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Moor up at the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games

Narrowboat entering Birmingham city centre

The city of Birmingham has more canals than Venice, so it’s not surprising that eight of the 13 venues for the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games are on or very close to a canal.

Taking place from 28 July to 8 August, the Games will see around 4,500 athletes from 72 nations and territories compete in 19 different sports and eight Parasports. To celebrate the opportunity to visit the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games and their venues on a narrowboat holiday, we’ve published our Top 8 Games destinations afloat:

1. Travel the Birmingham Mini Ring from Tardebigge

From our Tardebigge base on the Worcestershire & Birmingham Canal near Bromsgrove, you can navigate the Birmingham Mini Ring. This circuit takes you into the heart of Birmingham, travelling sections of the Birmingham & Fazeley Canal, Birmingham Canal Old Main Line, Tame Valley Canal and Wyrley & Essington Canal. The route travels 45 miles, passes through 49 locks and takes around 27 cruising hours.  Games venues on or close by the route include: Birmingham Arena next to the Birmingham Canal Old Line (Gymnastics); Alexander Stadium next to the Tame Valley Canal at Perry Barr (Athletics); and Sandwell Aquatics Centre close to the Tame Valley Canal (Diving and Swimming).

2. Cruise to Cannock Chase Forest from Great Haywood

From our canal boat hire base at Great Haywood on the Trent & Mersey Canal near Stafford, Cannock Chase Forest is less than two hours away. The journey to over-moorings at Rugeley navigates five miles of the Trent & Mersey Canal and passes through two locks. Cannock Chase Forest will be used for the Mountain Biking event.

3. Travel to Coventry Stadium from Stockton

From our narrow boat hire base on the Grand Union Canal at Stockton, it takes 15 hours to reach Coventry Basin, travelling 36 miles and passing through seven locks. The route navigates up the North Oxford Canal and joins the Coventry Canal at Hawkesbury Junction. Coventry Stadium will be hosting the Judo, Rugby Sevens and Wrestling events.

4. Navigate to the Alexander Stadium from Tardebigge

It takes around 13 hours, travelling 28 miles and passing through eight locks to reach Perry Barr Top Lock from our Tardebigge base. The journey begins on the Worcester & Birmingham Canal, and transfers onto the Birmingham Canal Navigations at Worcester Bar.  Alexander Stadium will host the Athletics events.

5. Cruise to St. Nicholas Park in Warwick from Wootton Wawen

From our base at Wootton Wawen on the Stratford Canal, it takes around 12 hours, cruising 14 miles and passing through 38 locks to reach moorings at Saltisford in Warwick. Myton Fields, the other side of the river to St. Nicholas Park will be used for the Birmingham 2022 Cycling Road Race.

6. Travel round the Stourport Ring from Tardebigge

From our Tardebigge base, on a week’s break you can navigate the Stourport Ring. The journey passes through 118 locks and takes around 44 hours. It takes in sections of: the Staffordshire & Worcestershire Canal; Worcester & Birmingham Canal Navigation; the River Severn; Birmingham Canal Main Line; and Stourbridge canals.  It takes boaters close to Egbaston Stadium, where the Cricket T20 will take place, and the Birmingham Arena where the Gymnastics will take place.

7. Cruise to Victoria Park in Leamington Spa from Stockton

From our Stockton base on the Grand Union Canal it takes around seven hours, travelling seven miles and passing through 20 locks to reach Frost’s Wharf in Leamington. Victoria Park in Leamington Spa will host the Lawn Bowls and Para Lawn Bowls events.

8. Navigate the Warwickshire Ring from Stockton

From our Stockton base you can navigate the Warwickshire Ring. This popular circuit travels 104 miles, passes through 94 locks and takes around 53 hours. It can be done in a week, but it’s best to allow 10 days or two weeks so that you’ll have time to visit places along the way. The Warwickshire Ring travels sections of the Grand Union Canal (passing through Leamington Spa and Warwick), the Coventry Canal and Birmingham & Fazeley Canal.  Games venues on or close by the route include: Birmingham Arena (Gymnastics); Edgbaston Stadium (Cricket); Coventry Stadium and Arena (Judo, Rugby Sevens, Wrestling); St Nicholas Park in Warwick (Cycling Road Race); and Victoria Park in Leamington Spa (Lawn Bowls).

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Celebrate National Pet Month with a Canal Boat Holiday

To celebrate National Pet Month, here at Anglo Welsh we are waiving our second pet price of £25 – £35, on canal boat holidays booked to depart throughout April. To claim this offer, please quote ‘National Pet Month’ when booking!

Your first pet already goes free as part of all our holiday packages. Narrowboat holidays are especially great for dogs – with plenty of towpath walks and dog-friendly canalside pubs.

As well as dogs, we’ve accommodated many other kinds of pets aboard our floating holiday homes, including cats, guinea pigs, tortoises, lizards, caged birds and even goldfish.

To celebrate our April offer, we’ve listed our Top 7 short break staycations for dog owners this Spring:

Cruise along the Trent & Mersey Canal to Cannock Chase –  From our barge hire base at Great Haywood in Staffordshire, you can visit Cannock Chase Forest, with miles of walking trails and a special dog activity trail.  Once a Royal Forest, Cannock Chase is an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty with over 6,800 hectares of landscapes to explore.  The Wolseley Centre and Nature Reserve is next to the Trent & Mersey Canal at Wolseley Bridge and offers a great gateway to Cannock Chase.

Navigate the River Thames to Lechlade –  From our narrowboat hire base on the River Thames at our Oxford base, you can cruise west to the pretty market town of Lechlade on the edge of the Cotswolds.  Along the way, you’ll pass through miles of peaceful Oxfordshire countryside, with plenty of dog walking locations. In the village of Radcot, there’s a dog-friendly bar in the Ye Olde Swan Hotel, and at Lechlade there’s a choice of dog-friendly pubs, including the Swan Inn.

Float along the Kennet & Avon Canal to Caen Hill –  From our canal boat rental base at Monkton Combe near Bath, you can travel to Foxhanger Wharf, at the bottom of the Caen Hill flight of locks at Devizes.  Along the way, you’ll pass through miles of peaceful Wiltshire countryside, with a series of charming villages and dog-friendly country pubs to visit along the way.  These include: The Cross Guns at Avoncliff; The Barge Inn at Bradford on Avon; and The Barge Inn at Seend.  Once at Caen Hill, you can moor up and explore the flight of 29 locks, one of the Seven Wonders of the Waterways.

Cruise the Leeds & Liverpool Canal to Saltaire –  From our canal boat hire base at Silsden in West Yorkshire, you can reach Saltaire, near Bradford.  This World Heritage Site was founded on the banks of the Leeds & Liverpool Canal in 1851 by Sir Titus Salt, as a place for his woollen mill to operate and workers to live.  Today, Salts Mill has a number of galleries, including the David Hockney Gallery with portraits of the artist’s beloved Dachshunds, Stanley and Boogie.  The nearby Hirst Wood Nature Reserve is a great place to exercise your dog, with a dog friendly café nearby for refreshments.

Navigate the Llangollen Canal to Ellesmere –  From our narrowboat hire base at Trevor in North Wales, you can cruise to the stunning Shropshire Lake District.  Along the way, you’ll pass over the UNESCO World Heritage Pontcysyllte Aqueduct and a series of dog-friendly pubs, including The Bridge Inn at Chirk Bank.  When you reach Ellesmere, there are lots of walking trails to choose from, including waterside routes at The Mere.

Take the Stratford Canal to Packwood House –  From our canal boat rental base at Wootton Wawen in Warwickshire, you can cruise to the National Trust’s beautiful Packwood House.  Packwood’s magnificent gardens include herbaceous borders, a Kitchen Garden, Memorial Orchard, wildflower meadows and 350-year old Yew Garden.  Dogs are welcome at Packwood on public footpaths across the estate, on the café terrace and in the barnyard.

Cruise the Shropshire Union & Llangollen canals to Wrenbury –  From our base at Bunbury in Cheshire, you can reach the historic village of Wrenbury.  The South Cheshire Way passes through it, so there are lots of countryside walks to enjoy.  And there’s a choice of pubs to visit, including the dog-friendly canalside Dusty Miller.

Book your pet-friendly boating holiday by calling our Booking Team on 0117 304 1122. Please note: pets are not permitted on soft furnishings on board, so please bring along their own beds and blankets.

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The Bald Hiker’s Unforgettable Experience on the Llangollen Canal

Last October, Paul Steele AKA The Bald Hiker, took a press trip on the Llangollen Canal, setting off from our base at Trevor.

In his blog, Paul describes his holiday as “an experience you shall never forget and will forever change your perception of people who live and work on the canals”.

Paul travelled aboard our 65ft Bond Class narrowboat ‘Anna’, with his friend and fellow author, Paul Taylor.  As all of our hire boats are pet friendly, his two dogs, Malc and Pete, were able to join in on the fun, too.

They cruised from the Anglo Welsh base at Trevor and crossed over the UNESCO World Heritage Status Pontcysyllte Aqueduct.  Paul’s fantastic photos capture the breath-taking beauty of the aqueduct and surrounding scenery, and give an idea of the scale of this incredible feat of engineering, which dates back over 200 years.

They then travelled on to Chirk, navigating through Chirk Tunnel and over Chirk Aqueduct.  The next day, they went back to Trevor and then on to the delightful town of Llangollen.  At Llangollen, they moored up to explore the town, finding “plenty of places to find a bite to eat or get a drink or two.”

To read Paul’s full account of his canal boat holiday, and see all the beautiful images, go to https://www.baldhiker.com/2022/01/13/a-narrowboat-trip-on-the-llangollen-canal/

 

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Experience Christmas on the canals

Anglo Welsh’s reservations manager Emma Lovell offers a guide to the best winter cruising destinations this Christmas.

This winter, we are offering winter cruising* from eight of our narrowboat hire bases, giving you the chance to spend Christmas or New Year on the canals.

The canals are quieter during the winter months and people tend to make shorter journeys.  Winter canal boat hire is about enjoying being close to the water and visiting canalside pubs and attractions, rather than travelling lots of miles each day.

From a cosy narrowboat for two to a family canal boat for 12, all our boats have central heating, hot water, WiFi, TV and DVD players, so it’s always nice and warm on board.  Some of our boats also come with multi-fuel stoves for some extra special winter warmth, and there’s plenty of storage room on board, so you can bring lots of warm and wet weather clothing.

Some routes will be affected at times by the Canal & River Trust’s annual winter maintenance work, but we can provide information on any planned route closures at the time of booking.

Here’s our guide to our Top 8 narrowboat holidays for Christmas 2021:

1.    Float to through the Warwickshire countryside to Stratford upon Avon – from our narrowboat rental base on the Stratford Canal at Wootton Wawen in Warwickshire, it’s a six-hour cruise to Stratford upon Avon.  The journey takes you through the Warwickshire countryside, passing through 17 locks along the way. Once in Stratford, you can moor up in Bancroft Basin, just a short walk from this popular tourist town’s excellent choice of theatres, restaurants, markets and museums.

2.    Experience Christmas in the World Heritage City of Bath – on a short break from our canal boat hire base on the Kennet & Avon Canal at Monkton Combe, you can reach moorings in Bath City Centre in around four cruising hours.  The route takes you along a section of the Avon Valley and up the Bath flight of six locks.  From moorings close to Pulteney Bridge, you can enjoy exploring this beautiful City, including the Roman Baths and medieval Bath Abbey.

3.    Cruise through the Staffordshire countryside to Fradley – heading south from our base at Great Haywood on the Trent & Mersey Canal, you can reach Fradley Junction in around five hours.  The journey passes through five locks and 12 peaceful miles of Staffordshire countryside, including the Cannock Chase Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty.  Places to enjoy along the way include The Wolseley Centre run by the Staffordshire Wildlife Trust, the Wolseley Arms pub and the village of Handsacre with its ‘The Old Peculiar’ pub.  Once at Fradley, refreshments are available at the Canalside Café or The Swan Inn, and there are walking trails at the Fradley Pool Nature Reserve.

4.    Travel through the Shropshire Lake District to Ellesmere – from our base at Whixall on the Prees Branch of the Llangollen Canal in Shropshire, it takes around four hours to reach the historic town of Ellesmere.  Along the way, the route passes Lyneal Moss and Colemere Country Park.  Once at Ellesmere, there’s a choice of independent shops and restaurants, as well as formal gardens, woods and castle grounds to explore.

5.    Navigate into the centre of Birmingham – from our base at Tardebigge on the Worcester & Birmingham Canal near Bromsgrove, it takes around five hours to boat into the heart of Birmingham.  Boasting more canals than Venice and with preparations underway to host the 2022 Commonwealth Games, it’s a great time to visit Britain’s vibrant second city.  And there are no locks to pass through along the way, so this is also a good route for canal boat holiday beginners.

6.    Visit the ancient city of Chester afloat – from our base at Bunbury on the Shropshire Union Canal near Tarporley, it’s a seven-hour cruise through the Cheshire countryside to Chester.  Once there, you can visit the City’s famous 700-year old two-tired shopping galleries – the Rows.  And you can also take time to explore Chester’s Roman City Walls, Amphitheatre, riverside gardens and sparkling city centre Christmas lights.

7.    Cruise to the Eisteddfod town of Llangollen – from our base at Trevor on the Llangollen Canal in North Wales, it takes around two hours to cruise to Llangollen.  There you can moor up in Llangollen Basin and enjoy visiting this beautiful town nestled in the Berwyn Mountains.  Things to visit include the Llangollen Steam Railway, Plas Newydd house and gardens and the Horseshoe Falls.  There’s a great choice of independent shops and places to eat, including the popular Corn Mill with stunning river and mountain views.

8.    Enjoy Christmas in historic Bradford on Avon – on a short break from our narrow boat hire base on the Kennet & Avon Canal at Sydney Wharf, you can cruise to the historic market town of Bradford on Avon.  The journey takes around four hours and passes through just one lock.  Bradford on Avon, situated on the southern edge of the Cotswolds, has beautiful limestone buildings echoing those of nearby Bath.  It is packed with historic buildings, including the 14th century Tithe Barn and 15th century chapel of St Mary Tory, with amazing views across the town.  There’s a great choice of independent shops and places to eat to choose from.

*NB Winter maintenance work can affect some routes at certain times.  Customers are advised to check at the time of booking.

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Our Top 10 narrowboat holidays for 2022

Britain’s peaceful 3,000 mile network of inland waterways provides the perfect staycation destination for 2022.

Emma Lovell, reservations manager for Anglo Welsh, says:

“Pottering slowly through the countryside at just four miles per hour, watching out for wildlife, is a great way to relax.

“Narrow boat holidays offer a self-contained floating holiday home experience, and the chance for hirers to navigate their very own adventure afloat.  It’s free to moor up almost anywhere, so boaters can stop off at canalside pubs, villages and waterside destinations along the way.”

Here’s a guide to our Top 10 narrow boat holidays for 2022:

1.    Cruise to the World Heritage Site at Saltaire – from our narrowboat holiday base at Silsden on the Leeds & Liverpool Canal, you can reach Saltaire on a short break.  The journey to Sir Titus Salt’s famous Victorian industrial model town takes seven hours and passing through 11 locks.  Now a UNESCO World Heritage Site, Salt built the textile Mill and entire village for his mill workers, all in a beautiful Italianate style.  Places to visit at Saltaire include the magnificent Salt’s Mill, displaying many examples of the work of Bradford born artist David Hockney.

2.    Complete the Four Counties Ring – on a week’s break from our canal boat hire base at Bunbury on the Shropshire Union Canal in Cheshire, you can access the fabulous Four Counties Ring.  The journey takes you on a 58-hour waterway odyssey, passing through 96 locks.  The four counties travelled through are Staffordshire, the West Midlands, Cheshire and Shropshire.  Highlights include: the 2670-metre long Harecastle Tunnel on the Trent & Mersey Canal and views of the rolling Cheshire Plains on the Shropshire Union Canal.

3.    Step back in time at the Black Country Museum – on a short break from our Tardebigge base on the Worcester & Birmingham Canal you can reach the Black Country Museum.  It’s an eight-hour, three-lock journey to moorings outside the 26-acre open-air site.  Here you can meet costumed characters explaining what it was like to live and work in one of the world’s most heavily industrialised landscapes.  There are period shops and homes to explore, the ‘Bottle & Glass Inn’, a 1912 school lesson and traditionally cooked 1930’s-style fish and chips.  There are also vintage tram and bus rides and the chance to take a trip ‘into the thick’ to experience life in an 1850’s coal mine.

4.    Glide across ‘The Stream in the Sky’ – from our boat yard on the Llangollen Canal at Trevor in North Wales, you’ll soon encounter the incredible World Heritage Status Pontcysyllte Aqueduct.  One of the ‘Seven Wonders of the Waterways’, this incredible structure transports canal boats 38 metres high across the Dee Valley.  On a short break from Trevor, you can travel cross the Pontcysyllte Aqueduct and Chirk Aqueduct, and on to Ellesmere, in the heart of the Shropshire Lake District.  The journey to Ellesmere and back takes around 14 hours, passing through two locks each way.

5.    Take a Thames cruise to Henley – on a week’s break from our canal boat hire base close to Oxford, you can enjoy a Thames boating holiday to the historic town of Henley and back.  The journey to Henley passes through 19 locks and takes around 16 cruising hours.  Places to stop off at along the way include: the City of Oxford, packed with architectural treasures, including the magnificent Bodleian Library.  You can also visit Abingdon with its popular riverside pub, the Nag’s Head.  And Wallingford with its Castle Gardens dating back to Saxon times, and Agatha Christie Trail.  Henley is home to the River & Rowing Museum and a choice of riverside pubs.

6.    Navigate to the Eisteddfod town of Llangollen – on a week’s break from Anglo Welsh’s canal boat rental base at Whixall Marina, you can cruise through the Shropshire Lake District and the Welsh mountains to Llangollen and back.  The journey to Llangollen takes around 12 hours and passes through just two locks.  It includes an 11-mile section of the Llangollen Canal, running from Gledrid Bridge to the Horseshoe Falls in Llangollen.  Here stand the incredible Pontcysyllte and Chirk aqueducts and the section was declared a World Heritage site by UNESCO in 2009.  Once in Llangollen, you can moor up to enjoy exploring this beautiful Eisteddfod town, nestled in the Berwyn Mountains.

7.    Float through the Avon Valley and up the Caen Hill Flight – from our base at Monkton Combe on the Kennet & Avon Canal near Bath, it takes around 19 hours to reach Pewsey Wharf.  The route, which is perfect for a week away, takes you through 37 locks each way, including the 29 locks of the Caen Hill Flight at Devizes.  This journey also takes you across two dramatic Bath stone aqueducts at Dundas and Avoncliff. And through the historic market town of Bradford on Avon and the beautiful Vale of Pewsey, part of the West Berkshire Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty.

8.    Travel through the Warwickshire countryside to Fenny Compton – on a short break from our base at Stockton, boaters can cruise through the countryside to the pretty canalside village of Fenny Compton.  The journey begins on the Grand Union Canal, soon transferring onto the Oxford Canal at Napton-on-the-Hill.  Here, there’s a good choice of pubs, including the Kings Head and Napton Village Stores selling produce from the nearby buffalo farm, including Buffalo burgers, sausages, meatballs, steaks and ice cream.  From there, the route winds gently on through the countryside, with a series of locks to negotiate along the way.  The journey to Fenny Compton and back takes around 20 hours, passing through 24 locks (12 each way).

9.    Cruise into the Peak District – on a week’s break from our base at Great Haywood near Stafford, you can travel into the Peak District.  It takes around 20 hours to reach Froghall Basin, passing through 35 locks.  The route takes you along the Trent & Mersey Canal to Stoke on Trent, where it transfers onto the Caldon Canal.  Beautiful stretches of unspoilt countryside soon open up as you chug gently out of Stoke, with moorlands, woodlands and an abundance of wildlife to enjoy.

10. Navigate the Avon Ring – on a two-week break from our base at Wootton Wawen on the Stratford Canal, you can navigate the Avon Ring.  This epic journey covers 108 miles and passes through 130 locks.  You will navigate sections of the River Avon, River Severn, Worcestershire & Birmingham Canal and the Stratford Canal.  Highlights along the way include: Stratford upon Avon, the birthplace of Shakespeare; Tewkesbury and its 12th-century abbey; and the 30 locks at Tardebigge.

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Anglo Welsh Celebrates 55 years afloat

Anglo Welsh Celebrates 55 years afloat

Carl Cowlishaw, Operations Director for Anglo Welsh, reflects on 55 years of providing great value narrowboat holidays

This year we are delighted to be celebrating our 55th birthday.  In that time, we’ve grown from a fledgling canal boat hire company, operating just two boats from Market Harborough, to one of the largest operators on the network.  We now offer over 160 narrowboats for hire from 11 bases across England and Wales.

Since we began operating, Britain’s canals have undergone an incredible renaissance, with hundreds of miles of canals restored to navigation and over £1billion invested in the network.

Tom Rolt inspired a generation to fight to save the waterways

In the 1960’s, freight carrying on our waterways had been in major decline for decades.  It was Tom Rolt’s pioneering journey on narrowboat ‘Cressy’ in 1939 and his book ‘Narrow Boat’, that inspired a generation to fight to save Britain’s ailing inland waterways network, and sparked the beginning of the canal boat holiday era.

Canal boat holidays in the 1940’s and 50’s were usually on ex freight-carrying boats, altered to provide very basic accommodation with no shower, freshwater storage, heating or insulation.  Instead, it was just camp beds, pump toilets, camping stoves and blankets.

In 1968, Barbara Castle’s Transport Act officially recognised the nation’s canals as a leisure resource, paving the way for new life to be breathed into the network.  And by the 1970’s Anglo Welsh had established itself as a fully operating hire boat company.  Back then we were running a fleet of 48 narrowboats out of four locations – Market Harborough, Trevor, Wootton Wawen and Great Haywood.

Today, after decades of investment by successive governments, and the tireless efforts of thousands of canal restoration volunteers across the country, the canal network is in great shape.  There are now over 35,000 canal boats on the network, and around 350,000 people holiday on the canals each year.

All mod cons are provided on today’s holiday hire boats

As well as a thriving network to cruise along, the standard of accommodation on board today’s purpose-built holiday narrowboats has changed dramatically.  All the essential mod cons are provided on board our purpose-built holiday narrowboats.

From central heating and hot water to TV’s, WiFi, fully-equipped kitchens, showers and flushing toilets.  Here at Anglo Welsh, we offer a range of boats – from traditional value for money narrowboats, to the very best in luxury and space afloat, with extra shower rooms and toilets, more space per person and multi-fuel stoves.

Our holidays are more popular than ever

The coronavirus pandemic has led many people to explore their local area for the first time, and discover the beauty of their local waterway.  And with staycations increasing in popularity, our holidays have never been more popular.

We look forward to welcoming you on board

We are very much looking forward to welcoming canal boat holiday-makers back to our boats and the canals.  Customer service continues to be of paramount importance to us, so whether you’re a complete novice or an experienced canal boater, our knowledgeable staff are on hand to provide all the advice you need.  We can help you to choose the best boat, departure point and route for you, and your family or friends.

On behalf of the Anglo Welsh team, we’d like to thank all our customers for coming to us for their canal boat holiday experience over the last 55 years.  We look forward to continuing to provide great value canal boat holidays, and hopefully welcoming you on board again soon!

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An extraordinary narrowboat hire season

From the doldrums of lockdown to the busiest summer on record, Matt Lucas-Stern looks back on the 2020 narrowboat holiday season at Wootton Wawen.

“The coronavirus pandemic has bought dramatic changes to our lives, particularly for those of us involved in the world of travel and hospitality.

When the main 2020 boating season got underway at the beginning of March, even though we knew that Covid-19 was devastating communities elsewhere in China and parts of Europe, we still didn’t have any idea how much it was going to affect our lives.

Here at Wootton Wawen, we were focussing on getting all our boats in tip top shape ready for the main boating season, and making plans to hold an open day to show off our newly painted day boats. When Boris announced a national lockdown on that unforgettable evening on 23 March, everything changed and our boats were suddenly grounded until further notice.

At first we focused on enjoying watching the waterway burst into life as a particularly sunny and warm Spring progressed. As for many people, the peace and quiet of lockdown gave us the chance for reflection, family time and to connect to nature.

But as the weeks went by, we worried more and more about what the future would hold for our industry and when our holidays would be able to resume.

Then on the 20th of June, we received the fantastic news that domestic holidays could resume on the 4th of July. We needed to get our team back from furlough and put in all the necessary measures to ensure our holidays were safe.

We put in new social distancing measures at our boat yards, introduced extra cleaning regimes and we made a video showing people all the facilities on board our boats and how to operate them, to give holiday-makers extra information in advance of their boat handover.

It was a busy and exciting time, both for everyone working at the boat yards, and for our bookings team who were inundated with calls and emails from people wanting to book their canal boat holiday. Many of them were newcomers who had often thought about taking a canal boat holiday, but never quite got around to it before. They realised how perfect our staycation holidays are – offering the chance to escape into the countryside aboard a self-contained, self-catering floating holiday home!

The next two months were full on. For the first time ever, literally all our boats were booked out for the six week summer holiday peak. The first few weeks of July were a bit strange as everyone got used to the news ways of working and just being around people again. But we soon got everything working like clockwork and before long, it became the new normal.

With canal boat holidays, people usually turn up to the boat yard a bit stressed and anxious to get their holiday underway. But by the time they return, the slow time of the canals makes people much calmer and more relaxed.

It was great to see the smiling faces of families returning from their holidays, with kids telling us about some of their experiences. We had a 13-year-old lad who was really keen on narrowboating and ended up working all 113 locks by himself on his family holiday to Stratford on Avon and Warwick. He proudly told the staff about his achievements when they got back at Wootton, and has decided he is definitely coming again next year! He’s even bought his own windlass.

Another really enthusiastic group of newcomers to the world of narrowboating made friends with our boat yard team, and even took a hand painted dipper from my boatman’s cabin to hang over their fireplace to remind them of their boating adventures!

Going into the autumn, particularly in September and over the October Half Term, we were still extremely busy with most of our boats booked out by people taking advantage of the mild weather, and the chance to see the changing colours of the autumn leaves on the trees that line our waterways.
Now it’s November, and sadly another lockdown has just been announced. Here at Wootton Wawen we stay open all year round for winter cruising, so we hope our boats can get back out again in December.

In the meantime, here at Anglo Welsh we are all extremely grateful to the vast majority of our customers who have been prepared to postpone their holidays with us, rather than cancel. We are glad that our holidays were able to resume and have been more popular than ever, helping to support other businesses like canalside pubs and village shops.

As we continue to live with the coronavirus and the changes it has made to our lives, the future remains uncertain. But spending time by the water always somehow makes things feel better, watching nature peacefully continue to change with the seasons.”

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Hire a canal boat for the day and explore the countryside afloat

This summer, great days out are going to be more important than ever after months of lockdown restrictions.

If you are looking for ways to entertain your family locally this summer, how about hiring a canal boat for the day? It’s easy to learn how to steer a narrowboat and full tuition is included in our day boat hire packages.

All the family will enjoy cruising gently through the countryside, watching out for wildlife along the way, learning how to steer the boat and navigate the canals, as well as stopping off for towpath walks and waterside picnics along the way.

Here at Anglo Welsh, we offer day boat hire at six of our canal boat hire bases, including Trevor on the Llangollen Canal, which, subject to guidance from the Welsh government, will reopen on 13 July*.

Day boat hire is now open at all our English bases and all our day boats are equipped with cutlery, crockery, a kettle, fridge, cooker and a toilet so you can pack a picnic and head out for the day with everything you need. Prices start at £99 per day for up to 10 people.

Here’s a guide to our day boat hire option available this summer:

Cheshire: our day boat ‘Bella’ operates from our boat hire base at Bunbury Wharf on the Shropshire Union Canal near Tarporley. From there, you can cruise south for six sedate miles, and travel across the impressive Grade II* listed Nantwich Aqueduct with panoramic views across the town. Dating back to 1826, Nantwich Aqueduct, which carries the canal over the A534 Chester Road, was designed by the famous canal engineer Thomas Telford. With no locks along the way, the journey to Nantwich takes around two hours. Prices for up to ten people are £99 on a weekday, £140 on weekends and bank holidays.

Shropshire: our day boat ‘Julia’ is available to hire from our canal boat hire base at Whixall on the Prees Branch of the Llangollen Canal in Shropshire. From Whixall, you can either head east to Whitchurch, or west to Ellesmere. The lock-free journey to the historic market town of Whitchurch takes just over two hours, and travels through six peaceful miles of countryside, passing the remains of the medieval motte and bailey Pan Castle. Alternatively, the journey to Ellesmere takes around three hours, cruising through eight miles of stunning countryside, passing Bettisfield Windmill, Lyneal Moss and Colemere Country Park along the way. Day boat hire prices are £99 for up to 10 people on a weekday, £140 on weekends and bank holidays.

Staffordshire: our day boats ‘Daphne’ and ‘Abi’ are available to hire from our narrowboat hire base at Great Haywood on the Trent & Mersey Canal near Stafford. From there, you can either travel south to the historic market town of Rugeley, or north to the village of Sandon. The journey to Rugeley travels four miles, passes through two locks and takes around two hours. Along the way, you’ll pass the National Trust’s impressive Shugborough Estate, the Cannock Chase Forest Area of Outstanding Beauty the Staffordshire Wildlife Trust’s Wolseley Centre. Alternatively, the journey north to Sandon takes you through five miles of peaceful Staffordshire countryside, passing through just three locks along the way. Prices are £99 for up to 10 people on a weekday, £140 on weekends and bank holidays.

Warwickshire: our day boats ‘Dolly’ and ‘Charlie’ operate out of our narrowboat rental base at Wootton Wawen near Henley-in-Arden in Warwickshire. From there, you can either head south along the Stratford Canal to the historic village of Wilmcote, or north to Lowsonford. The two-hour journey to Wilmcote crosses the impressive Edstone Aqueduct and passes through just one lock. Alternatively, the journey to the village of Lowsonford takes three hours, travelling eight miles and passing through eight locks along the way. The route passes through fields and wooded sections, the remains of the Forest of Arden. Prices are £99 for up to 10 people on a weekday, £140 on weekends and bank holidays.

Wrexham (from 13 July): our day boats ‘Jacob’, ‘Daniel’ and ‘Lotty’ operate out of our canal boat hire centre at Trevor on the Llangollen Canal in North Wales. On a day afloat, we recommend you cruise across the incredible Pontcysyllte Aqueduct, which stands at over 38 metres high and offers boaters incredible views across the Dee Valley below. After travelling across the Aqueduct, you can continue on to Gledrid. This gentle five-mile journey with no locks, also takes canal boaters across Chirk Aqueduct and through Whitehouse and Chirk tunnels. Alternatively, you can head to Llangollen, reaching the town in around two hours. Prices are £120 on a weekday, £160 on weekends and bank holidays.

Worcestershire: our day boat ‘Emma’ is available to hire from our canal boat hire base at Tardebigge on the Worcester & Birmingham Canal near Bromsgrove. On a day out, you can cruise north along the Worcester & Birmingham Canal to Kings Norton Junction in around two-and-a-half hours. The eight-mile, zero-lock journey passes through fields, wooded sections and two canal tunnels, including Wast Hills, which at 2,493 metres long is one of the longest in the country. Day boat hire from Tardebigge costs £99 on a weekday and £140 on weekends and bank holidays.

There’s more information about our day hire here https://www.anglowelsh.co.uk/Our-Boats/dayboats

*At the time of publication, government guidance to control the spread of the coronavirus in England allows two households to cruise together, plus their ‘support bubble’. And in Wales two households will be able to join together to form an “extended household” and would be able to cruise together. For more information about visiting the canals safely at this time, go to https://canalrivertrust.org.uk/enjoy-the-waterways/safety-on-our-waterways/coronavirus

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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?

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.

Anglo Welsh. So much more than narrowboats

...but don't just take our word for it

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