Short breaks on the Shropshire Union Canal

Short break canal boat holidays on the Shropshire Union Canal in Cheshire

The Shropshire Union Canal stretches 77 miles from Autherley Junction near Wolverhampton in the South, to Ellesmere Port in the North.  Cruising ‘the Shroppie’ gives you stunning views of the Cheshire countryside, sleepy villages, deep canal cuttings and the opportunity to visit the ancient City of Chester.

Weekend/3-night breaks from Bunbury

Chester and back (12 miles, 18 locks, 14 hours)

After leaving the base you’ll go through Tilstone Lock, and then two more locks at Beeston.  You can moor-up just below Wharton’s Lock and walk half-a-mile to English Heritage’s Beeston Castle & Woodland Park, one of the most dramatic ruins in the English landscape.  Continuing along, soon after Wharton’s Lock, you’ll see the canalside Shady Oak pub and two miles later, the Famous Cheshire Ice Cream Farm at Tattenhall is a short walk from the canal. The canal becomes less rural, passing through Waverton, and the site of the Battle of Rowton Moor (one of the last major battles of the English Civil War).  Then you’ll travel through Christleton, with its Cheshire Cat canalside pub and the Ring ‘o’ Bells pub in the village.

You’ll then climb up five more locks and pass the Lead Shot Tower site, where during the Napoleonic Wars musket shot was produced by dropping molten lead balls from a height, to form spheres as they fell into a vat of water at the bottom. Once you reach the ancient City of Chester, there’s so much to explore, including the City’s Roman Amphitheatre, Museum, City walls, River Dee, Chester Rows, Shops, Chester Cathedral built in 1541, St Johns’, Chester Castle, and racecourse.  Turn close to Chester Cathedral at Cow Lane Bridge 123D.

Mid-week/4-night breaks from Bunbury

National Waterways Museum Ellesmere Port and back (24 locks, 19 hours)

Continue through Chester, down the staircase locks and into Telford’s Basin.  From there, it’s lock-free for eight miles to the end of the Shropshire Union Canal at Ellesmere Port, where the canal meets the Manchester Ship Canal.  You could moor up along the way at Caughall Bridge, and walk half a mile to the award-winning Chester Zoo, with 15,000 animals living in 125 acres of gardens.  At the end of the canal, you can visit the National Waterways Museum Ellesmere Port, with its historic boat collection, docks, warehouses, forge, stables and workers cottages, bringing the past vividly to life with the help of costumed characters and guided tours.

Anderton Boat Lift and back (46 miles, 20 locks, 18 hours)

Head south through Bunbury Locks and on to Barbridge Junction, where the Middlewich Branch meets the Shropshire Union Canal. Turn here, passing through quiet hilly farmland and skirting the village of Church Minshull, home to the Badger Inn. Continue to Middlewich Junction, where you turn left, heading north on the Trent & Mersey Canal. Travel through the Middlewich Locks, past the canalside Big Lock pub, then over the Croxton Aqueduct. Enjoy the peaceful, open countryside as you cruise towards the town of Northwich, where there is a selection of pubs, restaurants and shops. Continue on past the village of Marston and the Lion Salt Works Museum. There are visitor moorings on the approach to the Anderton Boat Lift, one of the Seven Wonders of the Waterways.  Also known as ‘The Cathedral of the Canals’, this extraordinary structure raises and lowers boats 15 metres between the River Weaver and the Trent & Mersey Canal.  The Anderton Boat Lift Visitor Centre explains how the amazing lift works and why it is so important.

Whitchurch and back (35 miles, 40 locks, 20 hours)

Head south through Bunbury Locks and on to Barbridge Junction, where the Middlewich Branch meets the Shropshire Union Canal. Continue to Hurleston Junction, where you’ll travel through Hurleston Locks and on to 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. Climb through Baddiley Locks and soon after you’ll reach Wrenbury, with the canalside Dusty Miller and Cotton Arms.  Continue on to Marbury, home to the Swan Inn and on to Grindley Brook Locks and historic Whitchurch, with independent shops and restaurants, way-marked walks and award-winning Black Bear pub.

Market Drayton and back (36 miles, 48 locks, 21 hours)

Head south to Barbridge Junction and the Olde Barbridge Inn. Continue along the Shropshire Union Canal past Hurleston Junction and then cruise over the Nantwich Aqueduct, with great views across the historic town, with a choice of shops, pubs and restaurants.  After the two locks at Hack Green, stop near Bridge 85 to visit the Hack Green Secret Nuclear Bunker.  Here you can explore the labyrinth of rooms and equipment and watch the previously banned ‘The War Game’ film. Continuing along the Shropshire Union Canal, next you come to Audlem where you’ll find a flight of 15 locks and the iconic canalside Shroppie Fly pub. At Adderley there are five more lock before you arrive at the historic market town of Market Drayton, home of the gingerbread man.

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

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