From Rio de Janeiro to Great Haywood – Olympian Nick Beighton’s canal adventures

What do you do after spending three years training six days a week in order to compete in the Paralympics? The answer, according to Nick Beighton, is “Go on a narrowboat holiday!!”

Former Royal Engineers captain Nick first took up rowing as part of his rehabilitation programme after losing both legs to a Taliban landmine in Afghanistan in 2009. He competed in the mixed scull at the 2012 Paralympics and won the bronze medal in the Men’s KL2 canoe sprint at the 2016 games in Rio de Janeiro.

Back home after his Brazilian exploits, Nick decided it was time for some quality time with wife Alexis and son Jonah. “After Rio I was after a way to wind down with my family on a proper British holiday,” says the 35-year-old from Stockport. “Spending a week on a narrowboat seemed like the ideal solution! We were slightly apprehensive when we arrived at Great Haywood Marina, not really knowing what to expect as I’m a double above knee amputee and we have a 2-year-old son. What could go possibly wrong??!”

Happily, the answer to that latter question was ‘nothing at all’. “The Anglo Welsh staff were brilliant,” continues Nick. “After getting our kit on board and having a briefing it was straight off for a practice and a demo of how to navigate a lock. Having never helmed a narrowboat before it took a little getting used to, especially as we’d hired a 67ft barge called Oracle. Luckily, I’ve sailed a bit so it didn’t take too long to get familiar with the tiller. After being under way for about 20 minutes we were on our own!”

“Over the next five days we had a fabulous family holiday. First, we travelled down the Trent and Mersey Canal and a day-out at the National Memorial Arboretum. Then it was on to the Birmingham and Fazeley and a day at Drayton Manor Park to keep our son happy. We chose a route without too many locks to navigate and plenty of good canal side pubs to enjoy!”

“All in all it was a very enjoyable week,” concludes Nick. “We left relaxed and full of appreciation for the great service offered by everybody at Anglo Welsh.”

Our commitment… as a member of the Armed Forces you can benefit from 15% off an Anglo Welsh Holiday. Simply call 0117 3041122 and ask about our Armed Forces Discount.


End the canal season in perfect style with Anglo Welsh’s fantastic Autumn Sale

Book any Anglo Welsh canal holiday departing between 23rd September and 28th October 2016 and save 25%, a saving of up to £465.


The nights are drawing in, Strictly Come Dancing is on the telly, and the leaves are changing colour. It can only mean one thing; autumn is here! And to help you celebrate nature’s golden brown season in style, Anglo Welsh is slashing 25% off the price of holiday bookings* from its 11 narrowboat bases across England and Wales.

Autumn is the perfect season for cruising the waterways of England and Wales. As summer exits stage left, so do the masses. Tranquil, tree-lined canals are at their prettiest as leaves change from green, to yellow, to orange, to red. And even if leaf-crunching is not your thing, the sight of excited doggies battling with autumn leaves will bring a smile to your face (well-behaved pets are always welcome on Anglo Welsh holidays). Oh, and did we mention conkers?

Autumn also provides a great excuse to cook hearty stews and broths in one of Anglo Welsh’s fully-equipped narrowboat kitchens. Celebrate the game season with slow-cooked pheasant, wild mushrooms and root vegetables or grab a pumpkin before the Halloween rush.

Feeling bloated after all that stew? Fear not, as the days grow crisper wrap up in your favourite seasonal scarves, jumpers and beanies. Or get new ones?! Anglo Welsh pit stops at Birmingham, Oxford, Bath and Stratford-upon-Avon afford plenty of opportunities for retail therapy, not to mention pub lunches in cosy canal side pubs.

Tired from the exertions of towpath walks and shopping? No problem, autumn heralds the return of Strictly Come Dancing, Poldark and Match of The Day, all of which you can enjoy below deck on an Anglo Welsh flat-screen TV as the perfect autumn day comes to a relaxing end.

Whether it’s a week’s holiday in a 12-berth narrowboat, a romantic long weekend for two, or a day boat hire with the kids, treat yourself to an Anglo Welsh experience this autumn … and save up to £465 on your booking.

To save 25% in Anglo Welsh’s End of Season Sale, please call our Booking Team on 0117 304 1122 and quote ‘Autumn Sale’

*This offer cannot be used in conjunction with any other offers including Flotilla discount, Loyalty discount, and Multi-week discount. Only available on Anglo Welsh boats. Terms and conditions apply. 

Moor your Anglo Welsh narrowboat for bracing (or gentle?!) canal side walks

One of the joys of a canal boat journey is the relaxing sensation that comes from being on the water, but even canal-faring stalwarts have to occasionally venture on dry land if they want to stretch their legs.

“The unfolding scenery of a canal stroll really takes some beating and the waterways of England and Wales are full of picturesque and accessible walking routes,” says Kev Yarwood, Anglo Welsh base manager at Great Haywood“Whether it’s a gentle morning stroll or an energetic all-day hike, walking along a towpath is the perfect way to escape the hustle and bustle of everyday life.”

Where else can you experience such a timeless medley of pastoral views, indigenous wildlife and architectural heritage? Not to mention your vessel of choice, a handsome Anglo Welsh narrowboat. “As for people whose more energetic days are behind them,” notes Kev, “canal paths have the added bonus of being flat!”

A canal boat holiday certainly gives you the freedom to roam. Anglo Welsh narrowboats can be hired from eleven different bases in England and Wales, and every single circuit is blessed with walks galore.

From Wootton Wawenyou can moor on the River Avon beside the Royal Shakespeare Theatre and take a relaxing stroll around Stratford-upon-Avon. And for those who do enjoy steep walks, crossing the spectacular Pontcysyllte Aqueduct from Trevor to the pretty mountainside town of Llangollen is a memorable experience.

From Anglo Welsh’s base at Sydney Wharf in historic Bath there’s a lovely circular route along the Kennet and Avon Canal that takes walkers past the elaborately decorated pump house chimney on the towpath at Abbey View lock and across the world-famous Pulteney Bridge. Elsewhere on the Kennet and Avon, the flight of 16 locks at Devizes is the perfect starting point to discover the 87-mile canal’s industrial heritage.

On the Grand Union Canal near Stockton, the historic Hatton Lock Flight is known as the ‘Stairway to Heaven’ because of the stunning views across to Warwick Cathedral. Nearby, the Staffordshire & Worcester Canal around Great Haywood is a haven for wildlife where you can spot herons and kingfishers on your walk. There’s every chance you will also witness the hullabaloo of a mass flight of geese flapping and honking through the sky.

Anglo Welsh’s knowledgeable staff at our well-located eleven bases will be delighted to point you towards the best canal-hugging walks on their local patch. Watch this space in the coming months for some of their favourite itineraries!

To make a booking please call our friendly Booking Office on 0117 304 1122. They will be delighted to recommend some great canal walks.


Enjoy the Olympics on board a stylish canal boat

Balmy summer nights. Drama, passion, joy, tears. Sir Ben Ainslie, Hannah Mills & Saskia Clark, Sir Chris Hoy, Mo Farah, Victoria Pendleton. Is it really four years since Great Britain ruled the waves (or so it seemed) at the 2012 London Olympics?

Navigating through canal locks may not be an Olympic event (yet) but that won’t stop the Anglo Welsh team getting behind our sporting heroes at this summer’s games in Rio. “We all remember special moments from London 2102, like when Ben Ainslie took his fifth consecutive sailing medal, and his fourth consecutive gold. However there was a heavy battle with Jonas Høgh Christensen of Denmark that was only decided at the last mark of the medal race, nail biting times!” says Steve Harrison, who has worked for Anglo Welsh since early 2016.

“Whether it was cruising along the Llangollen canal watching the spectacular opening ceremony on TV or moored alongside a canal side pub to cheer Mo Farah across the finishing line on what has come to be know as ‘Super Saturday’, described by Sebastian Coe as sport’s greatest ever day.”

“We’ve all got high hopes for Team GB in Brazil,” continues Steve, “let’s just hope they do better than England’s footballers at the 2014 World Cup in the same country!

At the London Olympics, Great Britain won 65 medals, our biggest haul since 1908.

In 1976, the year Anglo Welsh was founded, Britain managed just 13 medals at the Olympics in Canada. Then again, we started with approximately 90 boats and now we’ve got 160. Everybody’s moved onwards and upwards in 40 years.”


Forty years ago, sports fans who took to the waterways during the Olympics had to make do with dodgy transistor radios to follow the action from their canal boats. Luckily, that’s another thing that has changed for the better. These days all Anglo Welsh narrowboats have an LCD television aboard, not to mention wi-fi connections*.

Some canal boaters will relax below deck and watch the Games on TV; others will follow the action on their laptops while lounging on deck. Those who enjoy a more boisterous atmosphere will join the crowds in the traditional pubs that line the waterways. Fresh air, beautiful canals, sporting heroics, a celebratory drink or two: unless you’ve bagged a ticket to Rio de Janeiro, a stylish narrowboat seems like the perfect Olympic venue.

Even better, Anglo Welsh’s exclusive summer 2016 promotion offers 20% off all Constellation and Bond class bookings for holidays taken before September 4th. The only thing you need to do to secure this Olympian class offer is to book your narrowboat hire before the end of July**. On your marks, get set, go!

To get your 20% discount, call the Booking Office now on 0117 304 1122 and quote ‘reach for the stars’.

*TV and wi-fi connections are subject to signal

**For new bookings only, subject to availability. This offer cannot be used in conjunction with any other offers. Only available on Anglo Welsh Boats until September 3rd.
Offer expires 31st July. Terms and conditions apply.


High-end boats at low-end prices: save 20% on Constellation & Bond Class holidays this summer

British summertime is often a rollercoaster of highs and lows and this year is proving no different. School holidays (hooray!), seaside showers (boo!), Andy Murray (hooray!), England’s football team (boo!), family picnics (hooray!), motorway traffic jams (boo!).

But one traffic-free tradition you can always rely on is the chance to cruise in style for less on Britain’s waterways courtesy of Anglo Welsh, Britain’s most trusted canal and narrowboat experts for 40 years. We pride ourselves on always offering our customers the summer’s most attractive narrowboat offers, and this year is no exception.

Our exclusive summer 2016 promotion offers 20% off all Constellation and Bond class bookings for holidays and cruises taken before September 4th. The only thing you need to do to secure this incredible offer is to book your narrowboat hire before the end of July**.

The prices are modest, but you will be travelling in handsome style. The customised Bond Class has been an incredibly popular Anglo Welsh hire over the years, while the brand-new Constellation Class combines the proven layout of the Bond with upgraded facilities and attractive new livery. Both classes are available for hire from our 11 bases in prime locations across the inland waterways of England and Welsh, so there’s an Anglo Welsh experience for everyone, whether a 4-berth, 6-berth or 12-berth suits your requirements.

A perfect summer’s day is when the sun is shining, the breeze is blowing and the birds are singing; and naturally, it all feels even more idyllic when you are cruising along a canal with your family or friends. Throw in Anglo Welsh’s fabulous 20% discount on its premium class Constellations and Bond narrowboats, and we’re sure you’ll agree this could be the summer holiday of a lifetime. Hip hip hooray!

To get your 20% discount, call the Booking Office now on 0117 304 1122 and quote ‘reach for the stars’.

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Read all about it. Novels, narrowboats, canals and curries!

For book-loving narrowboat enthusiasts there is only one thing more enjoyable than a good book about canals, and that’s stretching out on deck while reading. So for those of you whose idea of heaven is a leisurely read on the waterways, here are a few canal-themed recommendations from Anglo Welsh’s own bookworms.

Canals hold a unique place in British hearts, with associations of languid summer days and stately journeys on charming narrowboats. But as Liz McIvor explains in Canals: The Making of a Nation, the story of our canals is also the story of how modern Britain was born. Canals drove trade expansion during the Industrial Revolution, furthered the science of geology, and ushered in new forms of architecture. As McIvor’s fascinating book and the accompanying BBC series demonstrate, the legacy of our canals is all around us.

In Barging Round Britain, the ebullient John Sergeant delivers potted histories of Britain’s eight major canal systems. We discover, for example, that the Caledonian Canal was a Keynesian project for employing men displaced by the Highland Clearances. Taking us back to an era when Britain still made things, Sergeant weaves tales around poignant relics on the Kennet and Avon Canal (Huntley & Palmers biscuits), Birmingham Canal (Borax soap) and Grand Union Canal (Ovaltine), all conveniently located along Anglo Welsh circuits.

Narrowboat Nomads is the latest in Steve Haywood’s series of light-hearted travelogues around English waterways. Haywood’s ability to capture an idyllic way of life practised by ardent disciples is reminiscent of Bill Bryson’s popular explorations of our national psyche. Also fresh of the press, Jim Batty’s Narrowboat Life is full of gorgeous photos of canals and every nook and cranny of some amazing narrowboats. In more comical vein, Michael I Rolfe’s Canals, Canines and Curry poses the question: “Two humans, a dog the size of a small horse, petrol, gas, and curry, all in a confined space on a floating vessel. What could possibly go wrong?”

Turning to fiction, Maureen Carter’s Grave Affairs is the latest in a gripping crime series that regularly uses urban canals as a dramatic backdrop. Tracking down the villains is feisty Detective Sergeant Bev Morris, a proud Brummie who used to fish with her dad on the Worcester and Birmingham canal. “Birmingham has more acres of parkland than any European city,” says Carter, whose gritty style has been compared to Ian Rankin, “and believe it or not, more miles of canals than Venice!”

Lee Rourke’s compelling debut novel The Canal boasts a host of brooding characters but at the same time depicts the UK’s waterways as a place of gentle wonder. His canal is a place where ducks and geese preen and clean each other and joyfully show their “arses to the world” when foraging for food; a place where time moves as slowly as the silty water.

Finally, younger bookworms can dive into the wonderful world of canals as lovingly portrayed in Cressida McLaughlin’s best-selling Canal Boat Café quartet: All Abroad, Casting Off, Cabin Fever, and Land Ahoy! Boats, canals, selfies, romance … teenage boys might turn up their noses, but their sisters will be hooked from the moment 18 year-old Summer Freeman returns home to rescue The Canal Boat Café, her late mother’s picturesque narrowboat.

What will you be reading on your Anglo Welsh narrowboat this summer?

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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Schools Out for Summer! Save 20% on Canal Boat Holidays

Question. What do most kids want from their summer holidays? Answer. Fun and games, fresh air and adventure, ice cream and “lashings of ginger beer”. As for mum and dad, how about all of the above plus tremendous value for money? Agreed? Then happily Anglo Welsh has the perfect solution for the 2016 school holidays.

This summer we are offering canal getaways for all the family at 20% less than the brochure price*. That means savings of up to £435 for this year’s school holidays. And with 160 modern narrowboats (2-4 Berth5-8 Berth and 9-12 Berth) at 11 prime locations across the inland waterways of England and Wales, Anglo Welsh has a convenient starting point for families large and small, wherever they are.

Ever since British Waterways became the Canal & River Trust in 2012, they’ve multiplied their efforts to improve public access to the UK’s canal system and get families interested in exploring the waterways, either by boat or by simply visiting for a day.

For younger kids, cruising on board a 57-foot narrowboat along winding canals surrounded by nature is a real thrill. Think about how excited they get riding a double-decker bus and multiply by ten! Your wide-eyed adventurers will love navigating on the water, devouring picnics on deck, feeding the ducks, and giving dad steering instructions. And when the kids (or the dog) need a walk, the pit stops aren’t half bad either! Forests, parks, gardens, historic towns, stately homes, children’s activity trails: the entertainment takes care of itself, much of it at no extra cost.

As for older children with enquiring minds, what better way to explore the world of water than on a canal boat passing through ingenious locks and across soaring aqueducts? To see a Victorian lock raising and lowering troughs of water big enough to hold two narrowboats is to get a practical lesson in science, history and engineering direct from the industrial age. And given that every Anglo Welsh boat has a wi-fi connection**, your teenage professors can even do their follow-up research in the evening (in between staying in touch with their friends on Snapchat, Instagram and WhatsApp).

But be warned, your kids might get hooked on narrowboats for life. “Anglo Welsh has offered family holidays for over 40 years,” says Sandra Bonomini, herself part of Anglo Welsh’s booking team for more than 25 years, “and many of the children who first came here with their parents now come back every summer with their own offspring. Holiday memories really bind families together, and the magic of canal boat holidays seems to cast an everlasting spell.”

To save 20% on your School Holiday booking, please call our friendly Booking Team on 0117 304 1122.


*At least one person under the age of 16 must be on board. Terms and conditions apply. **All Anglo Welsh boats have WIFI except boats cruising from Silsden and Sally Narrowboats. 1GB of data per week break, subject to connection and signal.

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Put a smile on your dad’s face with a canal boat surprise for Father’s Day

Let’s be honest: it’s really hard shopping for Father’s Day. Especially if your dad is a ‘Been there, done that, got the t-shirt’ kind of guy and your budget doesn’t quite stretch to a week in Las Vegas. Luckily, Anglo Welsh has the perfect solution to those annual gift dilemmas for Father’s Day, celebrated this year on Sunday June 19th

Anglo Welsh has been doing narrowboat holidays for 40 years now, so as you can imagine, we’ve handled all kinds of Father’s Day bookings in our time. Some were memorable one-offs; others have gone on to become annual rituals. We take bookings for high-spirited cruises involving all the family across the Father’s Day weekend, but we also offer week-long holidays or peaceful midweek breaks for dad (and his better half!) to be taken later in the season.

One thing’s guaranteed, wherever your father lives and whatever his tastes in holidays and leisure, Anglo Welsh has got a trip right up his street (or canal). Our 11 starting bases stretch from Silsden on the Pennine Route all the way down to Bradford on Avon in the picturesque Cotswolds. We offer routes for experienced cruisers and circuits for complete beginners, and with a fleet of 160 narrowboats there’s something for large families (9-12 berth) and small families or couples (2-4 berth) alike.

If your dad is a nature lover our routes take in stunning countryside, sinuous waterways and abundant wildlife. If he’s more of a culture vulture, Anglo Welsh has got moorings in Bath, Oxford and Stratford upon Avon. And if a slap-up meal in a quaint canal-side pub is your family’s idea of heaven, you will really be spoilt for choice. We’ve even got discounts on flotilla bookings if your dad’s role model is Steve Martin, the father of 12 children in ‘Cheaper by the Dozen’!

So to end where we started, we’re pretty sure your dad doesn’t really need more socks, tool kits or BBQ-scented cologne. By contrast, a narrowboat trip is the perfect Father’s Day gift because it gets him out of the shed, on to glorious waterways, and last but not least, mum has a fabulous time too.

To make a booking or to talk about what kind of canal holiday is your perfect Father’s Day gift, please call our friendly 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?

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.

Anglo Welsh. So much more than narrowboats

...but don't just take our word for it





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