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Explore the Kennet & Avon Canal by canal boat

Canal boat holidays on the Kennet & Avon Canal
From our canal boat hire bases at Bath and Monkton Combe you can enjoy a canal boat holiday on the Kennet & Avon Canal

One of our best-loved canals, the 87-mile long Kennet & Avon Canal links the Bristol Avon with the Thames at Reading, passing through spectacular landscapes and the World Heritage City of Bath.

Soaring aqueducts, prehistoric landscapes and a World Heritage City

From the foothills of the Cotswolds to the North West Downs Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, and Vale of Pewsey dotted with pre-historic features, this canal offers the chance to enjoy some of England’s most beautiful countryside.

Completed in 1810, the Kennet & Avon Canal is made up of two lengths of navigable rivers linked by a canal. From Bristol to Bath in the west the route follows the Bristol Avon, and at the eastern end, the River Kennet from Newbury to Reading.

The waterway has 105 locks along its length, including 29 at the dramatic Caen Hill locks in Devizes, as well two stunning Bath stone aqueducts at Avoncliff and Dundas, designed by the pioneering canal engineer John Rennie.

Visit Bath or Bradford on Avon on a short break

From our base at Monkton Combe on the Kennet & Avon Canal in Somerset, Bath Top Lock is a lovely two-hour cruise away – the perfect short break for beginners.

Once moored at Bath Top Lock, you can walk into the centre of the City in just 15 minutes to enjoy all that the World Heritage Status City of Bath has to offer – the ancient Roman Baths, the sweeping line of 30 Grade I listed Georgian terrace houses that make up the Royal Crescent and medieval Bath Abbey with its fascinating ladders of angels climbing up the West front.

Places to eat in Bath include the Italian Sotto Sotto on North Parade and the Green Park Brasserie & Bar at Green Park Station, which often hosts live music in the evenings.

Or set off from our Bath base and head east to Bradford on Avon, skirting the southern foothills of the Cotswolds and passing through the picturesque Avon Valley.

The route goes past the historic Claverton Pumping Station with its 200-year water-driven pump lifting water 48ft from the River Avon to the canal above. And you’ll cross over the amazing Bath stone aqueducts at Dundas and Avoncliff.  There’s a series of historic pubs and waterside eateries to enjoy along the way, including The George at Bathampton and The Cross Guns at Avoncliff.

At historic Bradford on Avon, sometimes described as a ‘mini Bath’, there’s a great choice of places to visit, including the Bradford on Avon Museum and the magnificent medieval Tithe Barn.  There are lots of places to eat and drink, including the popular canalside Barge Inn and Timbrell’s Yard.

You can also cruise to Bristol and back on four night break from our Bath or Monkton Combe bases, but this is recommended for experienced boaters only.

Take a longer holiday and head to Devizes, the Vale of Pewsey, Hungerford and Newbury

On a week’s break from Bath or Monkton Combe, you can travel east to the pretty village of Great Bedwyn and back, passing through tranquil Wiltshire countryside past sleepy villages, and tackling the magnificent Caen Hill flight of locks at Devizes along the way.

Once at Devizes, visitors to this historic market town can enjoy the Wadworth Brewery Visitor Centre with its famous shire horses making daily deliveries, and sample delicious food at some of the town’s independent shops and restaurants, including seasonal favourites at the AA 5* Peppermill Restaurant and the famous Devizes Cheesecake at the Dolcipani Bakery.

Then it’s on through the Vale of Pewsey, passing close to the Avebury Stone Circle, looking out for a Wiltshire White Horse on the hillside and stopping to see the striking painting on the ceiling of The Barge Inn at Honeystreet, with the subject matter reflecting the pub’s proximity to many crop-circles.

At the tiny hamlet of Wootton Rivers on the edge of the ancient Savernake Forest, boaters can stop for refreshment at the pretty thatched Royal Oak pub, soon after reaching the Kennet & Avon’s only tunnel – the 459-metre long Bruce Tunnel.

Then it’s down the Crofton flight and on to Crofton Pumping Station, home to two of the World’s oldest working steam beam engines, and neighbouring Wilton Water, created to supply the pumping station and feed the canal summit, now a haven for wildlife.

On reaching Great Bedwyn, boaters can turn and enjoy a visit to the village’s intriguing Stone Museum and the The Three Tuns pub.

On a two-week break, narrowboat holiday-makers can travel on to Reading, passing through Hungerford with antique shops dotted along its High Street, the village of Kintbury with its Dundas Arms gastro pub and the historic market town of Newbury, with a variety of arts venues including The Corn Exchange and Watermill Theatre, and nearby Highclere Castle, home of Downton Abbey.

For advice on our canal boat holidays, please call our Booking Office on 0117 304 1122.
To make a booking, go to https://www.anglowelsh.co.uk/
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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.

For more information on our routes and exciting waterside destinations, take a look at our 2021 brochure:https://anglowelshportal.co.uk/

Canal maps are available to buy from our booking office or from our canal boat holiday hire bases.

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

New canal boats for hire in England and Wales

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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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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