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Anglo Welsh’s Top 7 canal boat holidays for beginners

Every year more and more people are discovering the delights of holidaying on Britain’s beautiful inland waterways network.

You don’t have to be an expert and you don’t need a licence to steer a canal boat. It’s easy for first-timers to learn to operate our boats and as part of our holiday package, we provide hirers with expert boat steering tuition.

With our nationally accredited handover, we’ll make sure you’re comfortable and in control before you set off. There is a manual on board every boat if you need to check on anything and our engineering teams are always on hand – 24 hours a day- to help over the phone or come out to you if you need them.

So if you’ve thought about taking a canal boat holiday, but you’re not sure where to begin, here’s our top seven short break narrowboat holidays for newcomers to get you started:

  1. Head to Birmingham lock-free – with no locks between our base at Tardebigge and Birmingham City Centre, this five-hour cruise is perfect for first-time canal boat holiday-makers. The first half of the journey passes through fields, woodlands and sleepy villages before the route becomes more urbanised. Once in the centre of Birmingham, narrowboat holiday-makers can find over-night moorings at Gas Street Basin, with easy access to Brindley Place, the Mailbox and Bullring shopping centres, theatres, museums and restaurants.
  2. Learn the ropes on the Llangollen – passing through stunning North Wales landscapes, the Llangollen Canal is one of the most popular on the network. With just two locks along the way, the seven-hour journey from our base at Trevor to Ellesmere and back offers a fantastic short break holiday for beginners. And the route includes the experience of travelling across the incredible World Heritage status Pontcysyllte Aqueduct, with jaw-dropping panoramic views of the Dee Valley below.
  3. Dip your toe in the water at Bath – from our base at Bradford on Avon on the Kennet & Avon Canal in Wiltshire, Bath Top Lock is a lovely six-hour, one-lock cruise away. Skirting the southern foothills of the Cotswolds, the route passes over two stunning Bath stone aqueducts and past a series of popular canalside pubs, including the George at Bathampton. From Bath Top Lock, canal boat holiday makers can walk into the centre of Bath in just 15 minutes to enjoy all that the World Heritage Status City of Bath has to offer, such as the Roman Baths, Royal Crescent, Bath Abbey and an excellent range of independent shops and restaurants.
  4. Take to the tiller along the Thames – from our base on the River Thames at Eynsham near Witney, it takes just 3½ hours, passing through four locks to reach City centre moorings in Oxford. All the locks are manned along the Thames so there’s help on hand for newcomers. Once in Oxford, boaters can use their vessel as a base to explore all that this fascinating city has to offer, including the University of Oxford’s Bodleian Library, the Carfax Tower and pubs like the Lamb & Flag, steeped in literary and film history.
  5. Steer gently along to Stone – from our base at Great Haywood it takes just five hours of gentle cruising along the Trent & Mersey Canal to reach the historic Shropshire market town of Stone. There are just four locks to pass through and plenty of pubs to take refreshment at along the way, including the ‘Woolpack’ and ‘Saracen’s Head’ at Weston, the ‘Holly Bush Inn’ at Salt, the ‘Dog & Doublet’ at Sandon and the ‘Greyhound’ at Burston.
  6. Chug up the Shroppie to historic Chester – it’s a seven-hour, nine-lock journey to Chester from our Bunbury base on the Shropshire Union Canal. The route passes through glorious English countryside and villages with historic local pubs, including the ‘Ring O’Bells’ at Christleton and the ‘Shady Oak’ at Bates Mill Bridge. Once in Chester, canal boat holiday-makers can explore this wonderfully cosmopolitan ancient City, including its Roman Amphitheatre, city walls, Chester’s Rows shops, 1,000-year old cathedral, racecourse and zoo.
  7. Test the waters on the Leeds & Liverpool – from our Silsden base on the Leeds & Liverpool Canal in West Yorkshire, it’s a great short break route for beginners to travel west to Gargrave and back. Travelling 12 miles through just three locks, the journey takes around 6½ hours and passes through the historic town of Skipton, with its fascinating medieval castle, one of the most complete and best preserved in England.

 

To make a booking or to get friendly advice on canal holidays, please call our Booking Office on 0117 304 1122.

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Anglo Welsh’s Top 8 October Half Term Breaks

  1. 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!
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.
  6. 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.
  7. 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.
  8. 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.

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Anglo Welsh’s Top 10 Waterside Pubs

There are hundreds of lovely waterside pubs across the canal and river network for narrowboat holiday-makers to enjoy.

Here’s our pick of the pubs for 2017:

1. Survey gorgeous valley views from the Cross Guns – one of Wiltshire’s best known pubs, the Cross Guns at Avoncliff is less than an hour’s cruise along the Kennet & Avon Canal from our base at Bradford on Avon. Dating back to the 17th century, this historic inn has idyllic riverside pub gardens offering panoramic views of the foothills of the Cotswolds and John Rennie’s impressive Avoncliffe Aqueduct. One of the oldest buildings in Avoncliffe, with a large central inglenook fireplace of the same style as those found at Hampton Court, this family and dog-friendly pub is famous for its real ales and whiskies and home-cooked food.


2. Follow in Morse’s footsteps at The Trout Inn – 
nestled on the banks of the Thames and steeped in history, this 17th century inn at Wolvercote can be reached in three hours from our Oxford base. As well as being a regular watering-hole Collin Dexter’s Inspector Morse, the Trout has inspired Lewis Carroll and provided a meeting place for King Henry II. With seasonal dishes, a great selection of wines, ales and lagers, roaring log fires and comfy armchairs, plus a large waterside terrace for al fresco dining, the Trout is a great place to stop-off at whatever the weather.


3. 
Get your breath back at The Poacher’s –  Marston’s Poacher’s pub at Chirk is the other end of the Pontcysyllte Aqueduct from our base at Trevor, so it’s a great place to stop and get your breath back after enjoying the views from the Aqueduct. As well as great food including rotisserie chicken, this popular canalside pub serves a good selection of cask ales, wines and spirits and during the summer months hosts a Garden Grill.


4. 
Pick-up a pie at the Fleur de Lys – specialising in pies, this 17th century country pub in the village of Lowsonford is a three and a half hour cruise along the Stratford Canal from our base at Wootton Wawen. With low ceilings, oak beams, open fires, real ales and traditional pub games, the Fleur de Lys has a cosy and relaxed atmosphere and a large canalside pub garden for summer-time dining. Pies can ordered for take-away too.


5. 
Tuck into a traditional Sunday roast at the Wolseley Arms – Once a regular changing place for horses pulling coaches, the historic Wolseley Arms at Wolseley Bridge near Stafford is a short cruise from our base at Great Haywood on the Staffs & Worcester Canal. This farmhouse-style country pub oozes rural charm and offers hearty, seasonal pub food and cask ales. Part of the Vintage Inn chain, it has a pretty beer garden, log fires and serves traditional roasts on Sundays.


6. 
Try the Rotisserie chicken at the Hopwood House –  this large historic canalside pub serving traditional pub food is a two-hour cruise along the Worcester & Birmingham Canal from our Tardebigge base. Well known for its Rotisserie chicken, freshly roasted every day in their own rotisserie ovens, this pub also offers an excellent ‘Little Chicks’ children’s menu, with a variety of main dishes and sides to mix and match and keep the little people happy.


7. 
Sample local ales at The Olde Barbridge Inn – this historic pub is an hour’s cruise from our base at Bunbury on the Shropshire Union Canal, near the historic village of Tarporley. The Olde Barbridge Inn sells a selection of beers brewed at its own brewery, based close by at Nantwich and serves classic British dishes with a contemporary twist and sources the majority of its produce locally.


8. 
Enjoy award-winning food at the Talbot Inn –  this pub at Eynsham is popular with narrowboat holiday-makers setting off from our Oxford base on the River Thames near Witney. This charming historic pub boasts an award-winning restaurant, plus a traditional pub menu and serves a variety of ales straight from the cask. It has a decked area outside for warmer days where guests can enjoy views of both the river and beautiful Wytham Woods. The Talbot is a three minute walk from Eynsham lock and just a 25-minute cruise from our Oxford base.


9. 
Choose from a variety of local beers at the Buck & Bell – this lovely country pub on the village green at Long Itchington is a short walk from the Grand Union Canal and can be reached in two hours from our Stockton base. Dating back to the 17th century it serves excellent locally sourced food and offers a variety of menus with daily specials. It also serves real ales and beers from local breweries.

10. Find a warm Yorkshire welcome at the Robin Hood – this recently refurbished traditional Yorkshire pub, with real fires and stone flooring, offers draught lagers, cask ales (including Real Ales from local micro-breweries), home-cooked locally sourced bar meals on its specials board, as well as pizzas and burgers. The Robin Hood can be found close to the Leeds & Liverpool Canal at Kirkgate, not far from our canal boat hire base at Silsden.

 

To make a booking or to get friendly advice on canal holidays, please call our Booking Office on 0117 304 1122.

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Top 6 Christmas Destinations

Anglo Welsh offers winter cruising* from six bases, giving narrowboat holidaymakers the chance to celebrate Christmas or New Year afloat, joining in the festive celebrations at exciting waterside towns and cities and stopping off at rural pubs with roaring log fires.

From a cosy boat for two to a party boat for 10, we’ve got a range of boats to choose from.  Christmas prices start at £470 for a short break (three or four nights), weekly hire from £670.

All our boats have central heating, hot water, WiFi, TV and DVD players and some also have multi-fuel stoves, so it’s always warm and cosy on board.

Here are our Top 6 festive destinations for 2016/17:

1.  Wonder at the Animal Lanterns at Chester Zoo –  from our Bunbury base on the Shropshire Union Canal in Cheshire, it’s a seven-hour, nine-lock journey to the historic walled city of Chester.  With 3D Christmas Lights, Christmas parades, a sparkly Christmas Market with dozens of gift and festive-fare filled chalets, carol concerts at Chester Cathedral and the magical ‘Lanterns at Chester Zoo’ event, Chester is a great place to celebrate Christmas.


2.  Visit the award-winning Christmas market in Bath – 
from our base in the historic town of Bradford on Avon on the edge of the Cotswolds, it’s a delightful six-hour cruise along the beautiful Kennet & Avon Canal to moorings close to the centre of World Heritage city Bath.  With an award-winning Christmas market, carol services at Bath Abbey, stunning Georgian architecture, world class museums and top restaurants, Bath is a fantastic place to get Christmassy!


3. 
Watch a panto in Birmingham –  With its famous German Christmas Market, ice rink and big wheel, excellent shopping, Birmingham Museum & Art Gallery, National Sea Life Centre, incredible new library and Christmas shows, including ‘Treasure Island’ at the Birmingham Rep and ‘Dick Whittington’ at the Hippodrome, Birmingham is a great place to visit at Christmas time.  City centre moorings at Gas Street Basin, close to Brindleyplace, can be reached in just five hours from our narrowboat hire base at Tardebigge on the Worcester & Birmingham Canal.


4. 
 Enjoy the Christmas Festival at Stratford upon Avon – from our base at Wootton Wawen near Warwick, it’s a picturesque six-hour cruise through the Warwickshire countryside to Shakespeare’s Stratford.  Once there, boaters can moor up in the town’s canal basin to enjoy the marvellous Christmas lights, Christmas markets, Christmas grotto with the Real Father Christmas (from 24 Nov), intriguing Ebenezer Scrooge Grotto (from 28 Dec), carol singers, traditional pubs, ghost walks, museums, shops, Swan Theatre and cosy restaurants.


5. 
 Experience a ‘Santa Special’ at the Llangollen Railway – our canal boat hire base at Trevor on the beautiful Llangollen Canal in North Wales is just minutes away from the incredible 40m high and 30m long Pontcysyllte Aqueduct.  As a World Heritage designation, this incredible feat of Industrial Revolution engineering has been put on a par with the Taj Mahal, Great Wall of China and the Pyramids.  On a short break from our narrowboat holiday base at Trevor, boaters can reach the pretty town of Llangollen, nestled in the hills, to enjoy Christmas celebrations at the Llangollen Railway, which is running ‘Santa Specials’ on 3, 4, 10, 11, 17, 18, 22, 23 and 24 December.


6. 
 See an Outdoor Christmas Nativity in Market Drayton –  from our Great Haywood base at the junction of the Staffordshire & Worcestershire and Trent & Mersey canals in Staffordshire, on a week’s cruise, canal boat holidaymakers can travel to Market Drayton in North Shropshire.  Said to be home of the Gingerbread man, this historic market town offers visitors lively street markets, beautiful architecture and the ‘Buttercross to Bethlehem’ outdoor nativity acted by people and animals, to be held in the Buttercross stone portico in Cheshire Street, 18 December at 4.30pm.

 

To make a booking or to get friendly advice on canal holidays, please call our Booking Office on 0117 304 1122.

 

*Winter cruising routes can be affected by stoppages and closures as a result of winter maintenance work. 

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Anglo Welsh’s Top 10 Canal Boat Holidays For 2017

1. Explore the labyrinth of limestone caverns 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 fascinating 26-acre open-air Black Country Living Museum, often used as a backdrop for the BBC’s award-winning ‘Peaky Blinders’ series.  From there, walk across to Dudley Canal Tunnel and board a trip boat to explore the spectacular limestone tunnels under Castle Hill, including the ‘Singing Cavern’ where seven enormous limestone pillars support its roof.


2. Pitt Stop at the Pitt Rivers Museum 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 fascinating Pitt Rivers Museum.  Here display cabinets are crammed with objects that make people different, including shrunken heads from the Amazon, Hawaiian feather cloaks and the curious ‘Witch in a Bottle’.  Lieutenant-General Pitt Rivers made an original gift of 18,000 objects in 1884, some collected on Captain Cook’s voyage in the 1770s.  Later travellers have added a further 300,000 objects.


3. 
Reach the Royal Crescent at Georgian Bath … from our base on the Kennet & Avon Canal at the historic town of Bradford on Avon in Wiltshire, boaters can reach Bath Top Lock in just six hours, travelling through one lock and over two beautiful Bath stone aqueducts.  From there, it’s a 25-minute walk through Bath city centre to the stunning Royal Crescent, one of the greatest examples of Georgian architecture in the UK and one of Bath’s most iconic landmarks.  Built between 1767 and 1775 and designed by John Wood the Younger, this impressive landmark forms a sweeping crescent of 30 Grade I Listed terrace houses, with a Museum of Georgian Life at No. 1.


4. 
See fantastic machines in Shakespeare’s Stratford … 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.  Here, a choice of waterside eateries, the Swan Theatre, shops and the machine-infested MAD (Mechanical Art & Design) Museum, with over 100 pieces of Kinetic Art and Automata from artists around the World, are all within easy reach.


5. 
Travel the scenic Four Counties Ring … From our base at Great Haywood, at the junction of the Trent & Mersey and Staffs & Worcs canals, on a week’s break narrowboat holiday-makers can cruise the popular Four Counties Ring.  Travelling 109 miles and tackling 94 locks, this scenic journey through the counties of Cheshire, Staffordshire, Shropshire and the West Midlands takes around 55 hours.  Highlights include: Lord Lichfield’s Shugborough Hall; the Wedgewood Museum at Etruria; the 6,675-metre long Harecastle Tunnel at Kidsgrove; historic Market Drayton home of the Gingerbread Man; and the beautiful ‘Tixall Wide’ lake, bursting with wildlife.


6. 
Remember what the Romans did for us in Chester … From our base on the Shropshire Union Canal at Bunbury, the Roman City of Chester is a delightful seven-hour, nine-lock cruise away, travelling through the rolling Cheshire landscape.  Once there, canal boat holidaymakers can explore the city’s Roman heritage, including its Roman roads ‘Via Praetoria’ and ‘Via Principalis’ (now Bridge Street and Eastgate), the Roman Museum, Roman Solider Tours, Roman Gardens and Amphitheatre.


7. 
Glide 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 then continue east to reach the Ellesmere Lakes, also known as the Shropshire Lake District.


8. 
Potter along to Stoke Bruerne canal village … from our Stockton base on the Grand Union Canal in Warwickshire, the “chocolate box” pretty canalside village of Stoke Bruerne is 13 hours and 17 locks away.  Home to a Wildlife Trust nature reserve, a variety of historic pubs and eateries (including the canalside Navigation and Boat Inn), an intriguing Canal Museum housing a treasure trove of canal curiosities, the southern end of the spooky 2,813-metre long Blisworth Tunnel, and a fascinating walking trail, this idyllic village is a really lovely place to visit.


9. 
Saunter to Saltaire & The Bingley Five Rise … from our base at Silsden on the Leeds & Liverpool Canal, on a short break boaters can travel to Saltaire near Bradford, said to offer the finest example of Italianate architecture in England and now a World Heritage Site.  Sir Titus Salt built the textile Mill and entire village for the mill workers on the River Aire, with the new mill opening in 1853.  Today, Salt’s Mill is home to examples of the work of Bradford born artist David Hockney, as well as an eclectic collection of books, furniture, jewellery, clothing and food for sale.  From Saltaire, it’s a short walk or cruise on to the magnificent Bingley Five Rise lock staircase, the steepest flight of locks in the UK raising the canal up (or down) 60ft.

10. Cruise the epic Stourport Ring … from our base at Tardebigge on the Worcester & Birmingham Canal near Bromsgrove, the 74-mile, 118-lock Stourport Ring can be undertaken in a busy week, or a more leisurely 10-day or two-week holiday.  Visiting three cities (Wolverhampton, Birmingham and Worcester) and travelling sections of six different waterways (Staffs & Worcs Canal, Worcs & Birmingham Canal, Birmingham & Fazeley Canal, Birmingham Canal Main Line, Birmingham Canal Old Main Line and the River Severn), it offers a huge variety of both urban and rural scenes to enjoy along the way.

 

To make a booking or to get friendly advice on canal holidays, please call our Booking Office on 0117 304 1122.

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High-end boats at low-end prices: save 20% on Constellation & Bond Class holidays this summer

British summertime is often a rollercoaster of highs and lows and this year is proving no different. School holidays (hooray!), seaside showers (boo!), Andy Murray (hooray!), England’s football team (boo!), family picnics (hooray!), motorway traffic jams (boo!).

But one traffic-free tradition you can always rely on is the chance to cruise in style for less on Britain’s waterways courtesy of Anglo Welsh, Britain’s most trusted canal and narrowboat experts for 40 years. We pride ourselves on always offering our customers the summer’s most attractive narrowboat offers, and this year is no exception.

Our exclusive summer 2016 promotion offers 20% off all Constellation and Bond class bookings for holidays and cruises taken before September 4th. The only thing you need to do to secure this incredible offer is to book your narrowboat hire before the end of July**.

The prices are modest, but you will be travelling in handsome style. The customised Bond Class has been an incredibly popular Anglo Welsh hire over the years, while the brand-new Constellation Class combines the proven layout of the Bond with upgraded facilities and attractive new livery. Both classes are available for hire from our 11 bases in prime locations across the inland waterways of England and Welsh, so there’s an Anglo Welsh experience for everyone, whether a 4-berth, 6-berth or 12-berth suits your requirements.

A perfect summer’s day is when the sun is shining, the breeze is blowing and the birds are singing; and naturally, it all feels even more idyllic when you are cruising along a canal with your family or friends. Throw in Anglo Welsh’s fabulous 20% discount on its premium class Constellations and Bond narrowboats, and we’re sure you’ll agree this could be the summer holiday of a lifetime. Hip hip hooray!

To get your 20% discount, call the Booking Office now on 0117 304 1122 and quote ‘reach for the stars’.

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‘Messing about in boats’ – there’s really nothing better!

“Believe me my young friend, there is nothing – absolutely nothing – half so much worth doing as simply messing about in boats.” So says Ratty to Mole in Kenneth Grahame’s classic novel ‘The Wind in the Willows’. To which the 150,000 people who take a canal holiday in the UK every year can only respond: “And so say all of us!”

Everyone who hires a narrowboat will have their own passions when it comes to messing about on the water, but with Ratty otherwise engaged, here are a few reasons why the Anglo Welsh team believe waterway holidays are an incomparable experience.

Relaxation. No traffic jams, no customs, no connecting flights, no noisy neighbours. Above all, no stress. Is there any better way to unwind on holiday than to meander along a canal surrounded by England’s green and pleasant land (not forgetting some wonderful Welsh landscapes)?

All the mod cons. The days when canal jaunts meant sleepless nights in uncomfortable cabins are long gone. Anglo Welsh’s fleet of 160 modern narrowboats offer all the creature comforts: fully-equipped kitchens, gas central heating, high spec showers, TVs, bedding, towels, even free wi-fi*.

Kids love canals. A family adventure on a narrowboat is an experience your children, or grandchildren, will cherish for the rest of their lives. Younger kids love pottering about on boats; even teenagers have been known to surrender their mobiles and muck in at the locks. And eating together as a family means leisurely meals on board, not fast food at McDonald’s (though ‘big kids’ often prefer traditional pub lunches in canal-side pubs!).

Doggy heaven. Dogs like canal holidays even more than us humans. Fresh air, new smells, plenty of countryside stops for bracing walks, maybe even the odd swim. Up to two well-behaved dogs are welcome on all of Anglo Welsh boats. Just keep Fido away from the swans!

It’s better than the zoo. Britain’s canals boast a staggering range of habitats and wildlife. Swans, mallard ducks, moorhens, coots, herons, kingfishers; water voles (like the slightly confused ‘Ratty’), otters, frogs; dragonflies, butterflies. No tigers, but no cages either.

No experience, no problem. One of Anglo Welsh’s experienced instructors will show you how to start the engine, fill up with water, steer, slow down, moor up and navigate locks. You’ll be amazed how straightforward it all is.

Location, Location, Location. Anglo Welsh has 11 bases in prime locations across the inland waterways of England and Wales. Our routes pass through rural idylls galore and historical towns and cities like Bath, Oxford, Birmingham and Stratford-upon-Avon.

Something for every budget. Long holidays, 3-day weekends, midweek getaways; 2-4-berths, 5-8 berths, 9-12 berths; there is a narrowboat experience for every type of holidaymaker and for every budget, including money-saving offers for under 12s and over 60s bookings for next season (until the end of Jan 2017), and flotilla discounts, loyalty discounts and armed forces discounts all year round.

And finally, to pinch another quote from ‘The Wind in the Willows’: “Here today, up and off to somewhere else tomorrow! Travel, interest, excitement! The whole world before you, and a horizon that’s always changing!”

*Wi-fi is free up to 1GB per week and subject to the signal.

To make a booking or to get friendly advice on canal holidays, please call our Booking Office on 0117 304 1122.

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Top 6 Christmas Destinations

Anglo Welsh offers winter cruising from five bases, giving narrowboat holiday-makers the chance to celebrate Christmas or New Year afloat on Britain’s peaceful canal network.

From a cosy boat for two to a party boat for 12, we’ve got a range of boats to choose from.  Christmas prices start at £490 for a short break and weekly hire is available from £695. All our boats have central heating, hot water, TV and DVD players – some also have multi-fuel stoves – so it’s always warm and toasty on board.  Many of our boats have wifi too. Enjoy a canal boat holiday this Christmas and join in the festive celebrations at exciting waterside towns and cities, stopping off at rural retreats with traditional pubs and roaring log fires along the way.

Here are our Top 6 destinations this Christmas:

  1. Cruise to Georgian Bath…from our base in the historic town of Bradford on Avon on the edge of the Cotswolds, it’s a delightful seven hour cruise along the beautiful Kennet & Avon Canal to the centre of the World Heritage Status City of Bath.  With an award-winning Christmas market, carol services at Bath Abbey, stunning architecture, world class museums and top restaurants, Bath is fantastic place to celebrate Christmas.
  2. Enjoy the Christmas spirit in Birmingham…With its famous German Christmas Market, ice rink and big wheel, fantastic shopping, Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery, National Sea Life Centre, incredible new library and Christmas shows, including The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe at the Birmingham Rep, Birmingham is a great place to visit at Christmas-time.  City centre moorings are a five-hour, lock-free cruise away from our narrowboat hire base at Tardebigge on the Worcester & Birmingham Canal, which celebrates its 200th birthday this December.
  3. Celebrate in Stratford upon Avon…from our base at Wootton Wawen near Warwick, it’s a picturesque six-hour cruise through the Warwickshire countryside to Shakespeare’s Stratford.  Once there, boaters can moor up in the town’s canal basin to enjoy the Swan Theatre, marvellous Christmas lights, Christmas markets, carol singers, traditional pubs, museums, shops and the intriguing Ebenezer Scrooge Grotto on 26 December.
  4. Float across ‘The Stream in the Sky’…our canal boat hire base at Trevor on the beautiful Llangollen Canal in North Wales is just minutes away from the incredible 40m high and 30m long Pontcysyllte Aqueduct, also known as ‘The Stream in the Sky’.  With a World Heritage designation, this incredible feat of Industrial Revolution engineering has been put on a par with the Taj Mahal, Great Wall of China and the Pyramids.  On a short break from Trevor, boaters can cruise west to the Eisteddfod town of Llangollen an enjoy Christmas celebrations at the Llangollen Railway, waterside pubs and restaurants and a walk along the Llangollen History Trail.
  5. Head to Market Drayton, home of the Gingerbread man…from our Great Haywood base at the junction of the Staffordshire & Worcestershire and Trent & Mersey canals in Staffordshire, on a week’s cruise, canal boat holiday-makers can travel along the Staffs & Worcs and Shropshire Union canals to the historic town of Market Drayton, with its lively street markets, beautiful architecture and Christingle Carol service at St Mary’s Church.
  6. Travel to Chester…from our Bunbury base on the Shropshire Union Canal in Cheshire, it’s a seven-hour, nine-lock journey to the historic walled City of Chester.  With 3D Christmas Lights, annual Christmas Market with 70 chalets filled with gifts and festive fare, carol concerts at Chester Cathedral and the popular Lantern Magic Christmas event at Chester Zoo, 4-23 December, Chester is a great place to get Christmassy.
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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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