Enjoy a family adventure afloat this summer, closer to home
By Emma Lovell, Anglo Welsh’s Reservations Manager
England and Wales are criss-crossed by hundreds of miles of beautiful inland waterways to explore afloat. They take narrowboat holiday-makers through some of our best loved countryside, and into the heart of some our most famous waterside towns and cities.
Narrowboat holidays are great for families, bringing everyone together for an adventure afloat. From steering the boat, and working the locks, to planning the route and the stops, everyone can get involved.
Pets are welcome aboard all our boats and the first pet travels free, so your dog, hamster or budgie can enjoy the floating holiday home break too!
Anglo Welsh offers narrowboat holidays from 11 starting points across England and Wales. So, whether you want to stay close to home and explore your local waterway, or travel further afield to see another part of the country, we have hundreds of routes and destinations to choose from.
From views of the dramatic Welsh mountains on the Llangollen Canal, to meadows full of birdsong alongside the majestic of the River Thames, we’ve put together a list of our Top 10 narrowboat holidays for families this summer:
1. Cruise to the Shropshire Lake District – from our narrowboat hire base on the Llangollen Canal at Trevor in North Wales, on a short break you can cruise to Ellesmere, in the heart of the Shropshire Lake District. The journey takes around seven hours, passing through two locks, two tunnels and over two magnificent aqueducts, including the famous UNESCO World Heritage Status Pontcysyllte Aqueduct. This Wonder of the Waterways, carries the Llangollen Canal 38 metres high above the Dee valley, with magnificent views of the valley below, and Welsh Mountains beyond.
2. Navigate through Shakespeare country to Stratford upon Avon – from our narrowboat hire base at Wootton Wawen, on the Stratford Canal near Henley-in-Arden, it takes around six hours to cruise through the Warwickshire countryside, which includes passing through 17 locks, to reach overnight moorings in Bancroft Basin in the heart of Stratford upon Avon. Once there, you can walk to all the top attractions in Stratford, from theatres and museums, to pubs and restaurants. This destination is perfect for a weekend away.
3. Travel round the Black Country Ring – on a week’s break from our barge hire base on the Trent & Mersey Canal at Great Haywood in Staffordshire, you can travel round the Black Country Ring. The journey, which travels 75 miles and passes through 79 locks, takes around 43 hours. Highlights along the way include: Gas Street Basin in the heart of Birmingham City Centre; the 21 locks at Wolverhampton; and the tranquil waters at Tixall Wide.
4. Take a Thames boating holiday to Wallingford – from our narrowboat rental base on the River Thames at Oxford, it’s a nine-hour, 11-lock cruise to the historic market town of Wallingford. Along the way, you’ll travel through miles of peaceful Oxfordshire meadows and pastureland. Places to stop off along the way, include the City of Oxford with its world famous museums, and the market town of Abingdon, with its popular waterside pub, The Nag’s Head. This journey is perfect for a four night mid-week break.
5. Potter through the Worcestershire countryside via the Stourport Ring – on a week’s break from our canal boat rental base at Tardebigge on the Worcester & Birmingham Canal near Bromsgrove, you can travel round the Stourport Ring. This popular circuit will take you on an 84-mile, 114-lock journey, cruising for around 56 hours. Highlights include: Gas Street Basin in the centre of Birmingham; Kinver Edge with its extensive woodlands and National Trust Holy Austin Rock Houses; the magnificent Cathedral City of Worcester; idyllic stretches of Worcestershire countryside along the River Severn; and the dramatic flight of 30 locks at Tardebigge.
6. Cruise across the Pennines to Foulridge Tunnel – from our canal boat hire base at Silsden on the Leeds & Liverpool Canal in West Yorkshire, it takes just around 13 hours, passing through 15 locks, to reach Foulridge Tunnel. The journey will take you through a series of historic towns and villages, including Skipton, with its medieval fortress and acres of woodland trails to explore, and East Marton with a choice of pubs and access to the Pennine Way. This route is perfect for a week’s holiday.
7. Travel through the Avon Valley and up the Caen Hill Flight – on a week’s break from our canal boat rental base at Monkton Combe on the Kennet & Avon Canal near Bath, it takes around 19 hours to reach Pewsey Wharf. The route will take you through 37 locks each way, including the 29 locks of the Caen Hill Flight at Devizes, one of the Seven Wonders of the Waterways. This journey will also take you over two dramatic Bath stone aqueducts at Dundas and Avoncliff, through the historic market town of Bradford on Avon and the beautiful Vale of Pewsey, part of the West Berkshire Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty.
8. Journey to the Eisteddfod town of Llangollen & back – on a week’s holiday from our canal boat rental base at Whixall Marina, on the Prees Branch of the Llangollen Canal in Shropshire, it takes around 12 hours, passing through two locks, to reach the historic town of Llangollen on the edge of the Berwyn Mountains. Along the way, you’ll travel through the Shropshire Lake District and then across the magnificent World Heritage Status Pontcysyllte and Chirk aqueducts, with incredible views of the Welsh Mountains.
9. Navigate through the Cheshire countryside to The Cathedral of the Canals – on a short break from our canal boat rental base at Bunbury on the Shropshire Union Canal, you can cruise to the Anderton Boat Lift. The journey takes around nine hours and passes through 20 locks. Looking like a giant spider crouched on the hillside, this incredible feat of Victorian engineering moves boats 15 metres up or down between the River Weaver and the Trent & Mersey Canal.
10. Boat to Warwick Castle and back – on a short break from our canal boat hire base at Stockton, on the Grand Union Canal in Warwickshire, you can cruise to moorings close to the magnificent Warwick Castle, said to be Britain’s greatest medieval experience. The journey there and back takes around 14 hours and passes through 40 locks (20 each way).
Britain’s 3,000 mile network of navigable inland waterways provides the perfect destination for a Staycation afloat in 2021.
Pottering slowly through the countryside at just four miles per hour, watching out for wildlife, is a great way to relax.
Canal boat holidays offer a self-contained floating holiday home experience, and the chance to curate your very own adventure afloat. It’s free to moor up almost anywhere, so you can stop off at canalside pubs, villages and waterside destinations along the way.
To help plan your next waterway-getaway, here are our Top 10 narrowboat holidays for 2021:
1. Cruise across the Pennines – from our canal barge rental base at Silsden on the Leeds & Liverpool Canal in West Yorkshire, on a week’s break you can cruise across the Pennines to Foulridge Tunnel and back. The journey to Foulridge takes around 13 hours and passes through 15 locks. Along the way you’ll pass through Skipton (known as ‘The Gateway to the Yorkshire Dales’), with its medieval stone castle. And you’ll pass through a series of villages with traditional pubs, including The Slaters Arms at Bradley, The Anchor Inn at Gargrave and The Cross Keys at East Marton.
2. Navigate the Stourport Ring – on a week’s break departing from our narrowboat hire base at Tardebigge near Bromsgrove, you can cruise the popular Stourport Ring. With 79 miles of waterway to cruise and 118 locks to pass through, it takes around 52 hours. The scenery ranges from peaceful open country on the River Severn, to vibrant cityscapes on the Birmingham Main Line. Destinations to visit include: Worcester Cathedral; Cadbury’s World; and the Sea Life Centre at Brindleyplace.
3. Take a Thames cruise to Wallingford – on a short break from our canal boat hire base close to Oxford, you can take a Thames boating holiday to the historic town of Wallingford. The journey passes through 11 locks each way and takes around 18 hours, there and back. You can stop off at Oxford, packed with architectural treasures, including the magnificent Bodleian Library. And Abingdon with its popular riverside pub, the Nag’s Head. At Wallingford, you can take time to explore the Castle Gardens dating back to Saxon times, and follow the Agatha Christie Trail.
4. Spot an otter on the Montgomery Canal – on a week’s break from our canal boat rental base at Whixall Marina, you can cruise a section of the Montgomery Canal. This beautiful canal, which runs for 38 miles between England and Wales, is designated a Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI) on both sides of the border. You can cruise a seven-mile section to Gronwyn Wharf and back, looking out for otters and water voles. From Whixall, the journey to Gronwyn Wharf and back takes around 20 hours, travelling through 34 miles of beautiful countryside and passing through 16 locks (eight each way).
5. Cruise to Caen Hill – on a short break from our base on the Kennet & Avon Canal at Bath, it takes around 9 hours to reach the Caen Hill Flight of Locks. One of the Seven Wonders of the Waterways, this dramatic flight of locks at Devizes is one of the most iconic sights on the waterways. You’ll pass through eight locks each way. You can enjoy stops at Bradford on Avon, with its magnificent medieval Tithe Barn, and Avoncliff Aqueduct with its popular Cross Guns pub.
6. Head to ‘The Cathedral of the Canals’ – from our canal boat hire base at Bunbury in Cheshire, it takes around nine hours to reach the iconic Anderton Boat Lift. This Wonder of the Waterways is also known as ‘The Cathedral of the Canals’. It lifts boats 15 metres between two waterways in two giant tanks of water. On the way to Anderton, you’ll navigate through beautiful Cheshire countryside along the Middlewich Branch of the Shropshire Union Canal. And you’ll pass through the historic Roman town of Middlewich
7. Glide across ‘The Stream in the Sky’ – from our boat yard on the Llangollen Canal at Trevor in North Wales, you’ll soon encounter the incredible Pontcysyllte Aqueduct. One of the ‘Seven Wonders of the Waterways’, this World Heritage structure transports canal boats 38 metres high across the Dee Valley. On a short break from Trevor, you can travel cross the aqueduct and on to Ellesmere, in the heart of the Shropshire Lake District. The journey to Ellesmere and back takes around 14 hours, passing through two locks each way.
8. Navigate the beautiful Oxford Canal – on a short break from our canal boat hire base at Stockton, you can reach the pretty canalside village of Fenny Compton. You’ll begin your journey on the Grand Union Canal in the Warwickshire countryside. You can transfer onto the Oxford Canal at Napton-on-the-Hill, with a choice of pubs. From there, the route winds gently through the countryside, with a series of locks to negotiate along the way. The journey to Fenny Compton and back takes around 20 hours, passing through 24 locks (12 each way).
9. Cruise into the Peak District – on a week’s break from our narrowboat hire base at Great Haywood near Stafford, you can travel into the Peak District. It takes around 20 hours to reach Froghall Basin, passing through 35 locks. The route will take you along the Trent & Mersey Canal to Stoke on Trent. Here you can transfer onto the Caldon Canal. You’ll then travel through beautiful stretches of unspoilt countryside, with moorlands, woodlands and an abundance of wildlife.
10. Visit Shakespeare’s Stratford – from our base at Wootton Wawen on the Stratford Canal, it takes around six hours to reach Bancroft Basin in the centre of Shakespeare’s Stratford. Along the way, you’ll pass through 17 locks and miles of peaceful Warwickshire countryside. You can moor up in the basin and use it as a base to explore Stratford-upon-Avon. This lively market town has a great choice of shops, restaurants, museums and theatres.
We offer winter cruising from six of our narrowboat hire bases*, giving you the chance to cruise gently through the countryside, stopping off to explore canalside villages along the way, and to celebrate Christmas and New Year afloat.
The canals are quieter during the winter months and people tend to make shorter journeys. Winter cruising is about enjoying being close to the water and visiting canalside pubs with traditional log fires and other local attractions, rather than travelling lots of miles each day.
From a cosy narrowboat for two to a family canal boat for 12*, 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, and there’s plenty of storage room on board, so you can bring lots of warm and wet weather clothing.
Some of our routes will be affected at times by the Canal & River Trust’s annual winter maintenance work, but here are our Top 6 winter narrowboat holidays for 2020:
1. Cruise through the Staffordshire countryside to Fradley – heading south from our narrowboat holiday hire base at Great Haywood on the Trent & Mersey Canal in Staffordshire, you’ll reach Fradley Junction in around five hours. The journey passes through five locks and 12 peaceful miles of Staffordshire countryside, including the Cannock Chase Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. Places to enjoy along the way include The Wolseley Centre run by the Staffordshire Wildlife Trust, the Wolseley Arms pub and the village of Handsacre with its pub ‘The Old Peculiar’. Once at Fradley, you’ll find refreshments at the Canalside Café or The Swan Inn, and walking trails at the Fradley Pool Nature Reserve.
2. Travel gently through the Shropshire countryside to historic Whitchurch – from our barge holiday rental base at Whixall on the Prees Branch of the Llangollen Canal in Shropshire, it takes around four hours to reach the pretty historic town of Whitchurch. Along the way, the route passes Whixall Moss, a Mecca for wildlife. Once at Whitchurch, enjoy way-marked walks, Brown Moss nature reserve and a choice of eateries, including the award-winning Black Bear pub.
3. Float to through the Warwickshire countryside to Shakespeare’s Stratford – from our narrowboat rental base at on the Stratford Canal at Wootton Wawen, near Henley-in-Arden in Warwickshire, it’s a picturesque six-hour cruise through the Warwickshire countryside to Shakespeare’s Stratford. Once there, you can moor up in Bancroft Basin in the centre of Stratford-upon-Avon to enjoy exploring this historic town, and visiting some of its many pubs, restaurants and cafes.
4. Navigate to the canalside village of Lapworth – from our canal barge holiday hire base at Tardebigge on the Worcester & Birmingham Canal near Bromsgrove, it takes around seven hours to cruise the historic canal village of Lapworth. With no locks to pass through along the way, it’s a great route for canal boat holiday beginners. Once there, you can moor up for countryside walks along the Heart of England Way, and visit the National Trust’s Packwood House, with beautiful gardens to explore.
5. Visit historic Chester afloat – from our narrowboat hire base at Bunbury on the Shropshire Union Canal near Tarporley in Cheshire, it’s a seven-hour cruise through the Cheshire countryside, passing through nine locks, to reach the historic city of Chester. Once moored up at Northgate visitor moorings, you can take time to explore this ancient Cathedral City with Roman City Walls, Amphitheatre, riverside gardens and fabulous City Centre Christmas lights.
6. Cross ‘The Stream in the Sky’ to the Shropshire Lake District – our canal boat rental base at Trevor on the Llangollen Canal in North Wales, is a ten minute cruise away from the incredible World Heritage Status Pontcysyllte Aqueduct. This magnificent feat of Victorian engineering carries the canal 30 metres high above the Dee Valley, with amazing views to enjoy. On a short break, canal boat holiday-makers can cruise to Ellesmere, in the centre of the Shropshire Lake District, to visit the famous Mere, a haven for wildlife.
*Subject to government guidance and the lifting of relevant restrictions to control the spread of coronavirus, our boat yards are due to reopen on Monday 7 December. If you make a booking, but are legally unable to take your holiday as planned due to a Government coronavirus lockdown, you can transfer your booking with no admin fee or request a refund.
Britain’s canal network was built by hand more than 200 years ago, and the blood, sweat and tears of countless hours’ work, as well as many more grisly incidents, have left their ghostly mark on the waterways.
Canal users often report strange occurrences along Britain’s 2,000 mile network of canals and rivers, so we’ve put together our Top 8 creepy canal destinations ready for Halloween.
Get the chills in Chester – at Chester’s old Northgate where the canal was dug into part of the town’s moat, a Roman centurion can sometimes be seen guarding the entrance to the city. From our boat yard on the Shropshire Union Canal at Bunbury near Tarporley, it’s a seven hour cruise to Chester, passing through nine locks along the way.
Meet ‘The Man Monkey’ – at Bridge 39 near Norbury, sightings of a hideous black, shaggy coated being are believed to be the ghost of a boatman drowned here in the 19th century. From our narrowboat hire base at Great Haywood, it’s a 36-mile, 14-lock journey to Norbury, which takes around 17 hours.
Watch out for the phantom at Blisworth – at Blisworth Tunnel, near Stoke Bruerne in Northamptonshire, a mysterious candlelit phantom appears at the spot where 14 navvies died in a rock fall during the construction of the tunnel in the late 18th century. From our canal boat hire base at Stockton on the Grand Union Canal, it’s a 13-hour, 17-lock cruise to Stoke Bruerne, passing through the 2,813-metre-long Blisworth Tunnel, the third longest navigable tunnel on the UK canal network.
Steer a course for an aqueduct apparition – on moonlit nights an eerie figure can sometimes be seen gliding along the towpath by the Pontcysyllte Aqueduct, a UNESCO World Heritage site on the Llangollen Canal. From our narrowboat hire base at Trevor, the aqueduct is a 10-minute cruise away.
Head for horror at Harecastle Tunnel – a shrieking boggart – the ghost of Kit Crewbucket who was murdered and whose headless corpse was dumped in the canal – is said to inhabit Harecastle Tunnel at Kidsgrove. From our canal boat hire base at Great Haywood, on the Trent & Mersey Canal in Staffordshire, it’s a 22-mile, 18-lock journey to Harecastle Tunnel, which takes around 10 hours.
Listen to cries for help at Lapworth – the ghost of a boatman – who lost his footing on the bridge as he walked back from the Navigation Inn to his working boat in the 1940s, falling through the ice and drowning – can sometimes be heard shouting for help in cold weather. It takes seven hours to travel lock-free to Lapworth from our narrowboat hire base at Tardebigge, on the Worcester & Birmingham Canal near Bromsgrove.
Aim for Astley if you want to get spooked – at Astley on the Bridgewater Canal, a mysterious grey lady – thought to be the ghost of 18 year-old Ann Mort who died of a broken heart after her parents banished her suitor – appears to be searching for her lost love. From our canal boat hire base at Bunbury, it’s a 58-mile, 11-lock journey to Astley, which takes around 23 hours.
Be prepared for screaming at Betton – at Betton Cutting on the Shropshire Union Canal near Market Drayton, which has always had a dark reputation among boating people, a shrieking spectre has been seen and heard. From our boat yard at Great Haywood in Staffordshire, it’s a 19-hour, 19-lock journey to Market Drayton.
To book a holiday or break on any of Anglo Welsh’s fleet, call our friendly Booking Team on 0117 304 1122.
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.
Celebrate National Parks Week Afloat (22 – 29 July)
Canal boat holidays offer the chance to explore some of Britain’s most beautiful countryside, including several of our wonderful National Parks. Cruising gently along at just four miles per hour is the perfect way to relax, unwind and take in the scenery.
To celebrate National Parks Week this week (22-29 July), we’ve put together our ‘Top 3 National Park Canal Boat Holidays’:
Potter through the Peak District to Froghall and back. On a week’s break from our narrowboat hire base at Great Haywood on the Trent & Mersey Canal, it’s a 43-hour return journey to Froghall Basin and back, travelling a total of 72 miles through 72 locks. To make this journey, boaters first head north along the Trent & Mersey Canal to Stoke-on-Trent, to connect onto the Caldon Canal at Etruria. As the Caldon Canal leaves Stoke, it begins to pass through gently rolling hills, wooded areas and past old mills and then alongside the beautiful River Churnet, where boaters can look out for kingfishers, herons, jays and woodpeckers, as well as otters which have recently returned to the area. At Cheddleton, the Flint Mill Museum is open on selected weekends and the Black Lion pub offers refreshment. After Cheddleton, the canal enters ever more remote countryside and merges with the River Churnet at Oakmeadow Ford Lock, where the valley becomes too narrow for both. At Consall Forge, once home to forges, furnaces and slitting mills, boaters will find the secluded Black Lion pub, said to be one of the waterway network’s most iconic pubs. From Consall, the canal leaves the River Churnet, soon reaching Flint Mill Lock, where the channel narrows, woodlands close in and the canal’s sense of isolation grows, before reaching the 69-metre long Froghall Tunnel.
Travel along the edge of the Yorkshire Dales to Gargrave. From our canal boat hire base at Silsden on the Leeds & Liverpool Canal in West Yorkshire, it takes around seven hours, passing through three locks and travelling 12 miles to reach Gargrave on the River Aire – perfect for a short break. The journey takes canal boat holiday-makers through the typical Yorkshire stone built villages of Kildwick and Farnhill, as well as Skipton with its fascinating medieval castle. From Gargrave, visitors can access the Yorkshire Dales National Park where 680 square miles of some of England’s finest walking country can be explored, including deep valleys, open moorland and rugged hills with very little habitation. On a week’s break, canal boat holiday-makers can travel on to Foulridge, winding along the contours of the side of Airedale, with breath-taking views of the Yorkshire Dales.
Cruise along the Peak Forest Canal to Whaley Bridge. From our canal boat rental base at Great Haywood, it takes around 30 hours, travelling 57 miles and passing through 31 locks to reach Whaley Bridge at the head of the beautiful Peak Forest Canal – perfect for a 10-day or two-week break. The route begins by heading north along the Trent & Mersey Canal, passing through the pretty market town of Stone, Stoke on Trent with its Potteries Museum and the 2675-metre long Harecastle Tunnel, before joining the Macclesfield Canal at Hardings Wood. From there, the journey takes boaters along the full 28 miles of the beautiful Macclesfield Canal with spectacular views over the Cheshire Plain, and passes through Congleton and Macclesfield, before reaching Marple. From here, boaters can connect onto the Peak Forest Canal and travel on to historic Whaley Bridge and Bugsworth Basin, once one of the largest inland ports on the English canal network.
To book a holiday or break on any of Anglo Welsh’s fleet, call our friendly booking team on 0117 304 1122.
Britain’s beautiful canal network passes through some of our most exciting towns and cities, where waterfronts have been transformed into vibrant destinations, with shops, bars, restaurants and top attractions. Our narrowboats can accommodate up to 12 people – perfect for getting family or friends together for a celebration afloat, whether it’s mini-break or longer holiday.
We even offer luxury canal boat hire for groups of up to 12 people, with our ‘Bond Class’ 12-berth boats operating out of Bath, Oxford, Trevor and Stockton.
Here are our top 5 celebration destinations afloat for 2018:
Birmingham’s Brindleyplace. From our canal boat rental base at Tardebigge on the Worcester & Birmingham Canal near Bromsgrove, city centre moorings at Gas Street Basin next are just five lock-free hours away by boat. From there, canal boat holiday-makers are perfectly positioned to enjoy the fantastic entertainment offered at Birmingham’s vibrant Brindleyplace, where as well the glitzy Mailbox shopping centre and dozens of bars and restaurants, there’s a host of summer events planned, including free live music at The Water’s Edge on Friday nights, summer markets on the last Friday of each month, and a free outdoor film festival from 16 to 22 July.
Oxford & the River Thames. With moorings close to Hythe Bridge, just ten minutes on foot from the centre of Oxford, staying on board a canal boat is a fantastic way to get the most out of this exciting University City. Our canal boat hire base at Eynsham on the River Thames near Witney, is a three-hour cruise away, giving hirers the chance to enjoy a Thames boating holiday, as well as all that the ‘City of Dreaming Spires’ has to offer. With major tourist attractions like the Bodleian Library and Ashmolean Museum, shopping meccas like the Covered Market and Westgate Shopping Centre, and a wide choice of bars, pubs, clubs, nightclubs, theatres and cinemas, Oxford is a great place to celebrate a big occasion.
Georgian Bath. Famous for its beautiful Georgian architecture and Roman Baths, the World Heritage Status City of Bath on the banks of the River Avon, remains one of Britain’s top tourist destinations. From our narrowboat hire base at Sydney Wharf, it takes just two hours (passing through six locks), to reach moorings in the centre of Bath. This summer, canal boat holiday-makers take advantage of the City’s fantastic rich history and vibrant culture, including taking a dip in the thermal hot springs at the Thermae Bath Spa, visiting the Roman Baths by torchlight, enjoying top comedians at Komedia’s Krater Comedy Club, live music at the Green Park Brassie and cocktails at the Circo Bar & Lounge.
Shakespeare’s Stratford. From our canal boat rental base at Wootton Wawen, on the Stratford Canal near Henley-in-Arden, this famous town on the banks of the River Avon can be reached in just six hours. Once there, narrowboat holiday-makers can moor up in Bancroft Basin in the centre of Stratford, close to waterside restaurants like Carluccios, the Royal Shakespeare theatre with its star-studded productions, and a choice of bars, pubs and clubs, including the Hotel du Vin, All Bar One and the Shakespeare Street Cocktail Bar & Nightclub.
Historic Chester. Renowned for its Roman city walls, cobbled streets, medieval shopping rows and racecourse, the historic City of Chester on the River Dee is just seven hours by boat from our canal barge holiday base on the Shropshire Union Canal at Bunbury. As well as amazing shopping, Chester has some fantastic bars and restaurants, including: the Opera Grill housed in an impressive Grade II listed building with a neoclassical Greek façade (which also offers live music on Friday nights); The Alchemist cocktail bar and restaurant where exciting experimental drinks and food are served; and the lively Barlounge Chester with great outdoor and indoor space for celebrating.
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.
We offer a range of different types of holidays such as City Breaks, Relaxation Cruises and Popular Destinations
So why choose Anglo Welsh?
More than 55 years providing unique canal boat holidays.
Modern & spacious narrowboat holiday fleet – from 2 to 12 berths.
Wide choice of narrowboat hire locations and canal.
Canal boat holiday routes for novices & experienced boaters.
Flexible holiday booking, no hidden costs.
Family friendly holidays, pets also welcome.
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