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Top 6 summer canal boat holiday circuits

Best canal boat holiday circuits and rings

Canal circuits and rings take in a wide variety of landscapes and are popular routes for narrowboat holidays

Canal boat holiday circuits and cruising rings bring you back to your narrowboat hire base without having to travel the same way twice.

Some are seriously challenging, with steep flights of locks and long dark tunnels to negotiate.  Others are easier and more suitable for boating beginners.

All offer a wonderful summer holiday adventure and the chance to explore some of Britain’s best loved countryside, as well as vibrant city centres.  All from your very own floating holiday home.

Here’s a guide to our top six narrowboat holiday summer circuits to explore:

1. The Black Country Ring

Setting off from our canal boat rental base at Great Haywood, the Black Country Ring can be done in a week.  You’ll cruise sections of the Birmingham & Fazeley, Birmingham Main Line, Coventry, Staffordshire & Worcestershire and Trent & Mersey canals.  Highlights include: Birmingham’s Gas Street Basin; the 21 locks at Wolverhampton; and the peaceful waters at Tixall Wide.  To complete the Black Country Ring from Great Haywood you’ll travel 75 miles, through 79 locks in around 43 hours.

2. The Four Counties Ring

Departing from our bases at Great Haywood, Bunbury or Whixall, this popular circuit can be completed on a 10-day or two-week break.  It takes you through the counties of Staffordshire, the West Midlands, Cheshire and Shropshire. Highlights include: the 2670-metre long Harecastle Tunnel; the flight of 15 locks at Audlem; views of the rolling Cheshire Plains; and the Roman town of Middlewich.  To complete the Four Counties Ring from Great Haywood, you will travel 110 miles, pass through 94 locks, which will take around 55 hours.  From Bunbury, it will be 115 miles, 96 locks and 58 hours.  From Whixall, it’s 137 miles, 132 locks and 86 hours.

3. The Cheshire Ring

From our Bunbury base, you can complete the Cheshire Ring on a 10-day or two-week break.  The journey will take you right through the heart of Manchester and into the Peak District via the Ashton, Macclesfield, Peak Forest, Rochdale, Trent & Mersey and Bridgewater canals.  Highlights along the way include: the incredible Anderton Boat Lift; stunning views of the Peak District; and Manchester’s China Town.  To complete the Cheshire Ring from Bunbury, you will travel 122 miles and pass through 102 locks, which takes around 86 hours.

4. The Warwickshire Ring

Setting off from Wootton Wawen on the Stratford Canal, you can complete the Warwickshire Ring on a 10-day or two-week break. You’ll travel along sections of the Grand Union, Oxford, Coventry and Birmingham & Fazeley canals.  Highlights include: the flight of 11 locks into Atherstone; the pretty canal village of Braunston; the awesome flight of 21 locks at Hatton; and Warwick Castle.  To complete the Warwickshire Ring from Wootton Wawen, you’ll pass through 128 locks in around 59 hours.

5. The Birmingham Mini-Ring

With more canals than Venice, exploring the Birmingham area by boat is one of the best ways to experience Britain’s vibrant second city. You can complete the Birmingham Mini-Ring on a week’s break from Wootton Wawen.  The route takes in sections of the Worcester & Birmingham, Birmingham Main Line and Grand Union canals. Highlights include: the historic village of Bournville, home of Cadbury’s chocolate; Gas Street Basin in central Birmingham; and the flight of 13 locks at Farmers Bridge.  To complete the Birmingham Mini-Ring from Wootton Wawen it takes around 35 hours and you’ll pass through 83 locks.

6. The Avon Ring

You can complete this epic circuit on a two week break Wootton Wawen.  The journey navigates sections of the Stratford Canal, River Avon, River Severn and Worcester & Birmingham Canal. Highlights include: Shakespeare’s Stratford; the River Avon with its panoramic views; the charming historic town of Evesham; the Cotswold medieval town of Tewskesbury; the City of Worcester with its magnificent cathedral; and the flight of 30 locks at Tardebigge.  To complete the Avon Ring from Wootton Wawen, you’ll travel 109 miles and pass through 131 locks, which will take around 58 hours.

To check availability and book click here or call us on 0117 463 3419.

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Take to the water this Easter for a family adventure afloat

Best Easter canal boat holidays in England and Wales

Britain’s beautiful 3,000-mile network of inland waterways offer the chance to take to the water this Easter, and cruise through the beautiful Spring countryside, adorned with new leaves, fragrant blossom, delightful daffodils, playful spring lambs and chirping birds.

Our self-drive narrowboat holidays provide a floating holiday home to enjoy an outdoor family adventure, exploring the countryside and stopping-off at waterside destinations along the way.

From medieval fortresses and battlefield skirmishes, to chocolate making and quizzes, we’ve put together our Top 6 Easter canal boat holiday family destinations:

  1. Explore the World’s biggest Cadbury shop at Cadbury World – From our canal boat hire base on the Worcester & Birmingham Canal at Tardebigge, near Bromsgrove in Worcestershire, you can reach the home of the World’s biggest Cadbury shop. This Easter, canal boat holiday-makers can explore Cadbury World and the historic village of Bournville, enjoy chocolate making, as well as visit the Cadbury Café and the World’s biggest Cadbury shop.  Cadbury World’s Easter Stage Show runs from 1st-16th April, where visitors can enjoy a brand-new pirate-themed adventure alongside Mr Cadbury’s Parrot.
  2. Explore 480 acres of parkland at Chirk Castle – from our narrowboat hire base at Trevor on the Llangollen Canal in North Wales, it takes just over an hour to reach Chirk, passing over the incredible UNESCO World Heritage Status Pontcysyllte Aqueduct along the way. Once moored-up at Chirk, it’s a half-hour walk up to the National Trust’s Chirk Castle, one of several medieval marcher fortresses built on the Welsh-English border.  Today it’s the only one of Edward I’s marcher fortresses still inhabited, with lavishly furnished rooms to explore, as well as the Adam Tower, complete with its two-level dungeons, medieval toilets and murder holes.  The Castle has over 480 acres of parkland to explore, with trails, ancient trees, wildflowers, birds and bugs.
  3. Enjoy thrilling rides at Drayton Manor Theme Park – from our canal boat hire base on the Trent & Mersey Canal at Great Haywood in Staffordshire, it’s a relaxing 11-hour cruise to Turret Bridge on the Birmingham & Fazeley Canal, which leads to the front door of Drayton Manor Theme Park & Zoo. Once there, boaters can moor up to enjoy a thrilling day with family favourites like The Carousel and Bounty Pirate Ship, to the adrenaline pumping Shockwave stand up roller coaster or the heart stopping 54m drop tower Apocalypse.  There’s also a 15-acre Zoo to explore, home to dozens of animals from across the world and Thomas World with over 25 rides and attractions.
  4. Visit the Tudor Power & Glory exhibition at the Royal Armouries Museum in Leeds – from our narrowboat rental base at Silsden on the Leeds & Liverpool Canal, on a week’s holiday, canal boat holiday-makers can travel to Leeds and back, cruising for a total of 34 hours and passing through 56 locks. Once there, boaters can moor up to visit the waterside Royal Armouries Museum and from 7th-10th April, enjoy its action-packed Medieval Easter. Three teams will bring history to life with a spectacular jousting competition in a battle for honour and trophies.
  5. Cruise to the Welsh Mountains along the Llangollen Canal – on a week’s break from our narrowboat rental base at Whixall on the Prees Branch of the Llangollen Canal, canal boat holiday-makers can cruise the Llangollen Canal to the pretty town of Llangollen and back, travelling a total of 50 miles in around 24 hours and passing through just four locks (two each way). Along the way, the canal takes boaters over two dramatic aqueducts, including the UNESCO World Heritage Status Pontcysyllte Aqueduct, with spectacular views across the Dee Valley.  Once in Llangollen, boaters can moor up and enjoy exploring Llangollen, nestled on the edge of the Berwyn Mountains, including its regular markets, choice of independent shops and restaurants, steam railway and famous Horseshoe Falls
  6. Join the annual Easter Boat Gathering at Ellesmere Port – over the Easter Weekend (7th -10th April), the National Waterways Museum at Ellesmere Port in Cheshire celebrates the official start of the summer boating season with a large boat gathering, live music, workshop tours, historic boats and museum activities. From our canal boat hire base at Bunbury on the Shropshire Union Canal in Cheshire, it takes 10 hours to reach Ellesmere Port, travelling 21 miles through 12 locks, and passing through the ancient City of Chester along the way.
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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

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