Celebrate Shakespeare and the start of summer at Stratford’s 2017 River Festival

Few towns are more quintessentially English than Stratford-upon-Avon, and there is no better way to celebrate Shakespeare than the annual River Festival in the Bard of Avon’s home town.

Stratford’s 2017 River Festival takes place on Saturday July 1st and Sunday July 2nd, the eighth edition of an event that is close to everybody’s canal-loving heart at Anglo Welsh. For two whole days every summer the riverside comes alive and this year’s festival promises more free events and fun activities than ever.

Last year more than 60,000 people enjoyed world-class entertainment at this award-winning festival on Stratford’s riverside. In the best tradition of English festivities there really is something for everyone, including live music on the Bandstand and Acoustic Stage, fun activities in the Family Zone, artisan craft markets and a mouth-watering selection of food and drink on global food stands.

As befits one of Britain’s biggest canal festivals there will also be a spectacular display of narrowboats, not least Anglo Welsh’s 67ft, 6-berth ‘Summer’, a high spec Bond Class boat that by popular consensus is among the finest narrowboat hires available anywhere on the UK’s waterways.

‘Summer’ will arrive at Stratford-upon-Avon after a leisurely short cruise from Anglo Welsh’s nearby base at Wootton Wawen, Henley-In-Arden, a popular starting point for narrowboat holidays on the Avon Ring, the Warwickshire Ring, Stratford Canal and the Grand Union Canal, among others.

Aside from narrowboats and natural beauty, the highlight of a fabulous two-day River Festival will be a spectacular firework display on the Saturday night. We can’t wait!

And as an extra incentive we will be offering a 20% discount for Anglo Welsh customers who book their Anglo Welsh holiday at the festival!

To book a canal holiday from Wootton Wawen or any of Anglo Welsh’s 11 bases at prime waterway locations, please call our friendly booking team on 0117 304 1122.

Terms and conditions apply. Only available on Anglo Welsh boats, excluding Silsden boats.

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Anglo Welsh’s Top 9 Luxury Boats

Boasting exacting standards of craftsmanship, comfort and finish, our ‘Bond’ and ‘Constellation’ Class boats are the stars of our fleet.

These beautiful narrowboats all have full-size showers, a range of flexible and private berths, a large TV, WiFi, spacious kitchens with modern fittings and lighting, and a smart new livery. And for that extra bit of comfort in the colder months, the four and six berth boats also have solid fuel stoves.

Over the last four years, we’ve been introducing these luxurious boats at nearly all of our bases, so here are our narrowboat heroes:


  1. Travel to Stratford aboard ‘Aquila’ – the beautiful four-berth Constellation Class ‘Aquila’ arrived at our Wootton Wawen base on the Stratford Canal in 2016, and she’s already proving to be a favourite. On a short break (three or four nights) narrowboat holiday-makers booking ‘Aquila’ travel through the beautiful Warwickshire countryside to Shakespeare’s Stratford. On a week’s holiday, boaters can reach historic Warwick or Birmingham’s City Centre, while on a two-week break, they can complete the Avon or the Warwickshire ring. ‘Aquila’s 2017 hire prices start at £695 for short break (three or four nights), £995 for a week.
  2. Cruise the K&A on the luxurious ‘Langton’ – the majestic 12-berth Bond Class ‘Langto’n can be hired from our Bradford on Avon base, on the Kennet & Avon Canal in Wiltshire. From there, it’s a six-hour cruise to moorings close to Bath City Centre, perfect for a short break. Or head west to Fox Hanger Wharf at the base of the magnificent Caen Hill Flight of locks in Devizes. On a week’s holiday, boaters can reach Pewsey Wharf, or with two weeks to cruise, the Thames at Reading. 2017 short breaks on ‘Langton’ start at £785, weekly hire from £1,120.
  3. Charter ‘Cassiopeia’ to Chester – the super six-berth ‘Cassiopeia’ is based at Bunbury on the Shropshire Union Canal near Tarporley in Cheshire. It takes just seven hours by boat to reach the historic city of Chester, perfect for a short break. While on a week’s holiday, hirers can travel the Four Counties Ring, or head to the Llangollen or Macclesfield Canal, and with two weeks away, complete the Cheshire Ring. ‘Cassiopeia’s 2017 hire prices start at £715 for short break, £1,020 for a week. ***The four-berth Constellation Class ‘Carina’ is also available from Bunbury.
  4. Enjoy a break on the Thames with ‘Delphius’ – this 12-berth Constellation Class narrowboat is available from our Oxford base, on the River Thames at Eynsham. It takes just over three hours to reach moorings at Hythe Bridge in Oxford City Centre. Other short break options from this base include heading east along the Thames to Wallingford or west to Lechlade. Or transfer onto the Oxford Canal at Oxford and head up to Lower Heyford. Weekly cruise destinations include Henley on Thames and Banbury, and in two weeks, boaters can reach Little Venice and Paddington Basin in London. 2017 short breaks on ‘Delphius’ start at £785, weekly hire from £1,120. ***The 12-berth Constellation Class ‘Orion’ is due to arrive at Oxford next September.
  5. Admire Telford’s Aqueduct aboard ‘Aquarius’ – our four-berth Constellation Class ‘Aquarius’ is available to hire from Trevor on the Llangollen Canal in North Wales. This base is just minutes away from Thomas Telford’s masterpiece of Victorian engineering, the World Heritage Status Pontcysyllte Aqueduct. On a short break, travel east across the Aqueduct to Ellesmere or Whitchurch. With a week to hire, boaters can reach Wrenbury and with two weeks, they can tackle the Cheshire Ring. 2017 short breaks on ‘Aquarius’ start at £695 for a short break, £995 for a week.
  6. Glide to Bristol and back on ‘Gloria’ – the four-berth Bond Class ‘Gloria’ is available from our canal boat hire base at Sydney Wharf in Bath. From there, it’s a ten-hour journey through Bath and along the Bristol Avon to Bristol’s Floating Harbour, with Brunel’s SS Great Britain and Blue Reef Aquarium. On a week’s holiday, boaters can head east to Pewsey and back, travelling through the magnificent Caen Hill flight of locks at Devizes, one of the Seven Wonders of the Waterways. ‘Gloria’s 2017 hire prices start at £695 for short break, £995 for a week. ***The luxury six-berth Bond Class ‘Bradbury’ and 12-berth Constellation Class ‘Andromeda’ will also be available to hire from Bath in 2017.
  7. Travel along the Trent & Mersey aboard the lovely ‘Leo II’ – the four-berth Bond Class ‘Leo II’ is available to hire from our Great Haywood base, on the junction of the Trent & Mersey and Staffordshire & Worcester canals. Here there are many short break routes available, including the option to travel south along the Trent & Mersey Canal to Fradley Pool Nature Reserve and back. On a week’s holiday, boaters can travel to Market Drayton or Drayton Manor Theme Park, or tackle the Four Counties Ring. ‘Leo II’s 2017 hire prices start at £695 for short break, £995 for a week. ***The new four-berth Constellation Class ‘Pegasus’ is due to arrive at Great Haywood in April 2017.
  8. Hire ‘Hydra’ and head to Birmingham – from April 2017, the four-berth Constellation Class ‘Hydra’ will be available from our Tardebigge base, on the Worcester & Birmingham Canal near Bromsgrove. From there, it’s a five-hour, lock free journey to City Centre moorings at Gas Street Basin, perfect for a short break. On a week’s holiday from Tardebigge, narrowboat holiday-makers can head to Stratford, Warwick or Worcester, or travel the Stourport Ring. On a two-week break they can travel the Warwickshire or Avon ring. 2017 hire prices for ‘Hydra’ start at £695 for short break (three or four nights), £995 for a week.
  9. Explore Warwickshire aboard ‘Lynx’ – from June 2017, the brand new 12-berth Constellation Class ‘Lyn’x will be available to hire from our base at Stockton, on the Grand Union Canal in Warwickshire. Short break routes from Stockton include Warwick and its stunning Castle, said to be Britain’s greatest medieval experience. On a week’s holiday, boaters can reach Banbury on the Oxford Canal or Foxton on the Leicester Line. With two weeks to cruise, boaters can reach Oxford or travel the Leicester Ring. 2017 short breaks on ‘Lynx’ will start at £785, weekly hire from £1,120. ***The six-berth Constellation Class ‘Perseus’ is due to arrive at Stockton in August 2017.


To make a booking or to get friendly advice on canal holidays, please call our Booking Office on 0117 304 1122.

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Read all about it! Anglo Welsh’s 2017 brochure is out now with news of a special Price Freeze.

As winter nights draw in, who doesn’t enjoy curling up on their sofa with a loved one and a hot drink to start planning next year’s holidays? And if your particular idea of heaven is a canal boat holiday, nothing will provide more inspiration on those cold winter nights than Anglo Welsh’s brand-new 2017 brochure.

2017 Canal Boat Holidays in England and Wales is an attractive full-colour brochure jam-packed with everything you need to know about Anglo Welsh’s 160-strong narrowboat fleet and its 11 bases spread across England and Wales. And you can get one in the post tomorrow (see below)!

Fifty-six glossy pages include detailed canal itineraries for historic circuits like The Four Counties Ring, The Black Country Ring, The Avon Ring and the Pennine Circuit, supported by insider tips on the best stops along the way, including Georgian Bath, Shakespeare’s Stratford, medieval Chester, and the awesome Pontcysyllte Aqueduct in North Wales.

No two canal holidays are the same and Anglo Welsh’s 2017 brochure reflects that. Whether you’re a narrowboat novice or a seasoned skipper, parents whose kids have spotted Alton Towers on page 7 or a romantic couple without a care in the world, you’ll find a route to suit your needs. And a narrowboat!

We’ve got big boats for 12 people, little boats for 2 people, boats for weeklong hires, dayboats for day trips, and for a premium experience, our new Constellation Class fleet; all with comfortable cabins, modern kitchen facilities, TV, wi-fi*, and a cosy spot in the corner for well-behaved dogs.

Star guest in this year’s brochure is Broadchurch star Matthew Gravelle who was at the centre of the biggest whodunit since ‘who shot JR?’ in ITV’s acclaimed crime drama. The versatile actor took his wife and kids on a true-life family adventure on an Anglo Welsh narrowboat in Wales, and unlike his fictional victims in Broadchurch, lived to tell the tale.

Last but definitely not least, the new brochure contains all the information you need on how to book your 2017 Anglo Welsh holiday and a great range of money saving offers, including our 2017 Prize Freeze. That means you can book your 2017 holiday today at 2016 prices**.

Anglo Welsh also continues to thank its returning customers with the loyalty bonus scheme, a saving of up to 8% on 2017 bookings. But no need to worry if you’ve not holidayed with us before; if you book before December 31st 2016 we will include an early bird discount of £75.

Anglo Welsh is the UK’s leading canal boat holiday company with over 40 years’ experience providing high quality, exceptional value waterway holidays. Enjoy choosing your 2017 narrowboat holiday!


To order your 2017 Anglo Welsh brochure call our Booking Office on 0117 304 1122. We’ll put one in the post today. Or click here to start browsing the digital version.

*Wi-fi availability is subject to signal. **Terms and conditions apply.  
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Anglo Welsh’s Top 10 Canal Boat Holidays For 2017

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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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