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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.

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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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‘Messing about in boats’ – there’s really nothing better!

“Believe me my young friend, there is nothing – absolutely nothing – half so much worth doing as simply messing about in boats.” So says Ratty to Mole in Kenneth Grahame’s classic novel ‘The Wind in the Willows’. To which the 150,000 people who take a canal holiday in the UK every year can only respond: “And so say all of us!”

Everyone who hires a narrowboat will have their own passions when it comes to messing about on the water, but with Ratty otherwise engaged, here are a few reasons why the Anglo Welsh team believe waterway holidays are an incomparable experience.

Relaxation. No traffic jams, no customs, no connecting flights, no noisy neighbours. Above all, no stress. Is there any better way to unwind on holiday than to meander along a canal surrounded by England’s green and pleasant land (not forgetting some wonderful Welsh landscapes)?

All the mod cons. The days when canal jaunts meant sleepless nights in uncomfortable cabins are long gone. Anglo Welsh’s fleet of 160 modern narrowboats offer all the creature comforts: fully-equipped kitchens, gas central heating, high spec showers, TVs, bedding, towels, even free wi-fi*.

Kids love canals. A family adventure on a narrowboat is an experience your children, or grandchildren, will cherish for the rest of their lives. Younger kids love pottering about on boats; even teenagers have been known to surrender their mobiles and muck in at the locks. And eating together as a family means leisurely meals on board, not fast food at McDonald’s (though ‘big kids’ often prefer traditional pub lunches in canal-side pubs!).

Doggy heaven. Dogs like canal holidays even more than us humans. Fresh air, new smells, plenty of countryside stops for bracing walks, maybe even the odd swim. Up to two well-behaved dogs are welcome on all of Anglo Welsh boats. Just keep Fido away from the swans!

It’s better than the zoo. Britain’s canals boast a staggering range of habitats and wildlife. Swans, mallard ducks, moorhens, coots, herons, kingfishers; water voles (like the slightly confused ‘Ratty’), otters, frogs; dragonflies, butterflies. No tigers, but no cages either.

No experience, no problem. One of Anglo Welsh’s experienced instructors will show you how to start the engine, fill up with water, steer, slow down, moor up and navigate locks. You’ll be amazed how straightforward it all is.

Location, Location, Location. Anglo Welsh has 11 bases in prime locations across the inland waterways of England and Wales. Our routes pass through rural idylls galore and historical towns and cities like Bath, Oxford, Birmingham and Stratford-upon-Avon.

Something for every budget. Long holidays, 3-day weekends, midweek getaways; 2-4-berths, 5-8 berths, 9-12 berths; there is a narrowboat experience for every type of holidaymaker and for every budget, including money-saving offers for under 12s and over 60s bookings for next season (until the end of Jan 2017), and flotilla discounts, loyalty discounts and armed forces discounts all year round.

And finally, to pinch another quote from ‘The Wind in the Willows’: “Here today, up and off to somewhere else tomorrow! Travel, interest, excitement! The whole world before you, and a horizon that’s always changing!”

*Wi-fi is free up to 1GB per week and subject to the signal.

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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Anglo Welsh’s Class of 2016 oozes ‘Star’ Quality

Many canal devotees love to enthuse about vintage narrowboats, and understandably so, but here at Anglo Welsh few things get our pulses racing more than a spanking new hire boat, especially when it’s suited and booted to our very own specifications.

In recent years, we’ve grown accustomed to narrowboat connoisseurs waxing lyrical about our Bond Class boats. But to paraphrase a 007 movie trailer, ‘Bond is back, and it’s better than ever’. In fact, it even has a new name! Ladies and gentleman, we proudly present the Anglo Welsh Constellation Class – six brand-new narrowboats that are all set to make a big splash in 2016 and beyond.

As the latest evolution of our customised fleet, the Constellation Class combines the proven layout of the Bond Class with upgraded facilities and striking new livery. And we’ve tried to spread the joy around! The 12-berth ‘Andromeda’ is based at our Bradford on Avon base, the 12-berth ‘Delphinus’ at Oxford, the 6-berth ‘Cassiopeia’ at Bunbury, and the 4-berth trio ‘Aquarius’, ‘Aquila’ and ‘Carina’ at Trevor, Wootton Wawen and Bunbury respectively.

“The Bond Class has been an incredibly popular hire over the years,” says Wootton Wawen base manager Alistair King, but we’ve really pushed the boat out … excuse the pun … with the Constellation. Built by one of Britain’s oldest established boat builders using Anglo Welsh’s own bespoke specs, they’re among the finest narrowboats you’ll see anywhere on the UK’s waterways.”

 

“Below deck, light ash interiors and reflective white ceilings create a really spacious feel, and as an added bonus, the Constellation Class is highly adaptable, with double beds easily converting into singles and vice-versa. ‘Aquila’ enjoyed its maiden voyage in March and we’ve already received great feedback. The only thing we can’t agree on is the pronunciation, though for now we’re going for ‘Aquila’ rhyming with ‘Tequila’!”

As well as being built to order, the Constellation Class was also ‘christened’ by the Anglo Welsh team. So why Constellation? “Despite the fact our narrowboat fleet already includes a boat called ‘Enterprise’ the name has nothing to do with ‘Star Trek,” confesses Alistair with a smile. In fact, stargazers will have already spotted that Aquarius, Aquila, Carina, Cassiopeia, Andromeda and Delphinus are all named after constellations. “Apparently Aquarius even means water-carrier in Latin,” adds Alistair, “though I prefer to think of it as an amphibious people carrier!”

To which we can only add, the Constellation Class is undoubtedly the new ‘star turn’ on the UK’s waterways and we’re confident that these magnificent boats will carry people on some memorable canal journeys!

To book one of the new Constellation Class narrowboats, please contact our dedicated Booking Team on 0117 304 1122.

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Army & You Review: Beautiful Boating Break

Andrew and Kirsten King reviewed their recent holiday from our Wootton Wawen base for www.armyandyou.co.uk

It was quite a test to get the hang of manoeuvring our 62ft-long boat, called Marlow, but by the second day we had it down. You get a run through at the beginning and an instructional DVD, which helped clear up a few things that we were a little unsure about.  

We started in Wotton Wawen and made our way to Stratford upon Avon, spending the night in the Stratford Basin which was a great spot to tour the heart of “Shakespeare Country”.

The boat is fairly modern compared to what we expected for this “old timey” experience. There are good heaters throughout and on a four-berth boat you can request two double beds or a double and two singles. Having two toilets was handy and in the kitchen we had all the utensils you need, a foldable table and chairs, some loungers and a TV – liveable and comfortable for a week’s stay.

Finley and Addison really enjoyed the whole experience. Locks can be a lot of work, especially when there are several in a row, but everyone was put to work when it came to operating them. The kids helped look out for particular lock or bridge numbers, pushed the lock gates open and shut and helped tie up the boat for the night.

They loved feeding the ducks along the canal at many points. Finley even had a go at steering. It’s worth considering bringing an extra pair of adult hands to share the workload if you have young children that need attention.

Part of the attraction is spending a bit of time off the boat. The highlights were tackling new challenges together and meeting new people, like the volunteers who help you through the locks and other friendly boat owners. One of the stops we made was to Mary Arden’s farm house (Shakespeare’s mother) where we learnt about what life was like when Shakespeare was alive.

We would definitely recommend this sort of holiday to Army families. It’s a history-rich and cultural experience that gets you up and about seeing some picturesque parts of the countryside.

Anglo Welsh offers all British Service personnel up to 15 per cent off. Our team of helpful canal holiday experts are available to take your booking! Please call us 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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