Best winter canal boat holidays

Winter canal boat holidays in England and Wales

We offer winter cruising from six of our narrowboat hire bases, giving you the chance to experience cruising gently through the countryside this winter when the canals are quieter*.

People tend to make shorter journeys during the winter.  It’s more about enjoying being out in the countryside close to the water than travelling lots of miles each day.

You can stop off to visit historic canalside pubs with roaring log fires along the way. And you can visit some of Britain’s most popular towns and cities, including Stratford-upon-Avon and Chester.

Our winter narrowboats for hire range from cosy boats for two, to a family canal boat for 10.

All our boats have central heating, hot water, WiFi, TV and DVD players, so it’s always nice and warm on board.

Some of our boats also come with multi-fuel stoves for some extra special winter warmth.

Our winter cruising bases also offer canal boat hire over Christmas and New Year.

Our winter canal boat holidays prices start at £680 for a short break, and £940 for a week on a boat for up to four people.

Here’s a guide to our Top 6 winter narrowboat holidays for 2023:

1. Boat to historic Bradford on Avon and back

From our canal barge hire base on the Kennet & Avon Canal at Bath, it takes around three-and-a-half hours to reach the historic Wiltshire town of Bradford on Avon.  Along the way, you’ll cross over the magnificent Bath stone aqueducts at Dundas and Avoncliff.  And you’ll cruise past the popular canalside pubs The George at Bathampton and the The Cross Guns at Avoncliff.  Once at Bradford on Avon, you can moor up to explore this historic market town on the edge of the Cotswolds with independent shops and a great choice of places to eat.

2. Cruise through the Staffordshire countryside to Fradley

Heading south from our narrowboat holiday hire base at Great Haywood you’ll reach Fradley Junction in around five hours.  The journey cruises 12 miles of the Trent & Mersey Canal and passes through five lock.  You’ll pass through the Cannock Chase Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty.  Places to visit along the way include the National Trust’s Shugborough Estate the Wildlife Trust’s Wolseley Centre.  Pubs to visit include The Wolseley Arms at Wolseley and The Old Peculiar at Handsacre.  At Fradley you can visit the Canalside Café or The Swan Inn, and enjoy walking trails at the Fradley Pool Nature Reserve.

3. Travel gently through the Shropshire countryside to historic Whitchurch

From our canal barge holiday rental base at Whixall it takes around four hours to reach the pretty historic town of Whitchurch.  You’ll cruise along the Llangollen Canal, passing Whixall Moss along the way – a great place for spotting wildlife.  Once at Whitchurch, you can enjoy way-marked walks, Brown Moss nature reserve and a choice of pubs, including the award-winning Black Bear.

4. Float through the Warwickshire countryside to Shakespeare’s Stratford

From our narrowboat rental base at Wootton Wawen in Warwickshire, you can reach Stratford-upon-Avon in six hours. You can stop-off along the way at the village of Wilmcote to visit the Mary Arden Inn.  In Shakespeare’s Stratford, you can moor up in the centre of town at Bancroft Basin to enjoy exploring this popular historic town.

5. Cruise through the Cheshire countryside to the ancient City of Chester

From our narrowboat hire base at Bunbury near Tarporley it takes seven hours to reach Chester.  You’ll cruise along the Shropshire Union Canal passing through nine locks, and a series of village pubs, including The Cheshire Cat at Christleton. Once moored up at Northgate visitor moorings, you can take time to explore this ancient Cathedral City with Roman City Walls and Chester Rows shops.

6. Cross ‘The Stream in the Sky’ to the Shropshire Lake District

Our canal boat rental base at Trevor in North Wales, is a ten minute cruise from the incredible World Heritage Pontcysyllte Aqueduct. This magnificent feat of Victorian engineering carries the Llangollen Canal 126ft high above the Dee Valley, with amazing views to enjoy.  On a short break, you can cruise to Ellesmere, in the centre of the Shropshire Lake District.  At Ellesmere, you can visit the famous Mere, a haven for wildlife, and find a great choice of places to eat and drink.

*Some of our routes will be affected at times by the Canal & River Trust’s annual winter maintenance work. 

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

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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.
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Canal boat holiday routes for novices & experienced boaters.
Flexible holiday booking, no hidden costs.
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Great days out on the water.
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