the blood of a strong animal would strengthen a structure.  And sugar was boiled with Welsh flannel then mixed with tar to seal the cast joints of the structure’s cast iron trough, which carries the Llangollen Canal 38 metres above the Dee Valley.  With not even a handrail on the north side, when travelling across by canal boat, it’s probably the most heart-stopping and exhilarating experience on the canal network!  On a short break from Trevor, you can glide across the Pontcysyllte Aqueduct and travel on to Ellesmere and back.  On a week’s break, you can continue on to the historic market town of Whitchurch, cruising for a total of 24 hours and passing through two locks each way.

  2. Spot the mysterious barrel roofed lock cottages on the Stratford Canal  

    The southern section of the pretty Stratford Canal, running from Bancroft Basin in the centre of Stratford-upon-Avon up to the village of Lapworth, is characterised by split bridges with gaps for the tow ropes of boat horses and a series of curious barrel roofed lock cottages. The reason for these quirky structures is actually purely practical.  Engineers building the canal knew more about building bridges than houses so when they turned their hand to building dwellings for the lock keepers, they adapted their skills, producing barrel-shaped roofs. On a short break from our canal boat hire base at Wootton Wawen on the Stratford Canal near Henley-in-Arden, you can travel to Stratford and back, cruising for a total of 12 hours and passing through 17 locks each way.  On a week’s break you can travel the Birmingham Mini-Ring, cruising for 35 hours and negotiating 83 locks.

  3. Look out for World War II pill boxes on the K&A 

    Following the British Expeditionary Forces’ evacuation from Dunkirk, and the prospect of imminent German invasion, General Sir Edmund Ironside, Commander-in-chief of the Home Forces created a series of static defence lines. One was the Kennet & Avon Canal from Reading to Bristol, named GHQ Stop Line Blue. Pill boxes and tank traps designed by the War Office were built along the canal and manned by the home guard.  Today there are still a large number of pillboxes lining the canal, including one at next to Avoncliff Aqueduct, one at Rotherstone in Devizes, one at Freewarren Bridge at Crofton and two between the canal and the railway line at Hungerford Common.  From our base in Bath, it takes just over three hours to reach Avoncliff Aqueduct, great for a short break.  From Bath, it takes around 29 hours to reach Hungerford, passing through 61 locks along the way – perfect for a 10-day or two-week break.

  4. Visit the birthplace of the canal restoration movement 

    At the top of the mighty 30-lock Tardebigge Flight on the Worcester & Birmingham Canal near Bromsgrove, a plaque commemorates the famous meeting between Tom Rolt and Robert Aickman, which took place aboard Rolt’s Narrowboat ‘Cressy’, moored just above Tardebigge Top Lock. Rolt and Aickman were the passion and brains behind the formation of the Inland Waterways (IWA) in 1946. Their aim was to keep Britain’s canal network navigable and it is thanks to this incredible movement that the canals are in the fantastic shape that they are today, with over 3,000 miles of navigable waterways available to explore.  You can reach the top of the Tardebigge flight on a week’s break from Wootton Wawen.

  5. Navigate the Harecastle Tunnel 

    The Harecastle Tunnel on the Trent & Mersey Canal in Staffordshire links Kidsgrove and Tunstall. But there are actually two tunnels here built 40 years apart by two famous canal engineers – James Brindley and Thomas Telford.  The earlier Brindley tunnel fell into disrepair is long closed, but the Telford tunnel is still used to this day.  At 1.5 miles long, it is one of the longest canal tunnels in Britain and takes around 40 minutes to navigate.  There is only space for one boat to pass through at one time, so you may have to wait to enter.  The tunnel keeper instructs boaters when to go through and what to do.  Back when the tunnel was first built it didn’t have a towpath and so boats had to be ‘legged’ through.  This involves laying a plank of wood across the bows and having people lying across it to literally walk the walls.  From Great Haywood it takes around 12 hours, travelling 22 miles and passing through 18 locks to reach the south end of the Harecastle Tunnel.  From there, on a week or more away, you can continue on to complete the Four Counties Ring, travelling a total of 110 miles and travelling through 94 locks.

  6. Have a pint at the Shroppie Fly 

    Originally a canalside cheese warehouse, the popular Shroppie Fly pub on the Shropshire Union Canal in the picturesque village of Audlem, has a narrowboat as a bar. The name of the pub pays tribute to a type of narrowboat designed for speed in the early days of the canal – particularly important when transporting cheese and fresh farm produce to town and city markets.  Fly-boats were the Amazon Prime of their day, with fine lines to help them to glide easily through water and specially selected elite boatmen and horses to maximise speed, they ran non-stop, day and night.  From Bunbury it takes around five hours to reach Audlem, passing through seven locks to the wharf and passing Nantwich along the way – perfect for a short break.  On a week’s holiday from Bunbury, you can continue on to the Caldon Canal, cruising a total of 48 hours and travelling through 104 locks.

  7. Cruise through a lake on the Staffs & Worcs Canal

    Tixall Wide is a beautiful wide stretch of waterway close to the Staffordshire & Worcestershire Canal’s junction with the Trent & Mersey.  Permission to build the canal was granted by the local landowner Thomas Clifford, on condition that the canal was made wide enough to look like a lake so that it didn’t spoil the view from his house.  Today, over 250 years later, Tixall Wide is home to an abundance of wildlife and is a great place to moor up for the night.  It’s just over a mile away from our base at Great Haywood.  On a short break, you can cruise on from Tixall Wide to the village of Gailey and back, travelling a total of 26 miles and passing through 12 locks each way.  On a week’s break, you can travel on to Market Drayton, home of the gingerbread man or complete the Black Country Ring. This circuit takes narrowboat holiday-makers on a 45-hour waterway odyssey, cruising a total of 75 miles and passing through 79 locks.

  8. Look out for the dazzling canalside murals at Oxford 

    In north Oxford, the Oxford Canal is crossed by two bridges with large canalside walls. Spurred on by the horrified comments of Timothy West and Prunella Scales when seeing the graffiti here on one of their ‘Great Canal Journeys’ for Channel 4, the local community set about creating four striking murals to improve the environment, reflecting the area’s history and wildlife of the canal.  From our base on the Thames at Oxford, it takes just over an hour to reach Duke’s Cut Lock, the gateway to the Oxford Canal right next to the two bridges.  On a midweek break, you can continue north along the Oxford Canal to Lower Heyford, cruising a total of 18 hours and passing through 14 locks each way.  On a week’s break, you can travel on to Banbury, cruising for a total of 30 hours and passing through 21 locks each way.

Click here to check availability and book, or call us on 0117 463 3419.

Tags: , , , , , ,

Top 9 canal boat holiday staycations

Canal boat holidays on the Llangollen Canal

Britain’s beautiful canal network provides the perfect destination for a boating staycation experience

Whether it’s the appeal of pottering slowly through the countryside, watching out for wildlife and stopping off at canalside pubs. Or the lure of an exciting waterside attraction in a vibrant waterfront city destination, our canal boats provide the perfect floating holiday home adventure.

To help plan your next UK waterway-getaway, here are our top 9 narrowboat holidays for the year ahead:

  1. Take an Oxford ‘His Dark Materials’ mini-break – from our base on the River Thames near Oxford, you can enjoy a Thames boating holiday.  You can reach overnight moorings at Hythe Bridge in just three hours. From there, it’s just a short walk into Oxford’s city centre for the chance to explore dozens of historic sites.  These include the Bodleian Library, Lyra’s home in the BBC’s drama series ‘His Dark Materials’, based on Philip Pullman’s book ‘Northern Lights’.  Just seeing this incredible building from the outside is a bucket list experience, but adults and children aged 11 and over can also explore the museum, home to nine million books across over 100 miles of shelves.  The Museum also houses a number of fascinating maps, including the 14th century ‘The Bodleian Map’, the oldest surviving map of Great Britain.
  2. Watch out for wildlife on the Montgomery Canal – from Whixall Marina, on the Prees Branch of the Llangollen Canal in Shropshire, it takes around six hours to reach Frankton Junction, where the Llangollen Canal meets the Montgomery Canal. This beautiful canal, which runs for 38 miles between England and Wales, is designated a Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI) on both sides of the border.  The entire length in Wales is also recognised as a Special Area of Conservation, making it one of the most important sites for wildlife in Europe.  Currently only around half the Montgomery Canal is navigable, including an eight-mile section from Frankton Junction to Crickheath Basin.  From Whixall, the journey to Crickheath and back takes around 19 hours, travelling through 36 miles of beautiful countryside.  The route takes you through 16 locks (eight each way).  Along the way, you can enjoy looking out for many types of waterway birds, animals and insects. As well as the shy nocturnal otter and critically endangered water vole.
  3. Navigate the Four Counties Ring – on a week’s break from Great Haywood on the Trent & Mersey Canal in Staffordshire, you can travel round the ‘Four Counties Ring’. Cruising sections of the Trent & Mersey, Shropshire Union and Staffordshire & Worcestershire canals, this popular circuit takes boaters on a 110-mile, 60-hour, 94-lock canal boat holiday odyssey.  You’ll pass through some of the most beautiful landscapes in England, including the Peak District, the rolling Cheshire Plains and the Potteries.  Highlights along the way include Wedgewood Pottery in Stoke on Trent and the 1.5 mile long Harecastle Tunnel.  You’ll also encounter the flight of 31 locks between Middlewich and Kidsgrove known as ‘Heartbreak Hill’. You’ll visit the Roman town of Middlewich and the historic market town of Market Drayton, home of the gingerbread man.
  4. Climb aboard the SS Great Britain in Bristol’s Floating Harbour – from our base on the Kennet & Avon Canal at Bath, it takes around eight hours, passing through 12 locks, to reach moorings in Bristol’s Floating Harbour. Once there you can moor up to explore the harbour and Brunel’s SS Great Britain, the ship that changed the world. *NB this route is recommended route for experienced boaters and overnight mooring fees will apply
  5. Visit the Orangutans at Chester Zoo – from Bunbury on the Shropshire Union Canal in Cheshire it takes around seven hours, passing through nine locks to reach the ancient City of Chester. Chester is home to the award-winning Chester Zoo, with over 20,000 animals from 500 species, including a family of Sumatran orangutans.  Sumatran orangutans are listed as critically endangered by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature with fewer than 14,000 surviving in the wild.  At Chester Zoo, you can find out more about these fascinating animals and how to help to prevent their extinction.
  6. Glide across ‘The Stream in the Sky’ to the Shropshire Lake District – just 10 minutes from our base at Trevor on the Llangollen Canal in North Wales, you’ll reach the incredible Pontcysyllte Aqueduct. One of The Seven Wonders of the Waterways, the aqueduct’s carries the canal 38 metres high above the Dee Valley on 19 stone pillars.  In 2009 the Pontcysyllte Aqueduct was added to the UNESCO World Heritage site list, putting it on a par with the Pyramids and Taj Mahal.  On a short break from Trevor, you can cross the aqueduct and then continue east to reach the Ellesmere, in the heart of the Shropshire Lake District.  The journey to Ellesmere and back takes around six hours and passes through just two locks.
  7. Travel round the Warwickshire Ring – on a 10-day or two week break from our base at Wootton Wawen on the Stratford Canal in Warwickshire, you can cruise the Warwickshire Ring. Travelling sections of the Grand Union, Oxford, Coventry and Birmingham & Fazeley canals, the Warwickshire Ring covers 104 miles, passes through 120 locks and takes around 60 hours to navigate.  You’ll pass through miles of countryside, with fields and ancient meadows and the occasional sleepy village. And you’ll also travel through the vibrant city centre waterfronts of Birmingham.  Destination highlights  include the pretty canal village of Braunston and the flight of 21 locks at Hatton. You can also visit Warwick Castle and Birmingham’s Brindleyplace. The whole trip from Wootton Wawen takes around 46 hours and passes through 118 locks.
  8. Cruise to the Yorkshire Dales National Park – on a short break from Silsden on the Leeds & Liverpool Canal in West Yorkshire, you can travel to Gargrave on the edge of the Yorkshire Dales National Park.  The journey there and back takes 13 hours and passes through six locks. This scenic route is perfect for beginners and you through the historic town of Skipton.  There you can explore the town’s medieval stone castle and extensive woodlands managed by the Woodland Trust.  Once at Gargrave, there are pubs to enjoy, including the popular Mason’s Arms.  And it’s easy to access to the Yorkshire Dales National Park and the Pennine Way walking trail.
  9. See a play in Shakespeare’s Stratford – from Wootton Wawen on the Stratford Canal, it’s a six-hour, 17-lock cruise journey through the Warwickshire countryside to reach moorings at Bancroft Basin.  This is in the heart of Stratford-upon-Avon, just a stone’s throw from the Royal Shakespeare and Swan theatres. As well as enjoying the town’s lively markets, shops, restaurants and museums, you can can take in a play at the Royal Shakespeare Theatre.  2024’s programme includes ‘Love’s Labour’s Lost’ and ‘The Merry Wives of Windsor’.

Click here to check availability and book, or call us on 0117 304 1122.

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , ,
Be Inspired

We offer a range of different types of holidays such as City Breaks, Relaxation Cruises and Popular Destinations

City Breaks
Rural retreats
Popular places

So why choose Anglo Welsh?

Over 55 years providing unique canal boat holidays in England and Wales.
Modern and spacious narrowboat and wide beam barge hire – from 2 to 12 berths.
Wide choice of narrowboat hire locations and canal boat holiday destinations.
Canal boat holiday routes for novices & experienced boaters.
Flexible holiday booking, no hidden costs.
Family friendly and pet friendly holidays.
Great days out on the water.
Luxury canal boat hire and Thames boating holidays.

Anglo Welsh. So much more than narrowboats

...but don't just take our word for it

media-quote-trimmed-1
media-quote-trimmed-2
media-quote-trimmed-3
media-quote-trimmed-4