Visiting local markets and independent shops to find fresh ingredients for cooking on board can be a fun and inspiring element of a holiday afloat. The 2,000 miles of navigable waterways that criss-cross England and Wales pass through dozens of market towns and cities, offering exciting local produce and a welcome break from the usual weekly supermarket shop.
Here are our top 10 destinations for foodies looking for special treats and ingredients:
Snugburys ice cream shop at Hurleston. This famous ice cream shop making award winning ice cream is close to the Shropshire Union Canal at Hurleston near Nantwich. Located on the Snugbury family farm, this wonderful shop offers 55 mouth-watering flavours, all made from fresh British cream, including chocolate brownie, raspberry pavlova, crème brulee, clotted cream vanilla, amaretto and Turkish delight. From our canal boat hire base at Bunbury, it takes just one hour to reach Hurleston Junction, and from there it’s a short walk to Snugburys.
Stone Farmers Market. Renowned as the ‘foodie capital’ of North Staffordshire, on the first Saturday of every month (except January), Stone’s popular Farmers Market lines the town’s pretty Georgian High Street. With over 50 stalls offering locally-reared meats, breads, preserves, cakes, honey, cheese, fruit, vegetables and smoked fish, it’s a mecca for foodies. From our narrowboat hire base at Great Haywood on the Trent & Mersey Canal it takes five hours to reach Stone.
The Cheese Shop at Bradford on Avon. Located in the heart of historic Bradford on Avon, this little shop is bursting with flavours and aromas, pure heaven for cheese lovers. As well as an impressive range of fine cheeses, there Cheese Shop offers exciting lunch options from its well-stocked deli, including delicious home-made quiches, prepared and baked daily, as well as a large selection of local chutneys to go perfectly with the cheese. From our narrowboat rental base at Bath, it takes just four hours to reach Bradford on Avon.
Stratford’s Farmers Market. On the first and third Saturday of each month, Stratford upon Avon’s Farmers Market meets in Rother Street, selling a wide range of local produce. From rare breed and game meats, organic vegetables, eggs, cheese, freshly baked bread and cakes to wine, confectionery, jams and pickles. There’s also a fantastic hot food stand offering outdoor bred roasted pork, bacon and sausage. From our canal barge hire base at Wootton Wawen on the Stratford Canal near Henley-in-Arden it six hours to reach Stratford upon Avon.
Bailey’s Deli in Llangollen. The pretty town of Llangollen on the edge of the Berwyn Mountains, offers a range of independent shops, including Bailey’s Deli. Located in the Town Hall, Bailey’s offers a great range of pies, sausage rolls, Welsh Oggies, Scotch eggs, cooked butcher’s meat, cakes, farm ice cream, chocolates, fudge, sandwiches, cheeses, mustards, jams and marmalade, as well as ales, whiskies, spirits and mead. From our boat yard at Trevor on the Llangollen Canal in North Wales, it takes just two hours to reach Llangollen.
The Covered Market in Oxford. This fabulous historic market space in the centre of Oxford offers products from a large number of specialist independent traders, offering crafts, food and drink. Edible fare includes fresh fruit, vegetables, breads, cakes, meats and cheeses. Moorings at Hythe Bridge, just a short walk from the Covered Market can be reached from our Thames boating holiday base at Eynsham, near Witney.
Keelham Farm Shop in Skipton. Showcasing the region’s best locally grown and reared produce, Keelham Farm Shop on Gargrave Road in Skipton stocks produce from over 400 local suppliers in dedicated butchers, greengrocer, bakery and delicatessen sections. It also has an ale house offering beers from more than 20 local breweries. Skipton can be reached in just three hours from our narrowboat hire base on the Leeds & Liverpool Canal at Silsden.
Fresh fish at the Bull Ring Indoor Market. The indoor market at Birmingham’s magnificent Bull Ring is home to one of the UK’s largest fish markets. Open from Monday to Saturday, 9am to 5.30pm, as well as an impressive choice of quality fish and seafood, visitors to the indoor market and also buy meat, exotic fruits and vegetables. From our canal boat hire base at Tardebigge on the Worcester & Birmingham Canal near Bromsgrove, it takes five hours to reach city centre moorings in Gas Street Basin.
Aubrey Allen’s butchers in Leamington Spa. Offering outstanding quality cooked and uncooked meat, as well as deli products and artisan cheeses, this multi-award winning family business on Warwick Street is one of the best known butchers in the Midlands. Leamington Spa can be reached in six hours from our Stockton boat yard on the Grand Union Canal in Warwickshire.
Treacle Market in Macclesfield. Named after a centuries old incident when a treacle wagon overturned in Macclesfield’s cobbled town centre, Treacle Market offers exceptional food and drink, including local farm cheese, great north pies, sourdough, apple juice and fresh farm eggs. The market takes place the last Sunday of the month, from 10am to 3.30pm. The journey to Macclesfield takes 21 hours from our canal boat hire base on the Trent & Mersey Canal at Great Haywood.
Canal boat holidays are great for families, offering the change to experience life afloat exploring Britain’s beautiful canal network, watching out for wildlife and stopping off at exciting waterside destinations along the way. Pottering along the waterways at walking pace, narrowboat holidays are said to be ‘the fastest way to slow down’. So why not pack up and ship out over the August Bank Holiday aboard one of our fantastic canal boats, equipped with all the key comforts of home – central heating, hot water, TV, WiFi, well-stocked kitchens, showers and flushing toilets.
Here are our ‘Top 10 August Bank Holiday Family Destinations Afloat’ – all short breaks suitable for beginners:
Visit the Sea Life Centre in Birmingham’s Brindleyplace. From our canal boat hire base at Tardebigge on the Worcester & Birmingham Canal near Bromsgrove, it’s a five-hour, lock-free journey to moorings at Gas Street Basin in Birmingham City Centre. From there Brindleyplace is a short walk away, offering an abundance of shops, restaurants and attractions, including Birmingham’s Sea life Centre, with over 60 displays of freshwater and marine life, and the new Jelly Invaders exhibit offering a glittering underwater wonderland to marvel at.
Explore Sir Titus Salt’s model town at Saltaire. From our narrowboat holiday base at Silsden on the Leeds & Liverpool Canal, it takes seven hours, passing through 11 locks to reach Sir Titus Salt’s famous Victorian industrial 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 many examples of the work of Bradford born artist David Hockney 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.
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 at Hythe Bridge, perfect for exploring Oxford’s city centre, including the Oxford University Museum of Natural History. Some of the most important finds during the pivotal early years in the study of palaeontology were made in Oxfordshire, including the full skeleton of Eustreptospondylus in 1871. Today, visitors to the City’s Museum of Natural History can see this incredible skeleton of a carnivore that once walked on its hind legs and had a large head armed with sharp blade-like teeth.
Watch the African painted dogs at Chester Zoo. From our canal boat rental base at Bunbury on the Shropshire Union Canal near Tarporley in Cheshire, it takes seven hours, passing through nine locks to reach the ancient City of Chester. Once there, narrowboat holiday-makers can visit the award-winning Chester Zoo, home to 21,314 animals from 500 species, including a fascinating pack of rare African Painted Dogs.
Watch the Dragon Slayer Show at Warwick Castle. From our Stockton base on the Grand Union Canal in Warwickshire, it’s a seven-hour journey, passing through 20 locks, to reach the beautiful country town of Warwick, with its magnificent medieval castle on the banks of the River Avon. The Castle offers a fantastic family day out with ramparts to climb, the Castle Dungeon, Great Hall, Staterooms and Kingmaker Exhibition to explore, and soaring birds of prey and trebuchet firing displays to watch. And each evening of the August bank holiday weekend (24-27 August), the spectacular Dragon Slayer show will be on, with light shows on the walls of the castle, fire-jousting and live action stunts.
Visit the Shropshire Lake District. On a short break from our canal barge holiday hire centre at Trevor on the Llangollen Canal in North Wales, boaters can reach the Shropshire town of Ellesmere in seven hours, passing through four locks. Along the way, canal boat holiday-makers encounter the incredible UNESCO World Heritage designated Pontcysyllte Aqueduct, which carries the canal in a cast iron trough 38 metres high above the Dee Valley. Once at Ellesmere, boaters can explore the Shropshire Lake District, including the Mere with its Victorian gardens, woodland paths, historic castle and abundance of wildlife.
Discover the secret life of the Tudors in Stratford-upon-Avon. From our narrowboat hire base at Wootton Wawen on the Stratford Canal, it’s a delightful six-hour, 17-lock cruise journey through the Warwickshire countryside to Bancroft Basin in the centre of Stratford-upon-Avon. From there, it’s a short walk to the town’s theatres, shops, restaurants and museums, including Tudor World where visitors can find out what life was really like during Shakespeare’s time, from dining and sleeping, to plague and poo!
Enjoy some historic holiday fun the Black Country Living Museum. From our Tardebigge base on the Worcester & Birmingham Canal near Bromsgrove, it’s an eight-hour, three-lock journey to moorings at the Black Country Living Museum. Visitors to the Museum this summer can discover the hobbies and pastimes that entertained Black Country people from Victorian times to the 1930’s. From cooking demonstrations, silent films, street games, school lessons and a traditional fairground, to pop-up dramas, vintage music and themed evening events, there’s a whole host of period entertainment on offer over the August Bank Holiday weekend.
Marvel at the Caen Hill flight of locks at Devizes. From our barge holiday base on the Kennet & Avon Canal at Brassknocker Basin in Bath, it’s a nine-hour journey, travelling 15 miles and passing through eight locks, to Fox Hanger Wharf at 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 climbing Caen Hill is truly one of the most spectacular of Britain’s inland waterways. Once there, the historic market town of Devizes is a short walk away, with its Wadworth Brewery Visitor Centre and famous shire horses making daily deliveries, plus a range of independent shops, pubs and restaurants, including the ‘Peppermill Restaurant’ and the Bear Hotel.
Get close to nature at Fradley Pool Nature Reserve. From our canal barge holiday base at Great Haywood in Staffordshire, on a short break boaters can cruise along the Trent & Mersey Canal to Fradley Junction at Alrewas near Burton-on-Trent, a journey which takes six hours, travelling 12 miles and passing through five locks. Picturesque Fradley, where the Coventry Canal meets the Trent & Mersey Canal, offers visitors guided walks, a café, two pubs and the award-winning Fradley Pool Nature Reserve, home to an abundance of creatures. Along the way, boaters pass the Shugborough Estate with its stunning Georgian Mansion House and a number of rural family-friendly pubs, including Mossley Tavern at Rugeley.
To book a holiday or break on any of Anglo Welsh’s fleet, call our friendly booking team on 0117 304 1122.
The recent Blue Planet II series highlighted the alarming amount of plastic found in our oceans and consequently in the animals that live there. Sadly our inland waterways are also affected by plastic waste – and a staggering 80 per cent of marine debris comes from inland sources.
With this in mind, and to help plan ahead for your next canal boat holiday, we’ve put together a list of super easy ways to reduce the plastic waste you might generate on a narrowboat holiday and the amount entering our waterways:
Avoid products with microbeads. Much of the plastic polluting our waterways and oceans is microplastics which derive from bigger items breaking down, but also from products like face wash and toothpaste. Try to avoid using cosmetics with ‘polypropylene’ or ‘polyethylene’ on the ingredients list and go for natural biodegradable alternatives.
Bring a refillable thermos. If you stop off to buy a coffee somewhere on your canal barge holiday you won’t need a disposable cup, for which there are limited recycling centres.
Reduce your use of plastic bottles. You will need to have bottled drinking water on board your boat (though you can use water from the boat’s tank to boil and make a cup of tea), so we suggest bringing one large bottle or canteen, decanting it into reusable cups and topping up at water points.
Bring your own shopping bags. Remember to pack your re-useable bags every time you shop and avoid products with excess packaging.
Separate your recyclables and make use of recycling facilities. Most canalside rubbish compounds only accept boaters’ bagged domestic rubbish, but there are an increasing number of boaters’ recycling points and many of our canal boat hire bases have recycling bins too.
Bag all rubbish. Make sure the bags are tied securely so that they can’t spill open. Only dispose of your bagged domestic rubbish inside bins marked domestic waste and don’t forget to close the lid.
Don’t dump it! If the bins are full, keep your rubbish securely on board until the next available waste disposal point.
Avoid leaving bagged rubbish next to a litter bin. It’s not a collection point for boater’s rubbish and can be an invitation for animals to break into the bags looking for something to eat, spreading litter everywhere.
Help clean up. Join one of the many Plastic Patrol or Canal & River Trust Towpath Taskforce events taking place across the country.
Every little helps. If you don’t fancy taking part in an organised event, why not pledge to pick up and dispose of at least one piece of canalside litter a day while on your narrowboat holiday?
Hope these tips are helpful. Let’s help keep our waterways clean for everyone to enjoy.
This Easter, narrowboat holidays offer the chance to explore the Great British countryside as it bursts into life with new leaves, daffodils, bluebells, spring lambs and nesting birds. Set sail aboard your own floating holiday home to enjoy a fantastic family adventure, stopping-off along the way to visit exciting waterside visitor attractions hosting special Easter holiday activities.
Here are our top 10 Easter holiday destinations to visit afloat:
Go on an Easter egg hunt at Kinver Edge. From our narrowboat hire base at Tardebigge on the Worcester & Birmingham Canal near Bromsgrove, it’s a 20-hour, 37-mile, 32-lock journey to Kinver on the Staffordshire & Worcester Canal. Kinver Edge offers visitors miles of wildlife-rich heath land and woods to explore, and starting from the site’s ancient Rock Houses, the National Trust is hosting daily Easter Egg Hunts over the Easter weekend. Kinver is on the route of the Stourport Ring, which can be tackled on a week’s holiday from Tardebigge, travelling a total of 76 miles via Birmingham, Kidderminster, Stourport and Worcester.
See Roman finds discovered by metaldetectorists in Oxford. From our Oxford base, it’s a tranquil three-hour cruise along the River Thames to moorings at Hythe Bridge, perfect for exploring Oxford’s city centre, including the University of Oxford’s Ashmolean Museum of Art & Archaeology. As well as permanent world famous collections from Egyptian Mummies to contemporary art, until 29 April 2018 ‘An Ancient Landscape: Iron-Age and Roman finds from the Berkshire Downs’ explores the story of this site through objects found by metaldetectorists, such as coins, pottery and metalwork, dating from the late Iron Age to the end of Roman Britain.
See a rare baby deer at Chester Zoo. Chester Zoo, home to 21,314 animals from 500 species, can be reached on a short break from our canal boat hire base at Bunbury on the Shropshire Union Canal in Cheshire. New arrivals at the Zoo include a rare tiny Philippine spotted deer fawn, cuter than Bambi, as well as two critically endangered Eastern black rhino calves, seven endangered African painted dog pups and world first breedings of highly threatened Bermudian skinks and Catalonian newts. The journey to Chester takes around seven hours, passing through nine locks.
Glide across ‘The Stream in the Sky’. Just five minutes from our base on the Llangollen Canal at Trevor, boaters encounter the incredible Pontcysyllte Aqueduct, truly one of the ‘Seven Wonders of the Waterways’. Its cast iron trough filled with water, is supported on iron arched ribs and carried 38 metres high above the Dee Valley on 19 hollow 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 Majhal. On a short break from our boat yard at Trevor, boaters can cross the aqueduct and then continue east to reach the Ellesmere Lakes, teaming with wildlife. On a week’s break, narrowboat holiday-makers can cruise on to the historic market town of Whitchurch.
Take the ‘Bunny’s Trail’ at the Black Country Living Museum. From our Tardebigge base on the Worcester & Birmingham Canal near Bromsgrove, it’s an eight-hour, three-lock journey to moorings outside the Black Country Living Museum. From 24 March until 15 April the Museum will be hosting an array of family activities, including the Bunny’s Trail exploring the Museum’s canalside village, egg rolling competitions, egg and spoon races, displays about Easter traditions in the home including egg dying and traditional recipes, as well as the chance to enjoy freshly baked hot cross buns from the bakery and traditionally cooked fish & chips.
Watch medieval jousting in the heart of Leeds. From our base at Silsden on the Leeds & Liverpool Canal, on a week’s holiday, canal boat holiday-makers can travel to Leeds and back, cruising for a total of 34 hours and passing through 56 locks. Here, boaters can moor up and explore the Royal Armouries Museum at Leeds Dock, home of the national collection of arms and armour. From Friday 30 March till Monday 2 April, the Museum will be hosting its Easter Tournament event with authentic medieval jousting in the Royal Armouries’ arena.
Climb the rigging on the SS Great Britain in Bristol. On a short break from our narrowboat hire base on the Kennet & Avon Canal at Bath, canal boat holiday-makers can travel west to Bristol’s Floating Harbour* in eight hours, passing through 13 locks. Once there boaters can moor up to explore the harbour and visit the SS Great Britain where at weekends people are given the opportunity to climb the ship’s rigging. Designed by Isambard Kingdom Brunel for the Great Western Steamship Company’s transatlantic service between Bristol and New York, from 1845 to 1854 the SS Great Britain was the longest passenger ship in the world.
*NB this route is recommended route for experienced boaters and overnight mooring fees will apply
Walk in Shakespeare’s footsteps in Stratford-upon-Avon. From our base at Wootton Wawen on the Stratford Canal, it’s a delightful six-hour, 17-lock cruise journey through the Warwickshire countryside to Bancroft Basin in the centre of Stratford-upon-Avon. From there, it’s a short walk to the town’s theatres, shops, restaurants and museums, including Shakespeare’s Birthplace where visitors can walk in the Bard’s footsteps. This Easter (31 March to 15 April) children visiting Shakespeare’s Birthplace can take part in a fun interactive treasure hunt in the gardens, with music and comedy, led by the Museum’s in-house actors Shakespeare Aloud.
Celebrate Spring time at Shugborough Hall. From our base at Great Haywood, on the Trent & Mersey Canal near Stafford, the National Trust’s beautiful Shugborough Hall estate is a short journey away. Here families can explore the historic mansion house and servants’ quarters, as well as visit the working farm to see lambs being born, witness bulbs blooming in the walled garden and wildlife emerging in the parkland. And from 30 March to 15 April, special events are planned to celebrate Spring time at Shugborough with nature inspired activities and trails, including Explorers’ Map, full of 50 Things fun, and canoeing sessions on the River Sow.
Wonder at Warwick Castle. From our Stockton base on the Grand Union Canal in Warwickshire, it’s a seven-hour journey, passing through 20 locks, to reach the beautiful country town of Warwick with its magnificent medieval castle on the banks of the River Avon. The Castle offers a fantastic family day out with ramparts to climb, the Castle Dungeon, Great Hall and Staterooms to explore, the sights, sounds and smells of the medieval period to experience in the Kingmaker exhibition, soaring birds of prey and trebuchet firing displays to watch, the Horrible Histories Maze to navigate and landscaped gardens to tour. And this Easter (30 March to 15 April) visitors can join in the 950th anniversary of William the Conqueror’s motte and bailey castle by climbing The Conqueror’s Fortress, a specifically designed interactive exhibition exploring the castle’s fascinating history.
To book a holiday or break on any of Anglo Welsh’s fleet, call our friendly booking team on 0117 304 1122.
Set off together this summer for a micro-adventure afloat, exploring the countryside and visiting exciting waterside attractions in some of Britain’s best-loved towns and cities.
Here are our Top 10 family destinations this Summer to help you plan ahead:
Explore The Big Hoot in Birmingham. From our Tardebigge base on the Worcester & Birmingham Canal near Bromsgrove, it’s a five-hour, lock free journey to moorings at Gas Street Basin in Birmingham City Centre, where this summer (until 7 September) 89 colourful owl sculptures have taken position across the city to form a public trail. All the giant owls have been sponsored by companies and organisations and at the end of the event, they will be auctioned off to raise money for Birmingham Children’s Hospital.
Visit the Tolkien exhibition at the Bodleian Library in Oxford. From our Oxford base, it’s a tranquil three-hour cruise along the River Thames to moorings at Hythe Bridge, perfect for exploring Oxford’s city centre, including the awe-inspiring Bodleian Library, one of the oldest libraries in Europe and home to over 12 million printed items. The Library’s new exhibition, in the Weston Library, ‘Tolkien: Maker of Middle-earth’ (1 June to 28 October 2018) explores the creative genius of the ‘Lord of the Rings’ and ‘The Hobbit’ author, through manuscripts, artwork, maps, letters and artefacts.
Walk the walls of Chester. From our canal boat hire base on the Shropshire Union Canal at Bunbury, the Roman City of Chester is a delightful seven-hour, nine-lock cruise away, travelling through the rolling Cheshire landscape. Once there, take time to explore this great heritage city home to the most complete City Walls in Britain dating back to the Roman occupation 2,000 years ago. During this fascinating two-mile walk, you can follow in the footsteps of the Roman soldiers patrolling the walls and enjoy a unique perspective of Chester with panoramic views on both sides.
Glide across ‘The Stream in the Sky’ in North Wales. Just five minutes by boat from our base on the Llangollen Canal at Trevor, boaters encounter the incredible World Heritage Status Pontcysyllte Aqueduct, truly one of the ‘Seven Wonders of the Waterways’. Its cast iron trough, along which boats travel, is supported on iron arched ribs and carried 30 metres high above the Dee Valley on 19 hollow pillars. On 14 July, the annual ‘Under The Arches Music Festival’, one of Wales’ best-loved music, light, laser & firework shows, will take place beneath Thomas Telford’s stunning Pontcysyllte Aqueduct!
See the ‘Becoming Henry Moore’ exhibition in Leeds. From our base at Silsden on the Leeds & Liverpool Canal, on a week’s holiday, canal boat holiday-makers can travel to Leeds and back, cruising for a total of 34 hours and passing through 56 locks. Here, boaters can moor up and visit the Henry Moore Foundation where this summer, the Museum’s ‘Becoming Henry Moore’ exhibition charts Britain’s foremost modern sculptor’s creative trajectory from 1914 to 1930. Tickets to the exhibition include entrance to the sculpture gardens and Henry Moore’s studios (until 2 October).
Enjoy tea and cake at the Jane Austen Centre in Bath. From our base on the Kennet & Avon Canal at the historic town of Bradford on Avon in Wiltshire, boaters can reach Bath Top Lock, in just six hours, travelling through one lock and over two beautiful Bath stone aqueducts. From there, it’s a 15-minute walk into Bath City Centre where visitors can find the Jane Austen Centre, dedicated to celebrating Bath’s most famous resident. Set in a classically decorated Georgian town house, you can get into the Jane Austen spirit by dressing up in the exhibition’s Regency costumes and ordering a cup of real leaf tea and homemade cake at the Regency themed Tea Rooms.
Step back in time at Shakespeare’s Birthplace in Stratford upon Avon. From our base at Wootton Wawen on the Stratford Canal, it’s a delightful six-hour, 17-lock cruise journey through the Warwickshire countryside to moorings in the centre of Stratford-upon-Avon. From here, it’s a short walk to the town’s theatres, shops, restaurants and museums, including the Tudor house where Shakespeare was born and grew up. Here visitors can enjoy hearing tales of Shakespeare’s family life, live theatre performances on demand and seeing rare artefacts from the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust’s collections.
Visit the Food & Drink Capital of Staffordshire. From our base at Great Haywood, near Stafford, it’s a peaceful five-hour, four-lock journey along the Trent & Mersey Canal to the bustling market town of Stone. With an excellent choice of restaurants, pubs and wine bars, regular markets, its own micro ‘Lymestone Brewery’ and a series of exciting ‘foodie’ festivals, Stone is known as The Food and Drink Capital for good reason.
Journey round the Warwickshire Ring. From our Stockton base on the Grand Union Canal in Warwickshire, the 101-mile, 94-lock Warwickshire Ring takes narrowboat holiday-makers on a wonderful tour of the West Midlands, cruising for around 53 hours in total. Highlights include the beautiful country town of Warwick with its jaw-dropping medieval castle on the banks of the River Avon. From 22 July to 3 September, Warwick Castle is holding its ‘Wars of The Roses Live’ event, a new heart pumping, fist thumping, live action show!
Cruise to Devizes for some real ale and cheesecake. From our base on the Kennet & Avon Canal at Sydney Wharf in Bath, boaters can reach Fox Hanger Wharf at the base of the awesome flight of locks at Caen Hill, in 10 hours, travelling through eight locks. Once here, the historic market town of Devizes is a short walk away, where visitors can enjoy the Wadworth Brewery Visitor Centre with its famous shire horses making daily deliveries, and sample delicious food at some of the town’s independent shops and restaurants, including seasonal favourites at the AA 5* ‘Peppermill Restaurant’ and the Devizes Cheesecake at the ‘Dolcipani Bakery’.
To book a holiday or break on any of Anglo Welsh’s fleet, call our friendly booking team on 0117 304 1122.
There are hundreds of lovely waterside pubs across the canal and river network for narrowboat holiday-makers to enjoy.
Here’s our pick of the pubs for 2017:
1. Survey gorgeous valley views from the Cross Guns – one of Wiltshire’s best known pubs, the Cross Guns at Avoncliff is less than an hour’s cruise along the Kennet & Avon Canal from our base at Bradford on Avon. Dating back to the 17th century, this historic inn has idyllic riverside pub gardens offering panoramic views of the foothills of the Cotswolds and John Rennie’s impressive Avoncliffe Aqueduct. One of the oldest buildings in Avoncliffe, with a large central inglenook fireplace of the same style as those found at Hampton Court, this family and dog-friendly pub is famous for its real ales and whiskies and home-cooked food.
2. Follow in Morse’s footsteps at The Trout Inn – nestled on the banks of the Thames and steeped in history, this 17th century inn at Wolvercote can be reached in three hours from our Oxford base. As well as being a regular watering-hole Collin Dexter’s Inspector Morse, the Trout has inspired Lewis Carroll and provided a meeting place for King Henry II. With seasonal dishes, a great selection of wines, ales and lagers, roaring log fires and comfy armchairs, plus a large waterside terrace for al fresco dining, the Trout is a great place to stop-off at whatever the weather.
3. Get your breath back at The Poacher’s – Marston’s Poacher’s pub at Chirk is the other end of the Pontcysyllte Aqueduct from our base at Trevor, so it’s a great place to stop and get your breath back after enjoying the views from the Aqueduct. As well as great food including rotisserie chicken, this popular canalside pub serves a good selection of cask ales, wines and spirits and during the summer months hosts a Garden Grill.
4. Pick-up a pie at the Fleur de Lys – specialising in pies, this 17th century country pub in the village of Lowsonford is a three and a half hour cruise along the Stratford Canal from our base at Wootton Wawen. With low ceilings, oak beams, open fires, real ales and traditional pub games, the Fleur de Lys has a cosy and relaxed atmosphere and a large canalside pub garden for summer-time dining. Pies can ordered for take-away too.
5. Tuck into a traditional Sunday roast at the Wolseley Arms – Once a regular changing place for horses pulling coaches, the historic Wolseley Arms at Wolseley Bridge near Stafford is a short cruise from our base at Great Haywood on the Staffs & Worcester Canal. This farmhouse-style country pub oozes rural charm and offers hearty, seasonal pub food and cask ales. Part of the Vintage Inn chain, it has a pretty beer garden, log fires and serves traditional roasts on Sundays.
6. Try the Rotisserie chicken at the Hopwood House – this large historic canalside pub serving traditional pub food is a two-hour cruise along the Worcester & Birmingham Canal from our Tardebigge base. Well known for its Rotisserie chicken, freshly roasted every day in their own rotisserie ovens, this pub also offers an excellent ‘Little Chicks’ children’s menu, with a variety of main dishes and sides to mix and match and keep the little people happy.
7. Sample local ales at The Olde Barbridge Inn – this historic pub is an hour’s cruise from our base at Bunbury on the Shropshire Union Canal, near the historic village of Tarporley. The Olde Barbridge Inn sells a selection of beers brewed at its own brewery, based close by at Nantwich and serves classic British dishes with a contemporary twist and sources the majority of its produce locally.
8. Enjoy award-winning food at the Talbot Inn – this pub at Eynsham is popular with narrowboat holiday-makers setting off from our Oxford base on the River Thames near Witney. This charming historic pub boasts an award-winning restaurant, plus a traditional pub menu and serves a variety of ales straight from the cask. It has a decked area outside for warmer days where guests can enjoy views of both the river and beautiful Wytham Woods. The Talbot is a three minute walk from Eynsham lock and just a 25-minute cruise from our Oxford base.
9. Choose from a variety of local beers at the Buck & Bell – this lovely country pub on the village green at Long Itchington is a short walk from the Grand Union Canal and can be reached in two hours from our Stockton base. Dating back to the 17th century it serves excellent locally sourced food and offers a variety of menus with daily specials. It also serves real ales and beers from local breweries.
10. Find a warm Yorkshire welcome at the Robin Hood – this recently refurbished traditional Yorkshire pub, with real fires and stone flooring, offers draught lagers, cask ales (including Real Ales from local micro-breweries), home-cooked locally sourced bar meals on its specials board, as well as pizzas and burgers. The Robin Hood can be found close to the Leeds & Liverpool Canal at Kirkgate, not far from our canal boat hire base at Silsden.
To make a booking or to get friendly advice on canal holidays, please call our Booking Office on 0117 304 1122.
1. Explore the labyrinth of limestone caverns 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 fascinating 26-acre open-air Black Country Living Museum, often used as a backdrop for the BBC’s award-winning ‘Peaky Blinders’ series. From there, walk across to Dudley Canal Tunnel and board a trip boat to explore the spectacular limestone tunnels under Castle Hill, including the ‘Singing Cavern’ where seven enormous limestone pillars support its roof.
2. Pitt Stop at the Pitt Rivers Museum in Oxford … from our Oxford base, it’s a tranquil three-hour cruise along the River Thames to moorings at Hythe Bridge, perfect for exploring Oxford’s city centre, including the fascinating Pitt Rivers Museum. Here display cabinets are crammed with objects that make people different, including shrunken heads from the Amazon, Hawaiian feather cloaks and the curious ‘Witch in a Bottle’. Lieutenant-General Pitt Rivers made an original gift of 18,000 objects in 1884, some collected on Captain Cook’s voyage in the 1770s. Later travellers have added a further 300,000 objects.
3. Reach the Royal Crescent at Georgian Bath … from our base on the Kennet & Avon Canal at the historic town of Bradford on Avon in Wiltshire, boaters can reach Bath Top Lock in just six hours, travelling through one lock and over two beautiful Bath stone aqueducts. From there, it’s a 25-minute walk through Bath city centre to the stunning Royal Crescent, one of the greatest examples of Georgian architecture in the UK and one of Bath’s most iconic landmarks. Built between 1767 and 1775 and designed by John Wood the Younger, this impressive landmark forms a sweeping crescent of 30 Grade I Listed terrace houses, with a Museum of Georgian Life at No. 1.
4.See fantastic machines in Shakespeare’s Stratford … 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. Here, a choice of waterside eateries, the Swan Theatre, shops and the machine-infested MAD (Mechanical Art & Design) Museum, with over 100 pieces of Kinetic Art and Automata from artists around the World, are all within easy reach.
5. Travel the scenic Four Counties Ring … From our base at Great Haywood, at the junction of the Trent & Mersey and Staffs & Worcs canals, on a week’s break narrowboat holiday-makers can cruise the popular Four Counties Ring. Travelling 109 miles and tackling 94 locks, this scenic journey through the counties of Cheshire, Staffordshire, Shropshire and the West Midlands takes around 55 hours. Highlights include: Lord Lichfield’s Shugborough Hall; the Wedgewood Museum at Etruria; the 6,675-metre long Harecastle Tunnel at Kidsgrove; historic Market Drayton home of the Gingerbread Man; and the beautiful ‘Tixall Wide’ lake, bursting with wildlife.
6. Remember what the Romans did for us in Chester … From our base on the Shropshire Union Canal at Bunbury, the Roman City of Chester is a delightful seven-hour, nine-lock cruise away, travelling through the rolling Cheshire landscape. Once there, canal boat holidaymakers can explore the city’s Roman heritage, including its Roman roads ‘Via Praetoria’ and ‘Via Principalis’ (now Bridge Street and Eastgate), the Roman Museum, Roman Solider Tours, Roman Gardens and Amphitheatre.
7. Glide 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 then continue east to reach the Ellesmere Lakes, also known as the Shropshire Lake District.
8. Potter along to Stoke Bruerne canal village … from our Stockton base on the Grand Union Canal in Warwickshire, the “chocolate box” pretty canalside village of Stoke Bruerne is 13 hours and 17 locks away. Home to a Wildlife Trust nature reserve, a variety of historic pubs and eateries (including the canalside Navigation and Boat Inn), an intriguing Canal Museum housing a treasure trove of canal curiosities, the southern end of the spooky 2,813-metre long Blisworth Tunnel, and a fascinating walking trail, this idyllic village is a really lovely place to visit.
9. Saunter to Saltaire & The Bingley Five Rise … from our base at Silsden on the Leeds & Liverpool Canal, on a short break boaters can travel to Saltaire near Bradford, said to offer the finest example of Italianate architecture in England and now a World Heritage Site. Sir Titus Salt built the textile Mill and entire village for the mill workers on the River Aire, with the new mill opening in 1853. Today, Salt’s Mill is home to examples of the work of Bradford born artist David Hockney, as well as an eclectic collection of books, furniture, jewellery, clothing and food for sale. From Saltaire, it’s a short walk or cruise on to the magnificent Bingley Five Rise lock staircase, the steepest flight of locks in the UK raising the canal up (or down) 60ft.
10. Cruise the epic Stourport Ring … from our base at Tardebigge on the Worcester & Birmingham Canal near Bromsgrove, the 74-mile, 118-lock Stourport Ring can be undertaken in a busy week, or a more leisurely 10-day or two-week holiday. Visiting three cities (Wolverhampton, Birmingham and Worcester) and travelling sections of six different waterways (Staffs & Worcs Canal, Worcs & Birmingham Canal, Birmingham & Fazeley Canal, Birmingham Canal Main Line, Birmingham Canal Old Main Line and the River Severn), it offers a huge variety of both urban and rural scenes to enjoy along the way.
To make a booking or to get friendly advice on canal holidays, please call our Booking Office on 0117 304 1122.
We offer a range of different types of holidays such as City Breaks, Relaxation Cruises and Popular Destinations
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
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