The city of Birmingham has more canals than Venice, so it’s not surprising that eight of the 13 venues for the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games are on or very close to a canal.
Taking place from 28 July to 8 August, the Games will see around 4,500 athletes from 72 nations and territories compete in 19 different sports and eight Parasports. To celebrate the opportunity to visit the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games and their venues on a narrowboat holiday, we’ve published our Top 8 Games destinations afloat:
1. Travel the Birmingham Mini Ring from Tardebigge
From our Tardebigge base on the Worcestershire & Birmingham Canal near Bromsgrove, you can navigate the Birmingham Mini Ring. This circuit takes you into the heart of Birmingham, travelling sections of the Birmingham & Fazeley Canal, Birmingham Canal Old Main Line, Tame Valley Canal and Wyrley & Essington Canal. The route travels 45 miles, passes through 49 locks and takes around 27 cruising hours. Games venues on or close by the route include: Birmingham Arena next to the Birmingham Canal Old Line (Gymnastics); Alexander Stadium next to the Tame Valley Canal at Perry Barr (Athletics); and Sandwell Aquatics Centre close to the Tame Valley Canal (Diving and Swimming).
From our canal boat hire base at Great Haywood on the Trent & Mersey Canal near Stafford, Cannock Chase Forest is less than two hours away. The journey to over-moorings at Rugeley navigates five miles of the Trent & Mersey Canal and passes through two locks. Cannock Chase Forest will be used for the Mountain Biking event.
From our narrow boat hire base on the Grand Union Canal at Stockton, it takes 15 hours to reach Coventry Basin, travelling 36 miles and passing through seven locks. The route navigates up the North Oxford Canal and joins the Coventry Canal at Hawkesbury Junction. Coventry Stadium will be hosting the Judo, Rugby Sevens and Wrestling events.
4. Navigate to the Alexander Stadium from Tardebigge
It takes around 13 hours, travelling 28 miles and passing through eight locks to reach Perry Barr Top Lock from our Tardebigge base. The journey begins on the Worcester & Birmingham Canal, and transfers onto the Birmingham Canal Navigations at Worcester Bar. Alexander Stadium will host the Athletics events.
From our base at Wootton Wawen on the Stratford Canal, it takes around 12 hours, cruising 14 miles and passing through 38 locks to reach moorings at Saltisford in Warwick. Myton Fields, the other side of the river to St. Nicholas Park will be used for the Birmingham 2022 Cycling Road Race.
6. Travel round the Stourport Ring from Tardebigge
From our Tardebigge base, on a week’s break you can navigate the Stourport Ring. The journey passes through 118 locks and takes around 44 hours. It takes in sections of: the Staffordshire & Worcestershire Canal; Worcester & Birmingham Canal Navigation; the River Severn; Birmingham Canal Main Line; and Stourbridge canals. It takes boaters close to Egbaston Stadium, where the Cricket T20 will take place, and the Birmingham Arena where the Gymnastics will take place.
7. Cruise to Victoria Park in Leamington Spa from Stockton
From our Stockton base on the Grand Union Canal it takes around seven hours, travelling seven miles and passing through 20 locks to reach Frost’s Wharf in Leamington. Victoria Park in Leamington Spa will host the Lawn Bowls and Para Lawn Bowls events.
From our Stockton base you can navigate the Warwickshire Ring. This popular circuit travels 104 miles, passes through 94 locks and takes around 53 hours. It can be done in a week, but it’s best to allow 10 days or two weeks so that you’ll have time to visit places along the way. The Warwickshire Ring travels sections of the Grand Union Canal (passing through Leamington Spa and Warwick), the Coventry Canal and Birmingham & Fazeley Canal. Games venues on or close by the route include: Birmingham Arena (Gymnastics); Edgbaston Stadium (Cricket); Coventry Stadium and Arena (Judo, Rugby Sevens, Wrestling); St Nicholas Park in Warwick (Cycling Road Race); and Victoria Park in Leamington Spa (Lawn Bowls).
Anglo Welsh’s reservations manager Emma Lovell offers a guide to the best winter cruising destinations this Christmas.
This winter, we are offering winter cruising* from eight of our narrowboat hire bases, giving you the chance to spend Christmas or New Year on the canals.
The canals are quieter during the winter months and people tend to make shorter journeys. Winter canal boat hire is about enjoying being close to the water and visiting canalside pubs and 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 routes will be affected at times by the Canal & River Trust’s annual winter maintenance work, but we can provide information on any planned route closures at the time of booking.
Here’s our guide to our Top 8 narrowboat holidays for Christmas 2021:
1. Float to through the Warwickshire countryside to Stratford upon Avon – from our narrowboat rental base on the Stratford Canal at Wootton Wawen in Warwickshire, it’s a six-hour cruise to Stratford upon Avon. The journey takes you through the Warwickshire countryside, passing through 17 locks along the way. Once in Stratford, you can moor up in Bancroft Basin, just a short walk from this popular tourist town’s excellent choice of theatres, restaurants, markets and museums.
2. Experience Christmas in the World Heritage City of Bath – on a short break from our canal boat hire base on the Kennet & Avon Canal at Monkton Combe, you can reach moorings in Bath City Centre in around four cruising hours. The route takes you along a section of the Avon Valley and up the Bath flight of six locks. From moorings close to Pulteney Bridge, you can enjoy exploring this beautiful City, including the Roman Baths and medieval Bath Abbey.
3. Cruise through the Staffordshire countryside to Fradley – heading south from our base at Great Haywood on the Trent & Mersey Canal, you can 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 ‘The Old Peculiar’ pub. Once at Fradley, refreshments are available at the Canalside Café or The Swan Inn, and there are walking trails at the Fradley Pool Nature Reserve.
4. Travel through the Shropshire Lake District to Ellesmere – from our base at Whixall on the Prees Branch of the Llangollen Canal in Shropshire, it takes around four hours to reach the historic town of Ellesmere. Along the way, the route passes Lyneal Moss and Colemere Country Park. Once at Ellesmere, there’s a choice of independent shops and restaurants, as well as formal gardens, woods and castle grounds to explore.
5. Navigate into the centre of Birmingham – from our base at Tardebigge on the Worcester & Birmingham Canal near Bromsgrove, it takes around five hours to boat into the heart of Birmingham. Boasting more canals than Venice and with preparations underway to host the 2022 Commonwealth Games, it’s a great time to visit Britain’s vibrant second city. And there are no locks to pass through along the way, so this is also a good route for canal boat holiday beginners.
6. Visit the ancient city of Chester afloat – from our base at Bunbury on the Shropshire Union Canal near Tarporley, it’s a seven-hour cruise through the Cheshire countryside to Chester. Once there, you can visit the City’s famous 700-year old two-tired shopping galleries – the Rows. And you can also take time to explore Chester’s Roman City Walls, Amphitheatre, riverside gardens and sparkling city centre Christmas lights.
7. Cruise to the Eisteddfod town of Llangollen – from our base at Trevor on the Llangollen Canal in North Wales, it takes around two hours to cruise to Llangollen. There you can moor up in Llangollen Basin and enjoy visiting this beautiful town nestled in the Berwyn Mountains. Things to visit include the Llangollen Steam Railway, Plas Newydd house and gardens and the Horseshoe Falls. There’s a great choice of independent shops and places to eat, including the popular Corn Mill with stunning river and mountain views.
8. Enjoy Christmas in historic Bradford on Avon – on a short break from our narrow boat hire base on the Kennet & Avon Canal at Sydney Wharf, you can cruise to the historic market town of Bradford on Avon. The journey takes around four hours and passes through just one lock. Bradford on Avon, situated on the southern edge of the Cotswolds, has beautiful limestone buildings echoing those of nearby Bath. It is packed with historic buildings, including the 14th century Tithe Barn and 15th century chapel of St Mary Tory, with amazing views across the town. There’s a great choice of independent shops and places to eat to choose from.
*NB Winter maintenance work can affect some routes at certain times. Customers are advised to check at the time of booking.
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).
Plan your 2021 canal boat holiday adventure with our bucket list guide
Canal boat holidays are a wonderful way to explore the countryside and some of Britain’s most exciting historic attractions. With the narrowboat as your mobile floating holiday home, you can moor up in a new spot every night, and discover fascinating things to see and do along the way.
To help you plan the perfect narrowboat holiday adventure in 2021, here’s a guide to some of our canal boat holiday musts:
1. Be wowed by the wildlife
Canals and rivers are home to an incredible array of wildlife, from rare mammals, birds and amphibians to many species of plants. Even in cities, canals provide green corridors, enabling animals and plants to flourish. If you are vigilant and have a pair of binoculars at the ready, you may be able to spot some of the rarer and shier waterway inhabitants such as water voles, otters and kingfishers, as well as the more common water birds, like ducks, swans, coots, moorhens and geese. You can also take a look down at the water to spy fish, frogs, toads, newts, or up at the sky to see bats, owls, woodpeckers, hedgerow birds and birds of prey.
2. Visit a historic town or city
The waterways were once the primary means of transport and communication between centres of industry and commerce, so they pass through many exciting historic towns and cities. You can choose a route which takes you to some of Britain’s best preserved ancient cities, including Bath, Oxford and Chester, all with an impressive array of beautiful historic buildings to admire. The canals can also take you into the heart of bustling cities, like Manchester, Leeds and Birmingham and to historic market towns, such as Stratford-upon-Avon, Warwick, Devizes, Llangollen, Whitchurch, Bradford on Avon and Abingdon.
3. Marvel at the historic engineering of the canals
Most of our canals were built over 200 years ago during the Industrial Revolution, starting with the opening of the Bridgewater Canal in 1761. Despite their age, the canals still use, for the most part, the same engineering structures – lock gates, swing bridges, tunnels and aqueducts. There are some particularly impressive feats of historic engineering which are worth trying to incorporate into your canal boat holiday route, such as the incredible lock flights at Tardebigge on the Worcester & Birmingham Canal, the Kennet & Avon Canal at Caen Hill or the Grand Union Canal at Hatton. There are many famous tunnels, such as the Chirk Tunnel on the Llangollen Canal, the Harecastle Tunnel on the Trent & Mersey Canal and the Blisworth Tunnel on the Grand Union Canal. And there are soaring aqueducts to glide across, including the Pontcysyllte Aqueduct on the Llangollen Canal and the Edstone Aqueduct on the Stratford Canal.
4. Enjoy a pint at a canalside pub
From busy city boozers to rustic country inns, the canals are lined with wonderful pubs where you can enjoy a pint, shoot the breeze and watch the world float by. During the years when canals provided key transport thoroughfares, many pubs sprung up along their routes to cater for the canal workers who would travelling up and down the country delivering their cargo. To this day, some of the country’s oldest and most characterful taverns are found along our canals, so enjoy taking some time out from boating to enjoy a warm canalside pub welcome.
5. Explore on foot
Canal towpaths offer thousands of miles of wonderful walking and cycling routes and hundreds of footpaths connect into waterway paths. These include some of Britain’s most famous walking routes, such as the Pennine Way, the Offa’s Dyke Path, the Heart of England Way and the Shropshire Way. Plan some lovely circular walks to explore more of the gorgeous unspoilt countryside through which you are passing, or the historic towns and villages you moor up in.
6. Stop off at a castle or stately home
Britain has a wealth of historic properties to visit, from castle ruins to perfectly preserved stately homes. People travel from all over the world to see these treasures and a canal boat holiday is the perfect way to reach some of our nation’s most amazing sights. Many stately homes house incredible art collections and antique furnishing, as well as landscaped formal gardens and parkland. National Trust properties close to the canals include: Packworth House close to the Stratford Canal at Lapworth in Warwickshire; Shrugborough Hall next to the Trent & Mersey Canal near Great Haywood; and Chirk Castle close to the Llangollen Canal. There are also fascinating castles at Oxford, Skipton and Warwick to explore, as well as historic sites like Avebury close to the Kennet & Avon Canal in Wiltshire and the Battle of Bosworth Field next to the Ashby Canal in Leicestershire.
Take ‘Emma’ into Birmingham to enjoy Christmas shopping afloat
We are offering a special over-night hire package aboard our Tardebigge-based cosy narrowboat for two ‘Emma’ – providing the perfect opportunity to take some of the stress out of the festive season build-up and enjoy Christmas shopping in Birmingham afloat.
Setting off from our canal boat hire base at Tardebigge, on the Worcester & Birmingham Canal just outside Bromsgrove, the lock free journey to Birmingham’s City Centre takes approximately five hours*. Free over-night moorings are available at Gas Street Basin, offering easy access to Brindleyplace, The Mailbox and Bullring shopping centres.
Sarah Yates, our manager at Tardebigge, explains: “As well as world-class shopping centres, Birmingham famously boasts more canals than Venice, so we thought we’d bring the two together to help take some of the stress out of Christmas shopping.
“Couples can enjoy a peaceful lock free cruise along the Worcester & Birmingham Canal, avoiding all the traffic and crowds travelling into Birmingham, and arriving just a short walk away from the City’s top shopping centres and a great choice of waterside eateries at Brindleyplace.
“On their Christmas mini-break, couples could perhaps also take in a show at one of Birmingham’s theatres or visit the City’s famous Frankfurt Christmas Market (7 November to 23 December) to enjoy some gluhwein, live music and romantic Christmas sparkle.”
With no locks, the journey from Tardebigge is perfect for narrowboat holiday beginners and we offer free tuition as part of our hire package.
‘Emma’ is available to hire any day of the week until 22 December (subject to availability). Hirers can pick her up at 9am and return her by 3pm the following day.
Over-night hire packages aboard ‘Emma’ start at £198, including gas and bed linen. Fuel is charged based on use, circa £10-15 per day. A £50 fuel deposit is taken at the time of booking.
Anglo Welsh also offers short breaks (three or four nights) and week-long holidays across the winter from our Tardebigge, Wootton Wawen, Bunbury, Trevor, Great Haywood and Whixall bases. Narrowboats range in size from cosy boats for two, up to boats for 12 people. Prices start at £495 for a short break on a boat for four, and £705 for a week.
*Winter maintenance work along the Worcester & Birmingham Canal may cause short delays between 9 October and 14 November inclusive.
Autumn is a great time to get afloat and enjoy the beautiful colours in the trees and hedgerows along our amazing inland waterways network.
All our boats are equipped with the key comforts of home – central heating, hot water, TV, WiFi, well-stocked kitchens, showers and flushing toilets – and our Bond, Constellation and Heritage Class luxury canal boats all provide extra space and comfort. So whether you are beginner looking for a short break easy route to test the waters, or a seasoned canal boater looking for a longer more challenging route, why not book a narrowboat holiday break this autumn and choose from hundreds of fantastic waterside destinations.
Here are our Top 9 destinations to enjoy this autumn:
Experience the acoustic delights of Birmingham’s Symphony Hall. From our canal boat hire base at Tardebigge on the Worcester & Birmingham Canal near Bromsgrove, it’s a five-hour, lock-free journey to moorings at Gas Street Basin in Birmingham City Centre. From there, it’s a short walk to Birmingham’s Symphony Hall, one of the best concert halls in the world and home of the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra, offering audiences the best in classical music, jazz, world music, folk, rock, pop and stand-up comedy.
Explore arms and armour from across the world at the Royal Armouries Museum. From our canal boat rental base at Silsden on the Leeds & Liverpool Canal, it takes 17 hours, passing through 28 locks to reach the Royal Armouries Museum at Leeds Dock – perfect for a week afloat. Home to the national collection of arms and armour, there are thousands of objects to admire across nine galleries, including the ‘Tula garniture’, an 18th century set of decorated hunting weapons that belonged to Elizabeth Petrovana the Empress of Russia in the Hunting Gallery, and a 15th century Ming dynasty sword from the workshop of the Yongle Ming Emperor in the Oriental Gallery.
Take a floating tour of the West Midlands. On a week’s holiday from our Stockton canal boat rental base on the Grand Union Canal in Warwickshire, narrowboat holiday-makers can tackle the 101-mile, 94-lock Warwickshire Ring, which takes around 53 hours. The route takes boaters along sections of the Coventry, Oxford, Grand Union, Stratford and Birmingham & Fazeley canals. Highlights include historic Warwick with its incredible medieval castle on the banks of the River Avon, the magnificent Hatton Flight of 21 locks, the pretty canal village of Braunston and vibrant Gas Street Basin in the heart of Birmingham.
See the Tolkien exhibition at the Bodleian Library. Take a Thames boating holiday from our Oxford narrowboat hire base, and it takes just three hours to reach City Centre moorings at Hythe Bridge. From there, it’s a short walk to many of Oxford’s most famous attractions, including the magnificent Bodleian Library, one of the oldest libraries in Europe. Accessed through the Old Schools Quadrangle of the Divinity School, a breath taking masterpiece of English Gothic architecture, until 28 October 2018 the Bodleian Library is hosting an exhibition of over 200 items from the Library’s extensive Tolkien Archive.
Enjoy panoramic views from Chester’s Roman walls. From our canal boat hire base on the Shropshire Union Canal at Bunbury, the Roman City of Chester is a delightful seven-hour, nine-lock cruise away, travelling through the rolling Cheshire landscape. Once there, boaters can take time to explore this great heritage city, home to the most complete City Walls in Britain which date back 2,000 years to the Roman occupation. There’s a two-mile wall-walking trail, giving visitors the chance to follow in the footsteps of Roman soldiers and enjoy panoramic views on both sides.
Glide across the Stream in the Sky to Whitchurch. On a week’s holiday from our canal barge holiday hire centre at Trevor on the Llangollen Canal in North Wales, boaters can travel to Whitchurch and back, which takes a total of 44 hours, passing through just four locks (two on the way, two on the way back). Along the way, canal boat holiday-makers encounter the incredible UNESCO World Heritage designated Pontcysyllte Aqueduct, which carries the canal in a cast iron trough 38 metres high above the Dee Valley. Once at Whitchurch, boaters can moor up to explore this pretty historic town with half-timbered buildings, independent shops and restaurants, way-marked circular walks, water voles at Staggs Brook, woodpeckers at Brown Moss nature reserve and the award-winning Black Bear pub.
Travel the Birmingham Mini-Ring. On a week’s holiday from our narrowboat hire base at Wootton Wawen on the Stratford Canal, canal boat holiday-makers can travel the Birmingham Mini-Ring, cruising for 35 hours and passing through 83 locks. The route takes boaters through peaceful stretches of the Warwickshire countryside, with quiet villages and historic waterside pubs to enjoy, and then right into the heart of Britain’s Second City. Here there are moorings in Gas Street Basin, the perfect base from which to explore some of the City’s top attractions, including Brindleyplace, the Mailbox Shopping Centre and the Birmingham Museum & Art Gallery, home to the world’s largest collection of Pre-Raphaelite art.
Visit No 1 Royal Crescent in fabulous Georgian Bath. From our barge holiday base on the Kennet & Avon Canal at Brassknocker Basin, it’s a four-hour journey, passing through six locks to reach moorings in the centre of the UNESCO World Heritage City of Bath – perfect for a short break afloat. Once moored up, boaters can explore some of the City’s top attractions, including the Roman Baths, Bath Abbey and No 1 Royal Crescent where each room offers a fascinating example of Georgian interior design with authentic furniture, paintings, textiles and carpets.
Cruise into the Peak District to enjoy magnificent scenery. On a week’s break from our narrowboat hire base at Great Haywood on the Trent & Mersey Canal, canal boat holiday-makers can cruise into the beautiful Peak District. It’s a 43-hour return journey to Froghall and back, travelling a total of 72 miles (36 each way) through 70 locks (35 each way). The route first takes boaters north along the Trent & Mersey Canal to Stoke-on-Trent, where they can connect onto the peaceful 17-mile long Caldon Canal, which passes through some of the most magnificent scenery in Britain. As the Canal leaves Stoke, it begins to pass through gently rolling hills, wooded areas, past old mills and then alongside the beautiful River Churnet. The route takes boaters through Cheddleton, home to the headquarters of the Churnet Valley Railway, and the village of Consall Forge with the secluded Black Lion pub serving good food and real ales.
To book a holiday or break on any of Anglo Welsh’s fleet, call our friendly booking team on 0117 304 1122.
Anglo Welsh’s canal boat hire base at Tardebigge on the Worcester & Birmingham Canal near Bromsgrove offers narrowboat holiday-makers the chance to explore some of the most beautiful parts of the West Midlands – including the Forest of Arden, Shakespeare country, Tolkein country and the River Severn Valley. It also offers boaters the option to travel right into the heart of Birmingham – Britain’s vibrant second city with more canals than Venice.
Jonathan Nowell, Anglo Welsh’s manager at Tardebigge, says, “Our Tardebigge base enjoys an idyllic rural setting and is the perfect place to start a leisurely cruise around some of the gorgeous countryside to be found in the Heart of England.
“Perhaps the most popular route for beginners from Tardebigge is to take a short break and travel into Birmingham and back. There are no locks between here and the centre of Birmingham and it takes just five hours to potter along the Worcester & Birmingham Canal to moorings in Gas Street Basin, close to Brindleyplace and a host of exciting City centre attractions.
“And along the way, boaters pass Cadbury World in the historic village of Bournville, where visitors can find out how chocolate is made and explore the World’s biggest Cadbury Shop!
“Narrowboating newcomers wanting a more rural experience can connect onto the Stratford Canal at Kings Norton Junction and travel to the pretty canal village of Lapworth and back – which takes around 14 hours in total, again with no locks.
“Another popular short break route is to travel into Birmingham to visit the Black Country Museum, often used as a film set for the BBC’s Peaky Blinders. Here visitors can step back in time where the world’s first industrial landscape emerged and meet costumed characters, explore period shops and houses, enjoy a fair ground ride, take a 1912 school lesson, eat traditional fish & chips and visit the Bottle & Glass Inn.
“From Tardebigge, more experienced boaters on longer breaks can enjoy there-and-back cruises to Stratford upon Avon, Warwick or Worcester. Shakespeare’s Stratford is probably our most popular destination for people on a week’s canal barge holiday from here. The journey takes boaters along the beautiful Stratford Canal with its distinctive barrel-roofed cottages, peaceful countryside and fantastic choice of canalside pubs – including the Fleur de Lys at Lowsonford, which is famous for its homemade pies.
“There’s also a choice of circuits to navigate from Tardebigge, including the popular Stourport Ring, which can be done in a week and involves travelling 74 miles, through 118 locks, passing through Birmingham, Wolverhampton, Stourport and the lovely Cathedral City of Worcester.
“As part of this journey, boaters get to tackle the mighty Tardebigge flight of 30 locks – the longest in the country. The locks are spread out over two and a quarter miles and allow boats to ascend or descend 67 metres in height. To recognise this major waterway landmark, the Canal & River Trust offers a certificate to boaters who complete their passage through the flight.
“On this route, narrowboat holiday-makers also have the option of taking a short cut along the newly restored Droitwich canals and experience narrow locks, staircase locks, wide beam locks and swing bridges all in a single seven-mile stretch.
“Luxury canal boat hire options here at Tardebigge include the 65ft long four-berth Constellation Class ‘Hydra’, and the 67ft six-berth Bond Class ‘Braithwaite’ – both of which have semi-traditional sterns, two shower rooms with toilets, plus two cabins which can be configured as a double bed or two single beds. In its spacious saloon, ‘Braithwaite’ also has a bench seat and table which can be converted into either a double or two singles in the evening.”
To book a holiday or break on any of Anglo Welsh’s fleet, call our friendly booking team on 0117 304 1122.
Anglo Welsh offers winter cruising* from six bases, giving narrowboat holidaymakers the chance to celebrate Christmas or New Year afloat, joining in the festive celebrations at exciting waterside towns and cities and stopping off at rural pubs with roaring log fires.
From a cosy boat for two to a party boat for 10, we’ve got a range of boats to choose from. Christmas prices start at £470 for a short break (three or four nights), weekly hire from £670.
All our boats have central heating, hot water, WiFi, TV and DVD players and some also have multi-fuel stoves, so it’s always warm and cosy on board.
Here are our Top 6 festive destinations for 2016/17:
1. Wonder at the Animal Lanterns at Chester Zoo – from our Bunbury base on the Shropshire Union Canal in Cheshire, it’s a seven-hour, nine-lock journey to the historic walled city of Chester. With 3D Christmas Lights, Christmas parades, a sparkly Christmas Market with dozens of gift and festive-fare filled chalets, carol concerts at Chester Cathedral and the magical ‘Lanterns at Chester Zoo’ event, Chester is a great place to celebrate Christmas.
2. Visit the award-winning Christmas market in Bath – from our base in the historic town of Bradford on Avon on the edge of the Cotswolds, it’s a delightful six-hour cruise along the beautiful Kennet & Avon Canal to moorings close to the centre of World Heritage city Bath. With an award-winning Christmas market, carol services at Bath Abbey, stunning Georgian architecture, world class museums and top restaurants, Bath is a fantastic place to get Christmassy!
3. Watch a panto in Birmingham – With its famous German Christmas Market, ice rink and big wheel, excellent shopping, Birmingham Museum & Art Gallery, National Sea Life Centre, incredible new library and Christmas shows, including ‘Treasure Island’ at the Birmingham Rep and ‘Dick Whittington’ at the Hippodrome, Birmingham is a great place to visit at Christmas time. City centre moorings at Gas Street Basin, close to Brindleyplace, can be reached in just five hours from our narrowboat hire base at Tardebigge on the Worcester & Birmingham Canal.
4. Enjoy the Christmas Festival at Stratford upon Avon – from our base at Wootton Wawen near Warwick, it’s a picturesque six-hour cruise through the Warwickshire countryside to Shakespeare’s Stratford. Once there, boaters can moor up in the town’s canal basin to enjoy the marvellous Christmas lights, Christmas markets, Christmas grotto with the Real Father Christmas (from 24 Nov), intriguing Ebenezer Scrooge Grotto (from 28 Dec), carol singers, traditional pubs, ghost walks, museums, shops, Swan Theatre and cosy restaurants.
5. Experience a ‘Santa Special’ at the Llangollen Railway – our canal boat hire base at Trevor on the beautiful Llangollen Canal in North Wales is just minutes away from the incredible 40m high and 30m long Pontcysyllte Aqueduct. As a World Heritage designation, this incredible feat of Industrial Revolution engineering has been put on a par with the Taj Mahal, Great Wall of China and the Pyramids. On a short break from our narrowboat holiday base at Trevor, boaters can reach the pretty town of Llangollen, nestled in the hills, to enjoy Christmas celebrations at the Llangollen Railway, which is running ‘Santa Specials’ on 3, 4, 10, 11, 17, 18, 22, 23 and 24 December.
6. See an Outdoor Christmas Nativity in Market Drayton – from our Great Haywood base at the junction of the Staffordshire & Worcestershire and Trent & Mersey canals in Staffordshire, on a week’s cruise, canal boat holidaymakers can travel to Market Drayton in North Shropshire. Said to be home of the Gingerbread man, this historic market town offers visitors lively street markets, beautiful architecture and the ‘Buttercross to Bethlehem’ outdoor nativity acted by people and animals, to be held in the Buttercross stone portico in Cheshire Street, 18 December at 4.30pm.
To make a booking or to get friendly advice on canal holidays, please call our Booking Office on 0117 304 1122.
*Winter cruising routes can be affected by stoppages and closures as a result of winter maintenance work.
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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