Top 8 places to celebrate Halloween on a canal boat holiday

Best destinations to celebrate Halloween on a barge holiday

Canal boat holidays offer the chance to enjoy a family staycation afloat this October Half Term, spending time together and visiting waterside destinations hosting spooky Halloween events.

Your floating holiday cottage will be equipped with the key comforts of home, including central heating and hot water, so it’s always nice and cosy on board.

All our boats also have fully equipped kitchens, so you can enjoy a self-catering holiday afloat.

To celebrate the October Half Term holiday, we’ve put together a guide to our top 8 narrowboat holiday destinations hosting Halloween events*:

1. Take The Sinister Side of Shakespeare Walking Tour’ in Stratford-upon-Avon

From our basw on the Stratford Canal at Wootton Wawen, it takes around six hours to reach moorings in the centre of Shakespeare’s Stratford.  You can book online to experience ‘The Sinister Side of Shakespeare’s Stratford Walking Tour’ where you’ll learn about the town’s infamous witches, and discover the real-life tragedies that inspired Shakespeare.  The journey to Stratford and back takes around 12 hours and passes through 24 locks (12 each way).

2. Explore the ‘Half Term Halloween Trail’ at Chirk Castle

From Trevor on the Llangollen Canal in North Wales, you can reach Chirk Bank in around one-and-a-half hours.  From there it takes around 30 minutes to walk up to the National Trust’s Chirk Castle, where you can take part in a ‘Half Term Halloween Trail’, 21-31 October 2023.  The event sends you on a quest to protect the castle from the evil spirits, elves and goblins that lurk around. The journey from Trevor to Chirk and back takes around three hours, and passes over the UNESCO World Heritage Pontcysyllte Aqueduct along the way.

3. Get spooked at a ‘Halloween Night’ at the Black Country Living Museum

On a short break from Tardebigge on the Worcester & Birmingham Canal you can reach the Black Country Living Museum.  On Saturday 23, Friday 29 and Saturday 30 October, the Museum will host special ‘Halloween Nights’, giving you the chance to trick-or-treat your way round spooky streets, spot fantastical characters and dress-up to go to the monster’s ball.  The journey from Tardebigge to the Black Country Living Museum and back takes 16 hours and passes through six locks (three each way).

4. Follow the Halloween Trail at Chester Zoo

On a short break from Bunbury on the Shropshire Union Canal, you can reach Chester, home of the award-winning Chester Zoo.  This October, Chester Zoo which is home to over 27,000 animals, will be hosting an interactive Halloween Trail across its 128 acres of zoological gardens.  The journey from Bunbury to Chester and back takes around 14 hours and passes through 18 locks (nine each way).

5. See ‘The Lost Boys’ at the Shugborough Estate outdoor cinema event

Our base on the Trent & Mersey Canal at Great Haywood is less than an hour’s cruise away from the National Trust’s Shugborough Estate.  At 7.30pm on Tuesday 31 October, the Estate is hosting an outdoor screening of the vampire classic ‘The Lost Boys’, starring Kiefer Sutherland.

6. Experience Warwick Castle’s ‘Haunted Castle’ event

On a short break from Stockton on the Grand Union Canal in Warwickshire, you can reach moorings close to Warwick Castle.  From 21 October to 5 November, the Castle’s ‘Haunted Castle’ event features a series of spooky experiences, including the Castle Dungeon and the Horrible Histories Maze.  The journey from Stockton takes seven hours and passes through 20 locks.

7. Go on a Spooky Tour at Oxford Castle

On a short break from our Oxford base on the River Thames at Eynsham you can reach overnight moorings in Oxford City Centre.  From there, it’s a short walk to Oxford Castle where from 16-31 October 2023 you can experience an evening Spooky guided tour of the 1,000 year-old haunted castle.  From our Oxford base, it takes three-and a-half-hours, passing through three locks to reach moorings in Oxford city centre.

8. Visit Mary Shelley’s House of Frankenstein in Bath ‘After Dark’

On a short break from Monkton Combe, you can reach moorings in Bath City Centre. There you can visit Mary Shelley’s House of Frankenstein to experience its ‘After Dark – nights to die for’ Halloween event, on from 20-31 October 2023. The experience offers the chance to venture through rooms cloaked in darkness and features live actors, games and special effects.  From our Monkton Combe base it takes four hours, passing through six locks, to reach moorings in Bath City Centre.

*NB Most of the events listed need to be booked in advance via the venue’s website

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Magnificent castles to visit over the Coronation Weekend

Best castles to visit on a canal boat holiday

The coronation weekend provides the perfect opportunity to visit and explore some rich history and whilst the royal residence of Windsor Castle is reachable in a 2-week cruise from our base in Oxford, England and Wales are home to more castles than just the few our new King will reside in; there’s more than 1500! They vary greatly from crumbling stone ruins to perfectly preserved buildings some of which are open to the public.

Castles were usually built overlooking and guarding key trade routes which frequently followed the path of rivers. Since many of the canals were later built along these same river valleys, they now pass many of the country’s most impressive castles – making these historic properties an ideal stop off.

From moated keeps and fairytale turrets to imposing defensive walls, every castle has its own unique story to tell, offering us a link with our often-turbulent past. So whatever style or state of repair, exploring a historic castle is a great day out for all ages.

Here are some of the magnificent castles you could visit during your coronation canal boat holiday with Anglo Welsh…


Experience Stunning Castle views on a break from Whixall or Bunbury

Sitting atop its rocky crag and boasting spectacular views across the Cheshire Plain, Beeston is one of the most dramatically sited medieval castles in England. On a clear day visitors can see all the way from the Pennines to the Welsh mountains. Built in 1220 by Ranulf de Blundeville, Earl of Chester, the castle shares the site with earlier Bronze Age and Iron Age defences which are incorporated into its structure. The castle was seized by Henry III in 1237 and remained in royal ownership until the 16th century. It came under siege during the Civil War in 1644-5 and was partially destroyed after being surrendered by the Royalists. Now run by English Heritage, the walk uphill from the canal is worth the effort for the views alone but the castle ruins are fascinating with a 360ft deep well and there is now a replica Bronze Age roundhouse on the site.


Travel back in time to a Tudor Manor House from Oxford

Dating from the turn of the 14th century, this moated fortified Tudor manor house was built by Sir John de Broughton. It passed into ownership of Lord Saye and Sele, in 1448 and has remained in the same family ever since. It is now home to the 21st Lord and Lady Saye and Sele who open the property to visitors on selected days throughout the year. Moor up during your narrowboat holiday to take a tour of the house and admire a family collection amassed over more than 550 years. Enjoy a stroll around the beautiful formal gardens before sitting down to a well-earned cuppa in the tea rooms. Broughton was awarded five stars by author and broadcaster Simon Jenkins in his book England’s Thousand Best Houses.


Cruise from Tardebigge to take in some History

Home to the Bishops of Worcester for more than 1000 years and now home to the Worcestershire County Museum, this castle is worth stepping ashore from your canal boat holiday cruise. The older 15th century castle was rebuilt in the 18th century and boasts the bishops Palace with impressive state rooms and antiques while the museum has a fine collection of costumes, carriages and toys. Visitors can also enjoy a walk around the extensive grounds with stunning views of the palace. Hartlebury Castle won the Visit England Hidden Gem award for the second year in a row in 2019 in recognition of its great visitor experience.


Visit Warwick Castle from Wootton Wawen or Stockton

One of the best-preserved medieval castles in the UK, Warwick Castle looms over the town and River Avon and offers a full day of entertainment during a narrowboat holiday. Originally built by William the Conqueror in 1068 to secure his dominance over England and protect supply routes, the castle has since been rebuilt and remodeled several times. Much of the remaining edifice dates from the 14th century when the castle was refortified by Thomas Beauchamp after the outbreak of the 100 Year’s War. Since being bought by Tussauds Group in 1978, the castle has undergone millions of pounds worth of restoration so visitors can explore the towers and ramparts, Great Hall and state rooms before delving into the gruesome dungeon and testing themselves in the Horrible Histories maze. There are also daily live shows including falconry, the Wars of the Roses live and the Dragon Slayer which should have the kids entranced.


Step into some Medieval History from Silsden

Over 900 years old, Skipton Castle is one of the most complete and best-preserved medieval castles in England and is open to visitors throughout the year. A wooden motte and bailey were constructed on the site in 1090 but quickly replaced by a more robust stone fortress to withstand the marauding Scots. In 1310 Edward II granted the castle to Robert Clifford and the history of the castle was inseparable from that of the Clifford family for the next three centuries and was the last Royalist bastion of the north during the Civil War, yielding only after a three-year siege in 1645. A short walk from the canal, visitors can explore every corner of this impressive castle, from the Banqueting Hall through to the kitchen, the bedchamber and privy. You can climb from the depths of the dungeon to the top story of the watch tower for great views over the Yorkshire countryside.


Explore Chirk Castle from Trevor

Built in 1310 during Edward I’s campaign to bring Wales under his control, Chirk Castle was designed to be a bold symbol of power. Built on a steep hill high above the meeting point of the rivers Dee and Ceiriog, the silhouette of the castle still looms over the surrounding countryside of Wales and England. In 1595 the fortress was bought by Sir Thomas Myddleton who made his fortune investing in the East India Company and transformed Chirk Castle into an elegant family home. Now run by the National Trust, visitors can admire the lavish furnishings reflecting four centuries of changing tastes and styles within the castle as well as the 5.5 acres of ornamental gardens and 480 acres of rolling parkland, making it a perfect family day out for your canal boat holiday.

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Staycation, Staycation, Staycation. Why canal boat holidays offer a leisurely alternative to stressful foreign travel

Why canal boat holidays are popular staycations

Anglo Welsh has long believed there is ‘no place like home’ when it comes to relaxing holidays, and the evidence is that growing numbers of UK holidaymakers are now choosing to spend their vacations on the home front rather than travel abroad – a case of Staycation, Staycation, Staycation!

There may be a fleeting sense of excitement in stocking up on sunscreen, boarding a plane and updating your Facebook status to reveal a glamorous location, but a more leisurely staycation has the potential to offer more lasting pleasures.

England and Wales are full of truly unique places to visit, from gorgeous countryside and historic castles to traditional pubs and funky theme parks – and if one of the prime reasons for foregoing overseas travel is to avoid summer crowds, a narrowboat holiday on a peaceful canal is the perfect antidote.

Here are a few more reasons why Anglo Welsh believe a staycation on the water is the smart choice this summer.

Stunning scenery. Whether it is the picturesque canals themselves or spectacular views like the one from the World Heritage Pontcysyllte Aqueduct next to Anglo Welsh’s base at Trevor in North Wales, nothing beats the sheer range of views you get from a narrowboat.

History and Culture. There’s no need to travel to far-flung destinations in order to see historic landmarks. The World Heritage City of Bath, Shakespeare’s Stratford, the dreaming spires of Oxford, Warwick Castle and medieval Chester are all conveniently located on Anglo Welsh canal rings and circuits.

Summer refreshments. The waterways of England and Wales are lined with welcoming pubs, from the traditional to the trendy. Pilsner, Pimms or pink lemonade; whatever your favourite tipple there’s nothing quite like a refreshing drink on a leafy canal-side terrace after a day cruising along one of the UK’s historic canal routes.

Family friendly. Rare is the young child who takes long queues, stifling temperatures and unfamiliar food in their stride. By contrast, most youngsters relish a narrowboat adventure practically on their doorstep. Freedom and frolics on the canals, green spaces galore, their favourite snacks served on deck, Alton Towers and Drayton Manor Park theme parks close to moorings – what’s not to like?!

Floating hotel rooms. Not only do Anglo Welsh’s 160 narrowboats boast all the mod cons, but you can also choose a different mooring every night – most of them free. And with eleven conveniently located bases across England and Wales there will almost certainly be a starting point close to your home.

Wonderful Wildlife. Water voles, kingfishers, otters – the UK’s canals are home to an amazing range of birds and animals, many of them protected species. And unlike more exotic locations, there are no sharks or crocodiles to worry about!

Value for money. As well as the best quality, Anglo Welsh provides the best value. Why pay for an expensive foreign holiday when you can enjoy a fabulous staycation for a fraction of the price? Our modern fleet offers an affordable range of holidays for all tastes, from two-berths for romantic weekends to twelve-berths for large families and longer holidays.

Summer 2017 Bargains. Every day we have a selection of 20 last minute offers available for you to hire one of our modern narrowboats – call our friendly 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