Life after a stroke. Friends enjoy an Anglo Welsh canal boat trip
Fourteen stroke survivors from Bromsgrove, together with their families and carers, enjoyed a two-hour boat trip aboard Anglo Welsh’s day boat Emma yesterday (19 June), travelling along the Worcester & Birmingham Canal to Alvechurch and back.
Setting off from our canal boat hire base at Tardebigge, the Life After Stroke Friends were divided into two groups, one taking the canal boat trip in the morning, and the other group in the afternoon. Everyone enjoyed a picnic lunch at Tardebigge Wharf, hosted by the Bromsgrove Lions Club.
A spokesperson from the stroke survivors said: “We are absolutely delighted to be going on another canal boat trip this year and are extremely grateful to both Anglo Welsh and Bromsgrove Lions Club for making these trips possible.
“It’s such a lovely time which everybody enjoys. The boat just cruises gently through the Worcestershire countryside, presenting us with a wonderful opportunity to relax and take time out from everyday life. We especially enjoy watching the wildlife which seems totally unaware of our presence. ”
Keith Godwin, of the Bromsgrove Lions Club, adds: “Thanks to Anglo Welsh, this is the fifth year in a row we’ve been able to offer stroke survivors and their carers a canal boat trip on Anglo Welsh’s day boat Emma. It’s a fantastic opportunity for them to step away from the stresses of everyday life and relax, watching the world go by on the peaceful Worcester & Birmingham Canal.
“A stroke can have a huge impact on someone’s life, and this group really demonstrates how well they are able to combat the effects through mutual support. We are so pleased they can share this great experience together.”
Jonathan Nowell, manager of the Anglo Welsh Tardebigge base, says: “Canals are great places to escape to – the slow pace of travel on a canal boat and the wildlife to watch out for along the way, really helps people to relax and feel happier.
“We are delighted to have again offered our day boat Emma to Bromsgrove Lions Club so that they could take this group of stroke survivors out for another special day together on the canal.”
Emma is available to hire for the day from our canal boat rental centre at Tardebigge. She can take up to 10 passengers and is equipped with cutlery, crockery, a kettle, toilet, cooker and fridge, so hirers can prepare for a picnic afloat or stop-off at a waterside pub along the way. Day hire prices are £99 Monday to Friday, £140 for weekend days and bank holidays.
With accommodation for two adults, Emma can also be hired overnight for £198 plus a fuel deposit during the week, £280 plus fuel deposit at weekends and bank holidays.
To book a day trip, holiday or short break on any of Anglo Welsh’s fleet, call our friendly booking team on 0117 304 1122.
Canal boat holidays are great for families – bringing everyone together for an adventure afloat – soaking up the scenery, learning how to steer the boat and work the locks, watching out for wildlife and stopping-off to visit waterside pubs and attractions.
To celebrate the International Day of Families (15th May), we’ve put together our top 9 narrowboat holidays for families for 2018.
Walk the City Walls in Chester. The ancient City of Chester is a delightful seven hour cruise, passing through nine locks, from our canal boat hire base at Bunbury on the Shropshire Union Canal in Cheshire. Once there, narrowboat holiday-makers can moor up to explore the City, including the largest Roman Amphitheatre in Britain and the almost three kilometre-long City Walls, which were started by the Romans between 70 and 80 AD and formed a complete circuit of the medieval city.
Discover the Witch in a Bottle at the Pitt Rivers Museum in Oxford. From our Thames boating holiday hire base at Eynsham, it’s a tranquil three-hour cruise to moorings at Hythe Bridge, perfect for exploring Oxford’s city centre. There are excellent shops, many historic buildings and fantastic museums to explore in Oxford, including the extraordinary Pitt Rivers Museum, home to one of the world’s finest collection of anthropology and archaeology, including shrunken heads from the Amazon and the famous ‘witch in a bottle’.
Soak up the Italianate architecture at Saltaire. From our base at Silsden on the Leeds & Liverpool Canal, on a short break boaters can travel to Sir Titus Salt’s famous model town at Saltaire, a journey which takes seven hours and passes through 11 locks. Now a UNESCO World Heritage Site, Sir Titus Salt built the textile Mill and entire village for his mill workers, all in a beautiful Italianate style. Places to visit include Saltaire Park and the Grade II* listed Salt’s Mill. This homes many examples of work by Bradford born artist David Hockney, as well as collections of books, furniture, jewellery, clothing and the Salt’s Diner restaurant.
Marvel at the Caen Hill flight of locks at Devizes. From our barge holiday base on the Kennet & Avon Canal in Bath, it’s a 10-hour, eight-lock cruise to Fox Hanger Wharf at the base of the mighty Caen Hill flight of 29 locks at Devizes, one of the ‘Seven Wonders of the Waterways’. Once here, the historic market town of Devizes is a short walk away, with its Wadworth Brewery Visitor Centre and famous shire horses making daily deliveries, plus a range of shops, pubs and restaurants, including the ‘Peppermill Restaurant’ and the Bear Hotel. Along the way, narrowboat holiday-makers can stop off to explore historic Bradford on Avon, home to the magnificent 14th monastic stone Tithe Barn, with its amazing timber cruck roof.
Climb the Ramparts at Warwick Castle. From our Stockton canal boat rental base on the Grand Union Canal in Warwickshire, it’s a seven-hour journey, passing through 20 locks, to reach the beautiful country town of Warwick with its magnificent medieval castle on the banks of the River Avon. The Castle offers a fantastic family day out with ramparts to climb, the Castle Dungeon, Great Hall and Staterooms to explore. Families can experience the sights, sounds and smells of the medieval period in the Kingmaker exhibition, watch soaring birds of prey and trebuchet firing displays and navigate the Horrible Histories Maze and landscaped gardens.
Glide across ‘The Stream in the Sky’. Just five minutes from our base on the Llangollen Canal at Trevor, boaters encounter the incredible Pontcysyllte Aqueduct, truly one of the ‘Seven Wonders of the Waterways’. Its cast iron trough filled with water, is supported on iron arched ribs and carried 38 metres high above the Dee Valley on 19 hollow pillars. In 2009 the Pontcysyllte Aqueduct was added to the UNESCO World Heritage site list, putting it on a par with the Pyramids and Taj Majhal. On a short break from our canal boat hire yard at Trevor, boaters can cross the aqueduct and then continue east to reach the Ellesmere Lakes, teaming with wildlife. On a week’s break, narrow boat holiday-makers can cruise on to the historic market town of Whitchurch.
Experience the Pirahna Tunnel at Birmingham’s National Sea Life Centre. From our narrow boat holiday hire base on the Worcester & Birmingham Canal at Tardebigge, Gas Street Basin in Birmingham City’s Centre is a five-hour lock-free cruise away, perfect for first-time canal boat holiday-makers. From there it’s a short walk to Brindley place with an abundance of shops, restaurants and attractions, including Birmingham’s Sea life Centre, with over 60 displays of freshwater and marine life, including the new Pirahna Tunnel and Jelly Invaders exhibit.
Get close to nature at Fradley Pool Nature Reserve. From our canal barge holiday base at Great Haywood in Staffordshire, on a short break boaters can cruise along the Trent & Mersey Canal to Fradley Junction and back, a journey which takes six hours and passes through five locks. Picturesque Fradley offers visitors guided walks, a café, two pubs and the award-winning Fradley Pool Nature Reserve, home to an abundance of creatures. Along the way, boaters pass the Shugborough Estate with its stunning Georgian mansion house and walled garden. Families can explore the Staffordshire Wildlife Trust’s Wolseley centre with 26 acres of beautiful grounds and Rugeley with its choice of pubs, including the canal side Mossley Tavern.
Watch a Shakespeare play in the Bard’s home town. From our luxury canal boat hire base at Wootton Wawen on the Stratford Canal, it’s a delightful six-hour, 17-lock cruise journey through the Warwickshire countryside to Bancroft Basin in the centre of Stratford-upon-Avon. From there, it’s a short walk to the town’s theatres, shops, restaurants and museums, including the Royal Shakespeare Theatre where until 18 September Christopher Ecclestone will play Macbeth and Niamh Cusack Lady Macbeth in ‘The Scottish Play’.
To book a holiday or break on any of Anglo Welsh’s fleet, call our friendly booking team on 0117 304 1122.
You don’t need to be an expert to hire a canal boat and each year around one fifth of narrowboat hirers are new to the waterways. To help make your first canal boat holiday smoother, we’ve put together our top 12 canal boating tips for beginners:
Keep to the right. Unlike cars on our roads, canal boats travel on the right side of our canals and rivers, so when you meet another boat, keep to the right.
You don’t need a licence to steer a canal boat. And boat steering tuition is provided as part of our holiday packages, but if you’d like to get ahead of the game, take a look at the Canal & River Trust’s Boaters Handbook Video for some sound advice https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lXn47JYXs44
Steering basics. Push the tiller right to go left, and left to go right and put the engine in reverse to stop.
Use your horn. To warn canal boats coming towards you when approaching sharp bends and as you enter a tunnel.
Lock logistics. Always have a steerer on the boat when in a lock and make sure the boat is kept forward of the cill (step).
Close the gates behind you. Check all paddles and gates are shut after you’ve used a lock, unless you see another boat approaching.
Sharing is caring. Always share a lock with other boats if possible to save water and it means you can share the lock operation too.
Tunnel tricks. Switch on your headlight before entering a tunnel, and if it’s a one-way tunnel, first make sure there’s no boat inside.
Slow down to walking pace. There’s a 4mph speed limit on the inland waterways but basically you’re going too fast if you’re creating too much wash which disturbs wildlife and erodes the banks.
Reduce your speed even further. When you are approaching bridges, locks, bends or junctions, and when passing other canal boats or anglers.
Mooring musts. When mooring up at busy spots, make sure you don’t leave a big gap and never moor opposite winding holes, on bends, near to bridges, on lock landings (unless waiting to lock through) or at water points (unless filling up).
Tying up. To keep your boat secure, you need to tie it to the bank with a rope from both the front and the back, and on rivers you should fix your upstream rope first.But above all relax & enjoy your trip!
On Sunday 15 April 2018 we’re offering free canal boat holiday taster sessions at five of our canal boat hire bases, giving visitors the chance to find out more about what it’s like to enjoy a narrowboat holiday on Britain’s wonderful inland waterway network.
Our events are being held as part of Drifters’ National Open Day, which is supported by the Canal & River Trust. The taster sessions will include free trips on skippered narrowboats, as well as narrowboat tours, holiday discounts and the chance to find out more about our luxury canal boat hire opportunities. No advance booking is required. The events will open at 11am and close at 4pm.
Here’s a list of our narrowboat hire bases hosting events:
Celebrate National Pet Month With a Canal Boat Holiday
To celebrate National Pet Month, here at Anglo Welsh canal boat holidays we are waiving our second pet price of £35 on holidays booked from today to depart throughout April.
First pets are already free as part of all our holiday packages, and narrowboat holidays are especially great for dogs – with plenty of towpath walks, dog-friendly canalside pubs and other canines to meet along the way. As well as hundreds of dogs, we’ve accommodated many other kinds of pets aboard our floating holiday homes, including cats, rabbits, hamsters, caged birds and goldfish.
Here are our top tips for taking your dog on a barge holiday:
Go for an open cruiser-stern. When considering which of our narrowboats to hire, it’s a good idea to go for the cruiser-stern style back, rather than semi-trad option, as there’s more room ‘on deck’ for the dog and the rest of the family to enjoy watching the world go by.
Bring your furry friend’s bed. To help them feel at home and keep them off the beds on board!
Don’t leave your dog unattendedon board. It’s best to keep your pet with you, but if you do leave Fido behind for a short time to go shopping, bring an appropriately-sized crate as its own ‘safe space’.
Boost their buoyancy. Adoggy life-jacket is a good idea, especially for canal barge holiday first-timers, and it’s best to choose one with a wide belly-strap and easy-to-grab handle.
Pack your poo bags. Our 2,000-mile network of navigable canals and rivers offers a wonderful world for dogs to explore but please pick up anything your dog might drop and pop it in a bin.
Be extra safe. By keeping your dog on a short lead around busy spots like locks and bridges and making sure they wear their collar with an ID tag
Watch out for wildlife. Don’t let your dog swim in the canals, especially when there are ducklings, signets, goslings and other water bird chicks about.
This Easter, narrowboat holidays offer the chance to explore the Great British countryside as it bursts into life with new leaves, daffodils, bluebells, spring lambs and nesting birds. Set sail aboard your own floating holiday home to enjoy a fantastic family adventure, stopping-off along the way to visit exciting waterside visitor attractions hosting special Easter holiday activities.
Here are our top 10 Easter holiday destinations to visit afloat:
Go on an Easter egg hunt at Kinver Edge. From our narrowboat hire base at Tardebigge on the Worcester & Birmingham Canal near Bromsgrove, it’s a 20-hour, 37-mile, 32-lock journey to Kinver on the Staffordshire & Worcester Canal. Kinver Edge offers visitors miles of wildlife-rich heath land and woods to explore, and starting from the site’s ancient Rock Houses, the National Trust is hosting daily Easter Egg Hunts over the Easter weekend. Kinver is on the route of the Stourport Ring, which can be tackled on a week’s holiday from Tardebigge, travelling a total of 76 miles via Birmingham, Kidderminster, Stourport and Worcester.
See Roman finds discovered by metaldetectorists in Oxford. From our Oxford base, it’s a tranquil three-hour cruise along the River Thames to moorings at Hythe Bridge, perfect for exploring Oxford’s city centre, including the University of Oxford’s Ashmolean Museum of Art & Archaeology. As well as permanent world famous collections from Egyptian Mummies to contemporary art, until 29 April 2018 ‘An Ancient Landscape: Iron-Age and Roman finds from the Berkshire Downs’ explores the story of this site through objects found by metaldetectorists, such as coins, pottery and metalwork, dating from the late Iron Age to the end of Roman Britain.
See a rare baby deer at Chester Zoo. Chester Zoo, home to 21,314 animals from 500 species, can be reached on a short break from our canal boat hire base at Bunbury on the Shropshire Union Canal in Cheshire. New arrivals at the Zoo include a rare tiny Philippine spotted deer fawn, cuter than Bambi, as well as two critically endangered Eastern black rhino calves, seven endangered African painted dog pups and world first breedings of highly threatened Bermudian skinks and Catalonian newts. The journey to Chester takes around seven hours, passing through nine locks.
Glide across ‘The Stream in the Sky’. Just five minutes from our base on the Llangollen Canal at Trevor, boaters encounter the incredible Pontcysyllte Aqueduct, truly one of the ‘Seven Wonders of the Waterways’. Its cast iron trough filled with water, is supported on iron arched ribs and carried 38 metres high above the Dee Valley on 19 hollow pillars. In 2009 the Pontcysyllte Aqueduct was added to the UNESCO World Heritage site list, putting it on a par with the Pyramids and Taj Majhal. On a short break from our boat yard at Trevor, boaters can cross the aqueduct and then continue east to reach the Ellesmere Lakes, teaming with wildlife. On a week’s break, narrowboat holiday-makers can cruise on to the historic market town of Whitchurch.
Take the ‘Bunny’s Trail’ at the Black Country Living Museum. From our Tardebigge base on the Worcester & Birmingham Canal near Bromsgrove, it’s an eight-hour, three-lock journey to moorings outside the Black Country Living Museum. From 24 March until 15 April the Museum will be hosting an array of family activities, including the Bunny’s Trail exploring the Museum’s canalside village, egg rolling competitions, egg and spoon races, displays about Easter traditions in the home including egg dying and traditional recipes, as well as the chance to enjoy freshly baked hot cross buns from the bakery and traditionally cooked fish & chips.
Watch medieval jousting in the heart of Leeds. From our 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. Here, boaters can moor up and explore the Royal Armouries Museum at Leeds Dock, home of the national collection of arms and armour. From Friday 30 March till Monday 2 April, the Museum will be hosting its Easter Tournament event with authentic medieval jousting in the Royal Armouries’ arena.
Climb the rigging on the SS Great Britain in Bristol. On a short break from our narrowboat hire base on the Kennet & Avon Canal at Bath, canal boat holiday-makers can travel west to Bristol’s Floating Harbour* in eight hours, passing through 13 locks. Once there boaters can moor up to explore the harbour and visit the SS Great Britain where at weekends people are given the opportunity to climb the ship’s rigging. Designed by Isambard Kingdom Brunel for the Great Western Steamship Company’s transatlantic service between Bristol and New York, from 1845 to 1854 the SS Great Britain was the longest passenger ship in the world.
*NB this route is recommended route for experienced boaters and overnight mooring fees will apply
Walk in Shakespeare’s footsteps in Stratford-upon-Avon. From our base at Wootton Wawen on the Stratford Canal, it’s a delightful six-hour, 17-lock cruise journey through the Warwickshire countryside to Bancroft Basin in the centre of Stratford-upon-Avon. From there, it’s a short walk to the town’s theatres, shops, restaurants and museums, including Shakespeare’s Birthplace where visitors can walk in the Bard’s footsteps. This Easter (31 March to 15 April) children visiting Shakespeare’s Birthplace can take part in a fun interactive treasure hunt in the gardens, with music and comedy, led by the Museum’s in-house actors Shakespeare Aloud.
Celebrate Spring time at Shugborough Hall. From our base at Great Haywood, on the Trent & Mersey Canal near Stafford, the National Trust’s beautiful Shugborough Hall estate is a short journey away. Here families can explore the historic mansion house and servants’ quarters, as well as visit the working farm to see lambs being born, witness bulbs blooming in the walled garden and wildlife emerging in the parkland. And from 30 March to 15 April, special events are planned to celebrate Spring time at Shugborough with nature inspired activities and trails, including Explorers’ Map, full of 50 Things fun, and canoeing sessions on the River Sow.
Wonder at Warwick Castle. From our Stockton base on the Grand Union Canal in Warwickshire, it’s a seven-hour journey, passing through 20 locks, to reach the beautiful country town of Warwick with its magnificent medieval castle on the banks of the River Avon. The Castle offers a fantastic family day out with ramparts to climb, the Castle Dungeon, Great Hall and Staterooms to explore, the sights, sounds and smells of the medieval period to experience in the Kingmaker exhibition, soaring birds of prey and trebuchet firing displays to watch, the Horrible Histories Maze to navigate and landscaped gardens to tour. And this Easter (30 March to 15 April) visitors can join in the 950th anniversary of William the Conqueror’s motte and bailey castle by climbing The Conqueror’s Fortress, a specifically designed interactive exhibition exploring the castle’s fascinating history.
To book a holiday or break on any of Anglo Welsh’s fleet, call our friendly booking team on 0117 304 1122.
Sailing on a cloud with Matthew Gravelle and Family
Broadchurch star Matthew Gravelle was at the centre of the biggest TV whodunnit since ‘who shot JR?’ Last summer, the Welsh actor took his wife, Hinterland star Mali Harries, and kids on an Anglo Welsh canal boat holiday, setting off from our Trevor base in North Wales on a true-life family adventure. Here’s his narrowboat holiday review, published in Wales View 2015:
We’re heading for the Llangollen Canal, built as part of a network of waterways to connect the coalfields and limestone quarries of Denbighshire to the Midlands.
Its most notable feature is Thomas Telford’s Pontcysyllte Aqueduct, the highest and longest in Britain, 984 feet (300m) in length and soaring 98 feet (40 m) above the River Dee.
We arrive at Trevor Basin to collect our boat, a traditional barge called Brenig, which appears to be painted in British Racing Green (odd, since the speed limit is 4 mph (6.4kph).
The children scramble on and explore, while I get an hour of instruction from the nice man from Anglo Welsh on how to skipper the thing. By the time we push off from our mooring, I know the theory, but actually steering this immense beast – it’s got an old-fashioned tiller, rather than a wheel – takes some getting used to.
Crossing the Pontcysyllte Aqueduct is the easy bit. Telford thoughtfully built it in an arrow-straight line, and the cast iron walls are only just wide enough to pass through, so steering isn’t an issue. Instead I can take in the exhilarating views as we float serenely in mid-air.
I was enjoying the ride so much I didn’t really think about how it was coming to an end. There are two barges coming in the opposite direction and I seem to have forgotten everything I learnt about steering. I bump into a poor unsuspecting barge owner, causing him to throw his supper into his lap. Oops. Sorry.
Back at our mooring, we feast on Llandegla smoked trout, with broad beans and new potatoes from my dad’s garden. After supper we do old-fashioned family stuff – play cards, draw pictures.
As night falls, the children settle into their cabin and enjoy the best night’s sleep of the trip. It’s a really cosy and comfortable place to sleep, like a stretched caravan, except better insulated, with its own wood-burner.
A new day dawns and this driving lark seems much easier today. It gives us the opportunity to relax and spot nooks and corners that you don’t see from any road.
“It’s like sailing on a cloud,” observes Ela.
To book a canal holiday or break aboard any of Anglo Welsh’s narrowboat fleet, call our friendly booking team on 0117 304 1122.
Anglo Welsh men make a splash in 24 hour charity boat race
Steve Harrison, manager at Anglo Welsh’s Bunbury base on the Shropshire Union Canal, is one of those narrowboat enthusiasts who cheerily spends as much time on the water as on dry land.
On a rare day-off from his Bunbury ‘office’ in rural Cheshire, Steve swapped narrowboats for yachts and dinghies as an Anglo Welsh sponsored team took part in West Lancashire Yacht club’s 50th annual race for charity.
With their Enterprise dinghy decked out in Anglo Welsh colours, Steve and his teammates from Chester Sailing and Canoe club performed gallantly at the charity event staged at Southport Marine Lake.
“It’s a 24 hour race so everybody calls it Le Mans on water,” jokes Steve. “Our veterans won the Masters Trophy for the over-40s and our team finished seventh overall, which was pretty good going considering that our sensor gear snapped at the beginning of the race, which meant some time-consuming jury rigging.”
“A brilliant weekend was had by all,” continues Steve, who was joined on the Anglo Welsh sponsored team by his father, Bunbury colleague Dave, “and luckily, many of the skills used on a narrowboat – working in close quarters, judging distances, adapting to water conditions – are equally relevant on a yacht or canoe.”
“Best of all, Anglo Welsh’s generous sponsorship helped us raise money for the Andrew Simpson Foundation, a charity that is close to the hearts of all sailors.”
Inspired by the memory of Olympic Gold medallist Andrew ‘Bart’ Simpson, the foundation gives thousands of young people the chance to enjoy the life-changing challenges of sailing. “My family have always had boats and I’ve been navigating on canals for 15 years,” says Steve, who has been based at Bunbury since January 2015, “so I know from personal experience what a liberating and enjoyable experience being on the water is, whatever the vessel!”
Anglo Welsh has a large fleet of narrowboats at its Bunbury base, next to the famous Bunbury Staircase Locks. To book a canal holiday from Bunbury or any of Anglo Welsh’s 11 bases, please call our Booking Office on 0117 304 1122.
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.