Take to the water this Easter for a family adventure afloat

Best Easter canal boat holidays in England and Wales

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:

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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
  6. 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.
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Plan your 2021 canal boat holiday adventure with our bucket list guide

Canal boat holidays are a wonderful way to explore the countryside and some of Britain’s most exciting historic attractions. With the narrowboat as your mobile floating holiday home, you can moor up in a new spot every night, and discover fascinating things to see and do along the way.

To help you plan the perfect narrowboat holiday adventure in 2021, here’s a guide to some of our canal boat holiday musts:

1. Be wowed by the wildlife
Canals and rivers are home to an incredible array of wildlife, from rare mammals, birds and amphibians to many species of plants. Even in cities, canals provide green corridors, enabling animals and plants to flourish. If you are vigilant and have a pair of binoculars at the ready, you may be able to spot some of the rarer and shier waterway inhabitants such as water voles, otters and kingfishers, as well as the more common water birds, like ducks, swans, coots, moorhens and geese. You can also take a look down at the water to spy fish, frogs, toads, newts, or up at the sky to see bats, owls, woodpeckers, hedgerow birds and birds of prey.

2. Visit a historic town or city
The waterways were once the primary means of transport and communication between centres of industry and commerce, so they pass through many exciting historic towns and cities. You can choose a route which takes you to some of Britain’s best preserved ancient cities, including Bath, Oxford and Chester, all with an impressive array of beautiful historic buildings to admire. The canals can also take you into the heart of bustling cities, like Manchester, Leeds and Birmingham and to historic market towns, such as Stratford-upon-Avon, Warwick, Devizes, Llangollen, Whitchurch, Bradford on Avon and Abingdon.

3. Marvel at the historic engineering of the canals
Most of our canals were built over 200 years ago during the Industrial Revolution, starting with the opening of the Bridgewater Canal in 1761. Despite their age, the canals still use, for the most part, the same engineering structures – lock gates, swing bridges, tunnels and aqueducts. There are some particularly impressive feats of historic engineering which are worth trying to incorporate into your canal boat holiday route, such as the incredible lock flights at Tardebigge on the Worcester & Birmingham Canal, the Kennet & Avon Canal at Caen Hill or the Grand Union Canal at Hatton. There are many famous tunnels, such as the Chirk Tunnel on the Llangollen Canal, the Harecastle Tunnel on the Trent & Mersey Canal and the Blisworth Tunnel on the Grand Union Canal. And there are soaring aqueducts to glide across, including the Pontcysyllte Aqueduct on the Llangollen Canal and the Edstone Aqueduct on the Stratford Canal.

4. Enjoy a pint at a canalside pub
From busy city boozers to rustic country inns, the canals are lined with wonderful pubs where you can enjoy a pint, shoot the breeze and watch the world float by. During the years when canals provided key transport thoroughfares, many pubs sprung up along their routes to cater for the canal workers who would travelling up and down the country delivering their cargo. To this day, some of the country’s oldest and most characterful taverns are found along our canals, so enjoy taking some time out from boating to enjoy a warm canalside pub welcome.

5. Explore on foot
Canal towpaths offer thousands of miles of wonderful walking and cycling routes and hundreds of footpaths connect into waterway paths. These include some of Britain’s most famous walking routes, such as the Pennine Way, the Offa’s Dyke Path, the Heart of England Way and the Shropshire Way. Plan some lovely circular walks to explore more of the gorgeous unspoilt countryside through which you are passing, or the historic towns and villages you moor up in.

6. Stop off at a castle or stately home
Britain has a wealth of historic properties to visit, from castle ruins to perfectly preserved stately homes. People travel from all over the world to see these treasures and a canal boat holiday is the perfect way to reach some of our nation’s most amazing sights. Many stately homes house incredible art collections and antique furnishing, as well as landscaped formal gardens and parkland. National Trust properties close to the canals include: Packworth House close to the Stratford Canal at Lapworth in Warwickshire; Shrugborough Hall next to the Trent & Mersey Canal near Great Haywood; and Chirk Castle close to the Llangollen Canal. There are also fascinating castles at Oxford, Skipton and Warwick to explore, as well as historic sites like Avebury close to the Kennet & Avon Canal in Wiltshire and the Battle of Bosworth Field next to the Ashby Canal in Leicestershire.

For more information on our routes and exciting waterside destinations, take a look at our 2021 brochure:

Canal maps are available to buy from our booking office or from our canal boat holiday hire bases.

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Be Inspired

We offer a range of different types of holidays such as City Breaks, Relaxation Cruises and Popular Destinations

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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.
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Great days out on the water.
Luxury canal boat hire and Thames boating holidays.

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