Magnificent Castles to Visit over the Coronation Weekend
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…
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Celebrate the King’s Coronation with a boat trip across the Pontcysyllte Aqueduct
Across all three May bank holiday weekends, including the King’s Coronation weekend (6-8 May), our ‘Little Star’ trip boat will be operating five trips a day, offering the chance to enjoy skippered cruises across the Pontcysyllte Aqueduct.
Also known as ‘The Stream in the Sky’, at 300 metres long and 39 metres high, the awesome Pontcysyllte Aqueduct is the longest and highest aqueduct in Britain.
Opening in 1805, it took over 500 men and 10 years to build, using wooden scaffolding and simple cranes.
In 2009 it was designated a UNESCO World Heritage site, putting it on a par with the pyramids in Egypt and the Taj Mahal in India.
Our ‘Little Star’ daily boat trips across the incredible Pontcysyllte Aqueduct offer the chance to cruise across this incredible structure and to experience amazing views across the Dee Valley, and make some fantastic family memories celebrating the King’s Coronation weekend.
Our knowledgeable team provides commentary on board about the Pontcysyllte Aqueduct and the Llangollen Canal, which is a great way to learn more about the fascinating history of the site as you cruise gently along.
Trips depart daily at 11am, 12 noon, 1.30pm, 2.30pm and 3.30pm from Canal Wharf, Trevor, Llangollen LL20 7TT.
‘Little Star’ (‘Seren Fach’ in Welsh) offers space for up to 48 passengers. Adult tickets are priced at £10 each, children (aged under 16) are priced at £6. Family tickets for two adults and two children are priced at £25 each. Refreshments are available to purchase on board, including hot and cold drinks.
Take to the water this Easter for a family adventure afloat
Britain’s beautiful 3,000-mile network of inland waterways offer the chance to 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.
Our self-drive narrowboat holidays provide a floating holiday home to enjoy an outdoor family adventure, exploring the countryside and stopping-off at waterside destinations along the way.
From medieval fortresses and battlefield skirmishes, to chocolate making and quizzes, we’ve put together our Top 6 Easter canal boat holiday family destinations:
Explore the World’s biggest Cadbury shop at Cadbury World – From our canal boat hire base on the Worcester & Birmingham Canal at Tardebigge, near Bromsgrove in Worcestershire, you can reach the home of the World’s biggest Cadbury shop. This Easter, canal boat holiday-makers can explore Cadbury World and the historic village of Bournville, enjoy chocolate making, as well as visit the Cadbury Café and the World’s biggest Cadbury shop. Cadbury World’s Easter Stage Show runs from 1st-16th April, where visitors can enjoy a brand-new pirate-themed adventure alongside Mr Cadbury’s Parrot.
Explore 480 acres of parkland 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 UNESCO World Heritage Status Pontcysyllte Aqueduct along the way. Once moored-up at Chirk, it’s a half-hour walk up to the National Trust’s Chirk Castle, one of several medieval marcher fortresses built on the Welsh-English border. Today it’s the only one of Edward I’s marcher fortresses still inhabited, with lavishly furnished rooms to explore, as well as the Adam Tower, complete with its two-level dungeons, medieval toilets and murder holes. The Castle has over 480 acres of parkland to explore, with trails, ancient trees, wildflowers, birds and bugs.
Enjoy thrilling rides at Drayton Manor Theme Park – from our canal boat hire base on the Trent & Mersey Canal at Great Haywood in Staffordshire, it’s a relaxing 11-hour cruise to Turret Bridge on the Birmingham & Fazeley Canal, which leads to the front door of Drayton Manor Theme Park & Zoo. Once there, boaters can moor up to enjoy a thrilling day with family favourites like The Carousel and Bounty Pirate Ship, to the adrenaline pumping Shockwave stand up roller coaster or the heart stopping 54m drop tower Apocalypse. There’s also a 15-acre Zoo to explore, home to dozens of animals from across the world and Thomas World with over 25 rides and attractions.
Visit the Tudor Power & Glory exhibition at the Royal Armouries Museum in Leeds – from our narrowboat rental 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. Once there, boaters can moor up to visit the waterside Royal Armouries Museum and from 7th-10th April, enjoy its action-packed Medieval Easter. Three teams will bring history to life with a spectacular jousting competition in a battle for honour and trophies.
Cruise to the Welsh Mountains along the Llangollen Canal – on a week’s break from our narrowboat rental base at Whixall on the Prees Branch of the Llangollen Canal, canal boat holiday-makers can cruise the Llangollen Canal to the pretty town of Llangollen and back, travelling a total of 50 miles in around 24 hours and passing through just four locks (two each way). Along the way, the canal takes boaters over two dramatic aqueducts, including the UNESCO World Heritage Status Pontcysyllte Aqueduct, with spectacular views across the Dee Valley. Once in Llangollen, boaters can moor up and enjoy exploring Llangollen, nestled on the edge of the Berwyn Mountains, including its regular markets, choice of independent shops and restaurants, steam railway and famous Horseshoe Falls
Join the annual Easter Boat Gathering at Ellesmere Port – over the Easter Weekend (7th -10th April), the National Waterways Museum at Ellesmere Port in Cheshire celebrates the official start of the summer boating season with a large boat gathering, live music, workshop tours, historic boats and museum activities. 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.
Ring routes offer varied journeys along different waterways and take in a wide range of landscapes and attractions. What’s more, they bring you back to your canal boat hire base without having to travel the same way twice!
Some circuits are a real challenge, with steep flights of locks and spooky tunnels to navigate, while others more suitable for narrowboat holiday beginners. All, though, offer a wonderful summer holiday adventure and the chance to explore the UK’s waterways from the comforts of your very own floating holiday home.
Here’s a list of our Top 8 Summer Circuits to explore afloat:
1. The Birmingham Mini-Ring – this popular ring can be completed on a four-night short break from our base at Tardebigge in Worcestershire. It takes in sections of the Worcester & Birmingham, Birmingham Main Line and Grand Union canals. The journey takes you past sights such as: the historic village of Bournville, home of Cadbury’s chocolate; Gas Street Basin in central Birmingham; and the flight of 13 locks at Farmers Bridge. To complete the Birmingham Mini-Ring from Tardebigge, you will travel 45 miles and pass through 49 locks, which takes around 27 hours.
2. The Warwickshire Ring – setting off from our canal boat hire base at Stockton in Warwickshire, this circuit can be completed in a week’s holiday. You’ll cruise through sections of the Grand Union, Oxford, Coventry and Birmingham & Fazeley canals. Highlights include: the flight of 11 locks into Atherstone; the lovely canal village of Braunston; the flight of 21 locks at Hatton; and wonderful Warwick Castle. To complete the Warwickshire Ring from Stockton, you will travel 104 miles and pass through 121 locks in around 56 hours.
3. The Avon Ring – canal boat holiday-makers can complete this epic circuit on a two week break from our narrowboat hire bases at Tardebigge or Wootton Wawen. Navigating sections of the Stratford Canal, River Avon, River Severn and Worcester & Birmingham Canal, you’ll encounter: Shakespeare’s Stratford; the River Avon with its incredible views; the charming historic town of Evesham; the Cotswold medieval town of Tewskesbury; the City of Worcester and its stunning cathedral; and the flight of 30 locks at Tardebigge. To complete the Avon Ring from either Tardebigge or Wootton Wawen, you will travel 109 miles and pass through 131 locks, which will take around 58 hours.
4. The Black Country Ring – setting off from our canal boat rental base at Great Haywood in Staffordshire or Tardebigge in Worcestershire, this circuit can be done in an active week’s holiday. Explore sections of the Birmingham & Fazeley, Birmingham Main Line, Coventry, Staffordshire & Worcestershire and Trent & Mersey canals. Sights along the way include: Birmingham’s Gas Street Basin; the 21 locks at Wolverhampton; and the beautiful waters at Tixall Wide. To complete the Black Country Ring from Tardebigge, you will travel 104 miles, passing through 79 locks, which will take around 53 hours. From Great Haywood it’s 75 miles, 79 locks and takes 43 hours.
5. The East Midlands Ring – on a two week break from our narrowboat rental base at Stockton , boaters can explore the East Midlands Ring, also known as the Leicester Ring. You’ll cruise along sections of the Birmingham & Fazeley, Coventry, Oxford, Trent & Mersey and Grand Union canals, as well as the rivers Soar and Trent. Highlights along this circuit include: Saddlington Tunnel; the Foxton Staircase; the canal village of Stoke Bruerne with its Canal Museum; Blisworth Tunnel; the 11 locks at Atherstone; the City of Coventry; and the historic village of Shardlow. To complete the East Midlands Ring from Stockton, you will travel 170 miles and pass through 107 locks in around 84 hours.
6. The Four Counties Ring – this popular circuit can be completed in a week when departing from our bases at Great Haywood in Staffordshire, Bunbury in Cheshire or Whixall in Shropshire. The route takes narrowboat holiday-makers through the counties of Staffordshire, the West Midlands, Cheshire and Shropshire, exploring a range of beautiful areas of Britain. Highlights along the way include: the infamous 2670-metre long Harecastle Tunnel; flight of 15 locks at Audlem; views of the rolling Cheshire Plains; and the Roman town of Middlewich. To complete the Four Counties Ring from Great Haywood, you’ll travel 110 miles and pass through 94 locks, which will take around 55 hours. From Bunbury, it will be 115 miles, 96 locks and 58 hours. From Whixall, it’s 137 miles, 132 locks and 86 hours.
7. The Stourport Ring – setting off from our canal boat hire base at Tardebigge in Worcestershire, this ring, which can be completed in a week, takes you along the Staffordshire & Worcestershire Canal, Worcester & Birmingham Canal Navigation, the River Severn, Birmingham Canal Main Line and Stourbridge canals. Highlights include: cruising through bustling central Birmingham; Kinver with its National Trust rock houses; the City of Worcester with its town centre and magnificent cathedral; beautiful views along the River Severn; and the flight of 30 locks at Tardebigge. To complete the Stourport Ring from Tardebigge, you will travel 84 miles and pass through 118 locks in around 52 hours.
8. The Cheshire Ring – cruising from our narrowboat hire base at Bunbury in Cheshire, this route, which runs through the heart of Manchester and the Peak District via the Ashton, Macclesfield, Peak Forest, Rochdale, Trent & Mersey and Bridgewater canals, can be completed in a week. Highlights along the way include: the incredible Anderton Boat Lift, one of the ‘Seven Wonders of the Waterways’; breath-taking views of the Peak District; and Manchester’s China Town. To complete the Cheshire Ring from Bunbury, you will travel 122 miles and pass through 102 locks, which will take about 86 cruising hours.
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).
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.
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.
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.
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).
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.
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.”
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.
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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