Making the most of your boat trip across the Pontcysyllte Aqueduct
One of our Little Star Pontcysyllte Aqueduct trip boat skippers and commentary providers describes some of the highlights of the trip and ways to make the most of a visit to this UNESCO world heritage site.
Our Little Star trip boat takes passengers across the Pontcysyllte Aqueduct on the Llangollen Canal in North Wales, to experience incredible views across the beautiful Dee Valley.
What are the journey highlights?
Probably the most breath-taking moment is just as you pass the Ash trees on the right of the aqueduct and suddenly a panoramic view of the Dee Valley and the beautiful 17th century Cysylltau Bridge, known locally as ‘The Bont’ opens up beneath you. Meanwhile, on the other side the magnificent Cefn Railway viaduct is coming into view; if you’re lucky, you’ll see a train going across the Viaduct! People also find the process of turning the 70ft trip boat fascinating and seeing the lift bridge in operation.
Personally, I’ve got a soft spot for the Fron (pronounced ‘Vron’) Embankment just over the other side of the aqueduct. It’s a surreal structure made from the spoil excavated when the canal tunnels were built, now lined with trees home to many types of birds, including gold crests, woodpeckers, nut hatches and chaffinches.
Birds fly beneath you!
Crossing the aqueduct as often as I do, you’d have thought you might start taking it all for granted; but one thing that always brings me back into the moment as I’m guiding boats across the aqueduct is the jackdaws that roost under the arches. Often they’ll swoop out from underneath the boat as we are driving along. Birds flying underneath boats, suspended 126 feet above a roaring river. If that ever feels ‘normal’ then I’ll know it’s time to find a new job!
What else can I do when I visit Pontcysyllte Aqueduct?
As well as seeing the aqueduct and the spectacular views of the Dee Valley from the trip boat, people love to experience crossing it on foot, and to enjoy a meal or a drink at the Aqueduct Inn perched up the hill overlooking the canal in Froncysyllte.
The Pontcysyllte Chapel Tea Rooms at Trevor Basin do excellent breakfasts, lunches and cream teas so it’s well worth planning a visit there too.
You can also walk down the steps to the bottom of the valley to see the Aqueduct from below, which really brings home the scale of the structure and the achievements of the canal engineers.
Another option is to head up the hill to the fascinating historic village of Cefn Mawr to see the aqueduct from above. Once the site of iron works, coal mines and brick and tile works, it’s full of little alleyways, steps and stair cases and there some great viewpoints looking out across the valley, with glimpses of the Aqueduct.
Parking at the site
The best place to park to enjoy one our boat trips and visit the Canal & River Trust’s Pontcysyllte Aqueduct Visitor Centre is the public ‘pay and display’ car park at Acrefair, Wrexham, LL14 3SG. The car park is open daily from 8am to 8pm.
Make sure you put the car park postcode in your Sat Nav or Google maps, rather than simply ‘Pontcysyllte Aqueduct’ to ensure you arrive in the right place
When do the boat trips run?
From 29 March until 30 October 2024 trips depart daily at 11am, 12 noon, 1.30pm, 2.30pm and 3.30pm from Canal Wharf, Trevor, Llangollen LL20 7TT.
The Pontcysyllte Aqueduct is closed from 2nd January 2024 and reopens in the Spring.
How do I book a boat trip aboard Little Star?
For more information about Little Star and to book ahead, go to Little Star – Anglo Welsh Ltd or call us on 0117 304 1122.Tags: boat trips, Go North Wales, Little Star, Llangollen Canal, Pontcysllte Aqueduct, Trevor Basin, Trip Boat, UNESCO World Heritage Site, Visit Wales