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.
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.
You can cruise gently along aboard your own floating holiday home to enjoy an outdoor family adventure, stopping-off along the way to visit waterside destinations hosting special Easter holiday activities.
From medieval fortresses, battles and jousting, to Easter egg decorating, hunting and (of course) eating, here are our Top 10 Easter canal boat holiday family destinations:
Visit the World’s biggest Cadbury shop at Cadbury World – apparently, if you placed all the Cadbury Creme Eggs made in a year from end to end, they would stretch from Bournville to Sydney, Australia! This Easter, you can discover more amazing chocolate facts, and buy some Creme Eggs at the World’s biggest Cadbury shop, at Cadbury World at Bournville, right next to the Worcester & Birmingham Canal. From our canal boat hire base at Tardebigge, near Bromsgrove in Worcestershire, it takes just two hours to reach moorings outside Cadbury World, and three more lock-free hours to reach Birmingham City Centre.
Have an ‘Eggstraordinary Easter Eggventure’ at the University of Oxford’s Natural History Museum – 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 Natural History Museum, which is hosting an Easter egg hunting trail, 6-22 April. Housed in a stunning Victorian neo-Gothic building, Oxford’s Natural History Museum is home to an internationally significant collection of natural history specimens, including T-rex skeletons, the Oxford Dodo, whale skeletons, British bird displays, dinosaur fossils and the 4.5 billion-year-old Nantan meteorite.
Enjoy a Cadbury Easter Egg Hunt 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 Pontcysyllte Aqueduct, which this year celebrates 10 years of World Heritage Status. Once moored-up, it’s a half-hour walk up to the National Trust’s stunning medieval fortress, Chirk Castle, where over the Easter Weekend (19-22 April), children can follow the Easter Trail, solve the clues and win a Cadbury chocolate prize.
Watch medieval jousting at the Royal Armouries Museum – 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. Over the Easter weekend (19-22 April) the waterside Royal Armouries Museum will be hosting its spectacular International Jousting event, where four teams of knights from the UK, Poland, the USA and Canada will battle for honour and trophies.
Tour the Roman Baths by Torchlight – from our canal boat rental base on the Kennet & Avon Canal at Brassknocker Basin just outside Bath it takes around four hours, passing through six locks to reach Bath City Centre, just a short walk away from the Roman Baths Museum. Over the Easter Weekend (19-22 April), the Museum will be hosting torchlit evening openings (6pm-8pm), giving visitors the chance to see the remarkably preserved remains of one of the greatest religious spas of the ancient world in a different light. Easter evening visitors can also enjoy live music, impromptu performances from the Natural Theatre Company and a drink in a pop-up Prosecco Bar.
See the World’s oldest working steam engines – on a week’s holiday from our narrowboat hire base at Sydney Wharf, you can travel along the beautiful Kennet & Avon Canal to Crofton, near Marlborough, to visit the Crofton Pumping Station. Over the Easter Weekend (20-22 April), the Easter Steam Event allows visitors to witness the work of the oldest working steam engines in the world, still performing the job they were built to do. The two beam engines, one of which is an original 200-year old Boulton & Watt, are both fed by a hand-stoked, coal fired Lancashire boiler. The journey to Crofton takes around 23 hours, cruising 40 miles and passing through 47 locks.
Join the annual Easter Boat Gathering at Ellesmere Port – over the Easter Weekend (19-22 April), the National Waterways Museum at Ellesmere Port in Cheshire celebrates the start of the Summer boating season with a large boat gathering, live music and the Shropshire Boatmen telling waterway stories in song. 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.
Do some Easter egg decorating at Mary Arden’s Farm – from our base at Wootton Wawen on the pretty Stratford Canal, it takes around an hour-and-a-half to reach the village of Wilmcote, home to Mary Arden’s Farm, where Shakespeare’s mother grew up. Over the Easter holidays, as well as experiencing the sights, sounds and smells of a Tudor farm, visitors can enjoy decorating eggs with traditional Tudor designs at Mary Arden’s Farm. On a short break, you can continue on to Bancroft Basin in the Centre of Stratford to visit waterside eateries, Shakespeare’s Birthplace and the famous Swan Theatre.
Explore the Eggcellent Easter Trail at Trentham Monkey Forest – during the Easter holidays (15-26 April), visitors to Trentham Monkey Forest, where monkeys live in total freedom, can walk amongst the monkeys and follow the Easter Woodland Trail to find a hidden word to gain entry to a prize draw. From our boatyard at Great Haywood on the Trent & Mersey Canal near Stafford, it takes approximately 10 hours to reach Stoke bottom lock No. 36, a short walk away from Trentham Monkey Forest. The journey cruises 13 miles and passes through 13 locks.
Take a Guided Walk at the Battle of Bosworth Museum – from our canal boat hire base at Stockton on the Grand Union Canal in Warwickshire, it takes around 18 hours, travelling 44 miles and passing through seven locks, to reach Sutton Cheney, close to the Bosworth Heritage Centre & Country Park. Here, where King Richard III famously lost his crown to Henry Tudor in 1485, visitors to the multi-award-winning Bosworth Battlefield Experience can enjoy hands-on displays and guided walks to find out more about medieval warfare, how the battle unfolded and the impact of the powerful Tudor dynasty.
Plan your Easter canal boat holiday: The best waterway routes for kids
It’s finally getting a little bit lighter and there is hope that winter may not last forever.
In fact, it is the perfect time to cheer yourself out of any winter blues by planning your next narrowboat trip. With the school Easter break now just a few weeks away, why not treat the whole family to a canal boat holiday this year. Kids love the novelty of being on the water just as much as adults and all our narrowboats are designed to be family friendly. You could even bring your pets!
To help, we’ve had a think about the best canal boat holiday routes to do with children.
We’ve chosen varied waterway journeys that combine rural beauty and tranquility with more urban settings that are packed with family friendly activities to keep the kids entertained throughout. No more of those, ‘Mum/Dad, I’m boooored,’ comments.
Tardebigge to Birmingham
Set in the heart of rural Worcestershire, Tardebigge offers an idyllic starting point for any canal boat cruise. The base sits at the top of an impressive lock ladder climbing 220 feet, offering wonderful views over the surrounding countryside.
If you are heading towards Birmingham you have a relaxing lock free five-hour cruise north along the Worcester and Birmingham Canal through rolling fields, woodland and quiet villages with welcoming pubs.
On the outskirts of the ‘City of canals’ as Birmingham is romantically labelled, you’ll pass through Bourneville where the canal takes you within touching distance of the old Cadbury chocolate factory. Now Cadbury World, this celebration of all things chocolate is a guaranteed hit with the kids.
Continue to the historic Gas Street Basin right in the city centre, from where you can access all Birmingham’s most famous attractions including the National Sea Life Centre, which is a great day out for the whole family.
Great Haywood to Froghall
Jump aboard a narrowboat at Great Haywood and head north west on the Trent and Mersey canal, following the River Trent valley.
To ease you into boating life gently there is a long stretch with no locks, passing through tranquil meadows and the pretty villages of Weston, Salt and Sandon which boast good pubs for a pit stop. After a few more miles, you reach your first lock at Aston, then proceed through more luscious countryside to the historic market town of Stone, which has some great canalside pubs, restaurants and a monthly farmers market.
It is then just seven miles until you reach the towns that make up Stoke on Trent and The Potteries. At Barlaston, you pass the Wedgewood factory with its World of Wedgewood visitor centre offering factory tours, a museum and craft and decorating studios where visitors can test out their talent on the pottery wheel.
The last few miles before you branch off east on the Caldon Canal in Stoke on Trent are dominated by old factories and warehouses, brick furnaces alongside more modern buildings. The Caldon Canal will take you into the picturesque Churnet Valley to Froghall. Here the kids are in for a real treat for it is just a short bus ride to Alton Towers, the UK’s biggest theme park, just make sure you book your tickets in advance to avoid disappointment!
Bunbury to Chester
The Shropshire Union Canal is renowned to be one of the most unspoilt scenic of canals, making it a favourite with narrowboaters from all over the UK.
From Bunbury, cruise north across the expansive open country of the Cheshire Plain past the medieval ruins of Beeston Castle looking down from its rocky crag which offers views all the way to the Pennines. Run by English Heritage and surrounded by a 40-acre woodland park, this is a great place to take the kids. Stop off for refreshment at the canal side Shady Oak Pub, next to Bate’s Mill Bridge, before heading north again.
The canal snakes its way through more green and pleasant farmland until reaching Christleton, a charming village on the edge of Chester with a traditional green surrounded by historic houses.
But most people will be impatient to get to Chester itself, one of the most beautiful cities in the UK, steeped in history. The canal takes you right into the centre of the city, with its cluster of 700-year-old buildings, great shops, restaurants and cafes, and stunning sandstone cathedral all encircled by the imposing medieval city walls.
Take the children to Chester Zoo where you can admire more than 21,000 endangered and exotic animals in the 125 acres of beautiful gardens. This is said to be the most visited tourist attraction in the UK outside of London.
Stockton to Warwick
Leaving our Stockton base, the Grand Union Canal descends through the Stockton Locks to reach the village of Long Itchington where you can reward your hard work at one of the two canalside pub, the Two Boats Inn and The Cuttle Inn.
The canal proceeds through gentle Warwickshire countryside until reaching elegant Royal Leamington Spa with its fine examples of Regency and Victorian architecture and ornate parks like Jephson Gardens. The Leamington Spa Spy Mission Trail is a great way to keep the kids entertained while you explore the town.
From here it is a stone’s throw to Warwick itself, with its unique combination of medieval, Queen Anne and Victorian buildings, all overlooked by the enormity of Warwick Castle. Taking you back in time more than 1000 years with its castle ruins, gruesome dungeons, live bird of prey displays and Horrible Histories maze, you could easily spend the whole day at the castle. But make sure you leave time to explore the historic delights of the town itself including the 14th century Lord Leicester Hospital, St Mary’s Church and The Mill Garden on the banks of the River Avon.
*Monkton Combe to Bristol
From Monkton Combe on the Kennet and Avon Canal you skirt the tail end of the Cotswold Hills to reach the famously beautiful city of Bath which, as a tourist honeypot, has plenty of family friendly activities from mini golf to glass making.
In Bath, you leave the canal to join the wider flowing waters of the River Avon which winds its way through gorgeous countryside first to Saltford, where the riverside Jolly Sailor Pub makes a good stop off, then on towards Bristol.
On the outskirts of the city you will pass Beese’s Riverside Bar and Tea Gardens with its idyllic secretive setting on the riverbank hemmed in by woodland. Try and ensure you’re hungry – or thirsty – so you have an excuse to stop.
After this the city begins to close in upon the river as you enter the old industrial area before turning off at Feeder Road to lock into the historic floating harbor. You can then cruise right into Bristol’s vibrant centre where you are within easy walking distance of the hugely popular We The Curious (formerly At-Bristol) science centre, the incredible SS Great Britain or M Shed with its varied exhibits, all designed to appeal to the little ones. If that’s not enough, catch a bus or taxi to Clifton where you can take the children to Bristol Zoo, with its 400 species of rare animals, 12 acres of gardens, water play area and aerial ropes course ending in an exciting zip wire.
*This route is only recommended for experienced boaters due to the tidal River.
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.
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.
Visit the Rock Houses at Kinver Edge. From our Tardebigge base on the Worcester & Birmingham Canal near Bromsgrove, it’s a 20-hour, 37-mile, 32-lock journey to Kinver on the Staffordshire & Worcester Canal, close to the National Trust’s Holy Austin Rock Houses. Said to be the last occupied cave-dwellings in England, these houses dug into the base of the sandstone escarpment were inhabited until the 1960s. 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.
Explore creatures of the night at the Pitt Rivers Museum. From our Oxford base, it’s a tranquil three-hour cruise along the River Thames to moorings at Hythe Bridge, perfect for a short break exploring Oxford, including the extraordinary Pitt Rivers Museum. This Museum is 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’. From Monday 23 to Wednesday 25 October, 1-4pm the Pitt Rivers will be hosting special October Half Term activities ‘Bats, Cats, Witches and Charms’, exploring creatures of the night, magic charms and solving mysteries.
Travel across ‘The Stream in the Sky’ to the Shropshire Lake District. Just five minutes from our canal boat hire base on the Llangollen Canal at Trevor in North Wales, the incredible Pontcysyllte Aqueduct is truly one of the ‘Seven Wonders of the Waterways’. Its cast iron trough is carried 38 metres high above the Dee Valley on 19 hollow pillars and in 2009 it was granted World Heritage status, putting it on an equal footing with the Taj Mahal. On a short break from Trevor, boaters can cross the aqueduct and head east to the Ellesmere Lakes, also known as the Shropshire Lake District.
Enjoy 1,000 years of history at Warwick Castle. From our Stockton base on the Grand Union Canal in Warwickshire, Warwick and its magnificent medieval castle is a day’s cruise away. Developed from the original castle built by William the Conqueror in 1068, Warwick Castle offers visitors ‘flight of the eagle’ shows, trebuchet firing displays, Horrible Histories Maze, Kingmaker exhibition, Castle Dungeon tour, Princess Tour and ramparts to climb. Over the October Half Term holiday (21-31 October), special Haunted Castle activities include the spectacular Fire Joust, spooktacular shows at the Dead Centre Stage, the search for magic potions at The Witches Tower and a Halloween Trail.
Cruise to the spectacular flight of locks at Devizes. From our base on the Kennet & Avon Canal at 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 historic Bear Hotel. Along the way, narrowboat holiday-makers can stop off to explore the beautiful river and canalside town of Bradford on Avon, home to the magnificent 14th monastic stone Tithe Barn, with its amazing timber cruck roof.
Visit Shakespeare’s Birthplace. From our base at Wootton Wawen on the Stratford Canal in Henley in Arden, 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 here, it’s a short walk to a range of shops, restaurants, pubs, cafes and museum’s, including Shakespeare’s Birthplace on Henley Street. Visitors to the Museum can walk in Shakespeare’s footsteps and explore the house where he was born, grew up and spent the first five years of his marriage, hearing tales of Shakespeare’s family life and enjoying live theatre on demand.
Discover the World of Wedgwood. From our hire boat yard at Great Haywood on the Trent & Mersey Canal in Staffordshire, it’s a 14-mile, 12-lock journey to the wonderful ‘World of Wedgwood’ at Trentham Lock. Here an interactive visitor centre celebrates British craftsmanship with the Wedgewood Museum, Factory Tour, shopping, food and special family activities, including ‘Spooky Pottery Painting’ over the October Half Term holiday (23-29 October).
See David Hockney’s paintings at Salts Mill. From our base at Silsden on the Leeds & Liverpool Canal in West Yorkshire, it takes seven hours to reach Sir Titus Salt’s model town at Saltaire, now a World Heritage Site. Here, the Yorkshire industrialist Sir Titus Salt built a textile mill and village to house his workers by the River Aire. Today, the ‘1853 Gallery’ at Salts Mill is houses a permanent exhibition of over 300 works by the Bradford born artist David Hockney, including his ‘Arrival of Spring’ series.
Experience the ‘Enchantment of Chester Zoo’. From our base at Bunbury, Chester Zoo is an eight-hour journey, travelling 15 miles through the rolling Cheshire landscape and the centre of the historic city of Chester, and passing through 10 locks. Over the October Half Term holiday (21-31 October) ‘The Enchantment at Chester Zoo’ event encourages families to help break the sorcerer’s spell to send the zoo to sleep, seeking out moths, sloths, giraffes and orangutans to gather clues and save the Zoo!
To book a holiday or break on any of Anglo Welsh’s fleet, call our friendly Booking Team on 0117 304 1122.
Step back in time at the Black Country Living Museum at Dudley… from our Tardebigge base on the Worcester & Birmingham Canal near Bromsgrove, it’s an eight-hour, three-lock journey to moorings outside the 26-acre open-air Black Country Living Museum. Here visitors can step back in time and meet costumed characters explaining what it was like to live and work in one of the world’s most heavily industrialised landscapes, explore period shops and homes, have a drink in the ‘Bottle & Glass Inn’ and take a ride on a vintage tram or bus. ***For the Kids – enjoy a trip ‘into the thick’ experiencing life in an 1850s coal mine, have a ride on the fun fair, attend a Victorian school lesson and sample the Museum’s famous traditionally cooked Fish & Chips. Special Halloween-themed Half Term activities include critter-themed trails, tales, street games, crafts and a visit to the Quack Doctor who will be cashing in on the dirt and disease of the 19th century!
See the dinosaurs at the Oxford University Museum of Natural History… from our Oxford base, it’s a tranquil three-hour cruise along the River Thames to moorings at Hythe Bridge, perfect for a short break exploring Oxford, including the University’s Museum of Natural History. Housed in a stunning example of neo-Gothic architecture, this fascinating museum holds the University’s internationally significant collections of geological and zoological specimens, including the Oxfordshire dinosaurs, the Dodo and ‘swifts in the tower’. ***For the Kids – the Museum’s October half term activities ‘Through the Lens’ offers the chance to explore the Museum through the eyes of people and animals with exciting activities all about vision and photography. Drop-in sessions run from Mon 24 October to Weds 26 October, 1-4pm.
Drink the magic waters at Bath’s Roman Baths… from our base on the Kennet & Avon Canal in the historic town of Bradford on Avon in Wiltshire, boaters can reach Bath Top Lock in just six hours. From there, it’s a 15-minute walk to Bath City Centre and the fascinating Romans Baths. Constructed around 70 AD to take advantage of the site’s natural hot springs, this magnificent Roman bathing complex and temple built in honour of the goddess of Sulis Minerva, is now one of the best preserved Roman remains in the world. ***For the Kids – meet Roman costumed characters and listen to their ancient stories, see the fearsome Temple Gorgon’s head animation, take a sip of spa water in the Pump Room believed to have healing powers and play the interactive ‘Roman Rush’ tax collecting game. ‘The Big Draw: Ex Libris’ is the Museum’s special half term activity, offering families the chance to learn a bit of Latin and make a Roman bookmark, 24-28 October, 10am-1pm & 2pm-4pm.
Mess with mechanical art in Stratford upon Avon… from our base at Wootton Wawen on the narrow Stratford Canal in Henley in Arden, it’s a delightful six-hour, 17-lock cruise journey through the Warwickshire countryside to Bancroft Basin, in the centre of Stratford-upon-Avon, the birthplace of William Shakespeare. From here, the machine-infested MAD (Mechanical Art & Design) Museum, with over 100 pieces of Kinetic Art and Automata from artists around the World, is within easy reach. ***For the Kids – mechanical art is loud, fun and interactive and kids are encouraged to press buttons and be hands-on with the machines on display, subtly teaching them about design, physics and maths.
Visit rare British livestock breeds at the Shugborough Estate… just a few miles along the Trent & Mersey Canal from our base at Great Haywood, near Stafford, canal boat holiday-makers can stop-off at the stunning Shugborough Historic Estate. Once the home of Lord Patrick Lichfield, this Georgian Manor house with magnificent riverside grounds, is now the UK’s only Complete Working Historic Estate, with working kitchens, dairy, water mill, Brewhouse and Farm, all manned by historic costumed guides. Shugborough is also one of just 20 Rare Breeds Survival Trust Farms in the UK, home to breeds rarer than the Giant Panda, including Boreray sheep and Middle White Pigs. ***For the Kids – ride on the Land Train, visit the Play Park and interactive learning gallery at the Georgian Park Farm, take a woodland walk, watch costumed characters cheese-making, milling, brewing and baking, and see the reconstructed Victorian schoolroom and puppet collection.
Take a trip up ‘The Cathedral of the Canals’…from our base on the Shropshire Union Canal at Bunbury, the incredible Anderton Boat Lift is a nine-hour, 10-lock cruise away. Perched on the banks of the River Weaver Navigation like a giant three-storey high iron spider, the Anderton Boat Lift lifts boats 50ft from the River Weaver Navigation up to the Trent & Mersey Canal in two giant water tanks. No description can adequately convey the sheer scale of this masterpiece of Victorian engineering! ***For the Kids – interactive and cinematic visitor centre, watch the workings of the lift control centre and Edwin Clark boat trips.
Travel across ‘The Stream in the Sky’… just five minutes by boat from our canal boat hire base on the Llangollen Canal at Trevor, the incredible Pontcysyllte Aqueduct is truly one of the ‘Seven Wonders of the Waterways’. Its cast iron trough is supported on iron arched ribs and carried 38 metres high above the Dee Valley on 19 hollow pillars. In 2009 it was granted World Heritage status, putting it on an equal footing with the Great Barrier Reef and Taj Mahal. On a short break from Trevor, boaters can cross the aqueduct and continue east to reach the Ellesmere Lakes, teaming with wildlife and return back across the aqueduct to Llangollen to visit the town’s historic Steam Railway. ***For the Kids – Take the Halloween Train on 30 October at 6.30pm spooky story telling through the dark and creepy Dee Valley. Book in advance, adult tickets £16, children £10.
Cruise to the Canal Museum at Stoke Bruerne… from our Stockton base on the Grand Union Canal in Warwickshire, the pretty canalside village of Stoke Bruerne with its intriguing Canal Museum, is 13 hours and 17 locks away. Housed in an historic corn mill, the Canal Museum offers a treasure trove of canal curiosities, including fascinating films, canal craft collections, models of working boats and displays all about the history of our waterways, from the great engineers and the navvies who created them to the boat families, leggers and lock keepers who lived and worked on them. While in Stoke Bruerne, visitors can also enjoy waterside pubs, woodland walks, towpath history trails and a wildlife reserve in the former brickworks. ***For the Kids – dress in traditional canal costume, visit the re-creation of a boat builder’s workshop, explore historic working boat ‘Sculptor’, watch early footage of working boats and visit the waterside café.
To make a booking or to get friendly advice on canal holidays, 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?
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.
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