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.
*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
Top 8 February Half Term canal boat holiday destinations
WINTER HALF TERM CANAL BOAT HOLIDAY DESTINATIONS
Give boredom the push-off and take to the water this winter.
Emma Lovell, Anglo Welsh’s Reservations Manager, believes a narrowboat holiday is the perfect solution for winter break for all the family.
Whether you’re planning a half-term holiday or a winter mini break, this time of year can be tricky. The weather is unpredictable and if it’s cold or raining you can end up spending a fortune on indoor activities to keep everyone amused.
That’s why a narrowboat holiday is a great choice. First off, you can pick a boat which suits your group – from a cosy boat for two to a larger boat for 12 and many size options between – so no problem if you want to invite grandma, your aunties, cousins or friends.
Secondly, everyone can have a role, so there’s no need to be bored. You’ll need a skipper to steer the boat, while the crew can plan the route, open and close the locks, look out for other boats, mooring spaces and wildlife, as well as places to eat and visit.
Thirdly we can guarantee no airport delays, no cancelled trains and no motorway closures. Some parts of the canal network might be closed for winter maintenance in advance – but we can advise you about these when we are planning your route.
Travelling at a pleasing, and environmentally-friendly, four-miles-an-hour, your scenery will change continuously and, depending on where you travel to and from, you can moor in the heart of vibrant cities like Birmingham and Bath, pretty market towns like Whitchurch and Stratford upon Avon, or hundreds of picture perfect villages up and down the country.
Personally I think cosying up on one of our boats (all of which have central heating and some multi-fuel stoves too) is particularly wonderful when the weather is challenging. And as you travel leisurely from place to place, it’s a great opportunity to bond together as a family and reconnect with your kids. The boats do have WiFi – but you don’t need to tell anyone!
For a bit of inspiration, I’ve listed my top five activities and indoor destinations you can reach from our bases;
Travel into Birmingham for culture and the Sea Life Centre – from our canal boat holiday hire base at Tardebigge it takes five hours to cruise into the centre of Birmingham. With no locks to pass through along the way, it’s a great route for narrowboat holiday novices. You can moor up in Gas Street Basin to enjoy the City’s many shops, galleries, museums and attractions such as Sea Life Centre in Brindleyplace.
Look up Shakespeare in Stratford upon Avon – from our narrowboat rental base at on the Stratford Canal at Wootton Wawen, near Henley-in-Arden in Warwickshire, it’s a picturesque six-hour cruise through the Warwickshire countryside to Shakespeare’s Stratford. Once there, you can moor up in Bancroft Basin and visit all five connected sites which tell the full story on the Bard.
Swap the water forthe Steam Railway at Llangollen – from our canal boat rental base at Trevor on the Llangollen Canal in North Wales, it takes just two hours to cruise to the beautiful town of Llangollen, on the edge of the Berwyn Mountains. Once there, you can moor up and take time to explore this pretty town which offers plenty of places to eat and the Llangollen Steam Railway.
Discover Britain’s Secret Nuclear Bunker – from our canal boat rental base at Bunbury on the Shropshire Union Canal in Cheshire, it takes around three-and-a-half hours, travelling nine miles and passing through just two locks, to reach moorings close to the Hack Green Secret Nuclear Bunker Museum. This fascinating blast-proof underground bunker was once one of the nation’s most secret defence sites.
Cruise to Waterworld for Tropical Aqua Park – heading north from our narrowboat rental base at Great Haywood on the Trent & Mersey Canal near Stafford, you can reach the Festival Park in Stoke on Trent in around 13 hours. From there it’s a 10-minute walk to Waterworld, where you can enjoy a range of thrill seeking rides, including white knuckle flumes, raft rides, and the legendary Thunderbolt.
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.
You can cruise gently along aboard your own floating holiday home to enjoy an outdoor family adventure, stopping-off along the way to visit waterside destinations hosting special Easter holiday activities.
From medieval fortresses, battles and jousting, to Easter egg decorating, hunting and (of course) eating, here are our Top 10 Easter canal boat holiday family destinations:
Visit the World’s biggest Cadbury shop at Cadbury World – apparently, if you placed all the Cadbury Creme Eggs made in a year from end to end, they would stretch from Bournville to Sydney, Australia! This Easter, you can discover more amazing chocolate facts, and buy some Creme Eggs at the World’s biggest Cadbury shop, at Cadbury World at Bournville, right next to the Worcester & Birmingham Canal. From our canal boat hire base at Tardebigge, near Bromsgrove in Worcestershire, it takes just two hours to reach moorings outside Cadbury World, and three more lock-free hours to reach Birmingham City Centre.
Have an ‘Eggstraordinary Easter Eggventure’ at the University of Oxford’s Natural History Museum – 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 University of Oxford Natural History Museum, which is hosting an Easter egg hunting trail, 6-22 April. Housed in a stunning Victorian neo-Gothic building, Oxford’s Natural History Museum is home to an internationally significant collection of natural history specimens, including T-rex skeletons, the Oxford Dodo, whale skeletons, British bird displays, dinosaur fossils and the 4.5 billion-year-old Nantan meteorite.
Enjoy a Cadbury Easter Egg Hunt 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 Pontcysyllte Aqueduct, which this year celebrates 10 years of World Heritage Status. Once moored-up, it’s a half-hour walk up to the National Trust’s stunning medieval fortress, Chirk Castle, where over the Easter Weekend (19-22 April), children can follow the Easter Trail, solve the clues and win a Cadbury chocolate prize.
Watch medieval jousting at the Royal Armouries Museum – from our 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. Over the Easter weekend (19-22 April) the waterside Royal Armouries Museum will be hosting its spectacular International Jousting event, where four teams of knights from the UK, Poland, the USA and Canada will battle for honour and trophies.
Tour the Roman Baths by Torchlight – from our canal boat rental base on the Kennet & Avon Canal at Brassknocker Basin just outside Bath it takes around four hours, passing through six locks to reach Bath City Centre, just a short walk away from the Roman Baths Museum. Over the Easter Weekend (19-22 April), the Museum will be hosting torchlit evening openings (6pm-8pm), giving visitors the chance to see the remarkably preserved remains of one of the greatest religious spas of the ancient world in a different light. Easter evening visitors can also enjoy live music, impromptu performances from the Natural Theatre Company and a drink in a pop-up Prosecco Bar.
See the World’s oldest working steam engines – on a week’s holiday from our narrowboat hire base at Sydney Wharf, you can travel along the beautiful Kennet & Avon Canal to Crofton, near Marlborough, to visit the Crofton Pumping Station. Over the Easter Weekend (20-22 April), the Easter Steam Event allows visitors to witness the work of the oldest working steam engines in the world, still performing the job they were built to do. The two beam engines, one of which is an original 200-year old Boulton & Watt, are both fed by a hand-stoked, coal fired Lancashire boiler. The journey to Crofton takes around 23 hours, cruising 40 miles and passing through 47 locks.
Join the annual Easter Boat Gathering at Ellesmere Port – over the Easter Weekend (19-22 April), the National Waterways Museum at Ellesmere Port in Cheshire celebrates the start of the Summer boating season with a large boat gathering, live music and the Shropshire Boatmen telling waterway stories in song. 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.
Do some Easter egg decorating at Mary Arden’s Farm – from our base at Wootton Wawen on the pretty Stratford Canal, it takes around an hour-and-a-half to reach the village of Wilmcote, home to Mary Arden’s Farm, where Shakespeare’s mother grew up. Over the Easter holidays, as well as experiencing the sights, sounds and smells of a Tudor farm, visitors can enjoy decorating eggs with traditional Tudor designs at Mary Arden’s Farm. On a short break, you can continue on to Bancroft Basin in the Centre of Stratford to visit waterside eateries, Shakespeare’s Birthplace and the famous Swan Theatre.
Explore the Eggcellent Easter Trail at Trentham Monkey Forest – during the Easter holidays (15-26 April), visitors to Trentham Monkey Forest, where monkeys live in total freedom, can walk amongst the monkeys and follow the Easter Woodland Trail to find a hidden word to gain entry to a prize draw. From our boatyard at Great Haywood on the Trent & Mersey Canal near Stafford, it takes approximately 10 hours to reach Stoke bottom lock No. 36, a short walk away from Trentham Monkey Forest. The journey cruises 13 miles and passes through 13 locks.
Take a Guided Walk at the Battle of Bosworth Museum – from our canal boat hire base at Stockton on the Grand Union Canal in Warwickshire, it takes around 18 hours, travelling 44 miles and passing through seven locks, to reach Sutton Cheney, close to the Bosworth Heritage Centre & Country Park. Here, where King Richard III famously lost his crown to Henry Tudor in 1485, visitors to the multi-award-winning Bosworth Battlefield Experience can enjoy hands-on displays and guided walks to find out more about medieval warfare, how the battle unfolded and the impact of the powerful Tudor dynasty.
Canal boat holidays are great for families – bringing everyone together for an adventure afloat – soaking up the scenery, learning how to steer the boat and work the locks, watching out for wildlife and stopping-off to visit waterside pubs and attractions.
To celebrate the International Day of Families (15th May), we’ve put together our top 9 narrowboat holidays for families for 2018.
Walk the City Walls in Chester. The ancient City of Chester is a delightful seven hour cruise, passing through nine locks, from our canal boat hire base at Bunbury on the Shropshire Union Canal in Cheshire. Once there, narrowboat holiday-makers can moor up to explore the City, including the largest Roman Amphitheatre in Britain and the almost three kilometre-long City Walls, which were started by the Romans between 70 and 80 AD and formed a complete circuit of the medieval city.
Discover the Witch in a Bottle at the Pitt Rivers Museum in Oxford. From our Thames boating holiday hire base at Eynsham, it’s a tranquil three-hour cruise to moorings at Hythe Bridge, perfect for exploring Oxford’s city centre. There are excellent shops, many historic buildings and fantastic museums to explore in Oxford, including the extraordinary Pitt Rivers Museum, home to one of the world’s finest collection of anthropology and archaeology, including shrunken heads from the Amazon and the famous ‘witch in a bottle’.
Soak up the Italianate architecture at Saltaire. From our base at Silsden on the Leeds & Liverpool Canal, on a short break boaters can travel to Sir Titus Salt’s famous model town at Saltaire, a journey which takes seven hours and passes through 11 locks. Now a UNESCO World Heritage Site, Sir Titus Salt built the textile Mill and entire village for his mill workers, all in a beautiful Italianate style. Places to visit include Saltaire Park and the Grade II* listed Salt’s Mill. This homes many examples of work by Bradford born artist David Hockney, as well as collections of books, furniture, jewellery, clothing and the Salt’s Diner restaurant.
Marvel at the Caen Hill flight of locks at Devizes. From our barge holiday base on the Kennet & Avon Canal in Bath, it’s a 10-hour, eight-lock cruise to Fox Hanger Wharf at the base of the mighty Caen Hill flight of 29 locks at Devizes, one of the ‘Seven Wonders of the Waterways’. Once here, the historic market town of Devizes is a short walk away, with its Wadworth Brewery Visitor Centre and famous shire horses making daily deliveries, plus a range of shops, pubs and restaurants, including the ‘Peppermill Restaurant’ and the Bear Hotel. Along the way, narrowboat holiday-makers can stop off to explore historic Bradford on Avon, home to the magnificent 14th monastic stone Tithe Barn, with its amazing timber cruck roof.
Climb the Ramparts at Warwick Castle. From our Stockton canal boat rental base on the Grand Union Canal in Warwickshire, it’s a seven-hour journey, passing through 20 locks, to reach the beautiful country town of Warwick with its magnificent medieval castle on the banks of the River Avon. The Castle offers a fantastic family day out with ramparts to climb, the Castle Dungeon, Great Hall and Staterooms to explore. Families can experience the sights, sounds and smells of the medieval period in the Kingmaker exhibition, watch soaring birds of prey and trebuchet firing displays and navigate the Horrible Histories Maze and landscaped gardens.
Glide across ‘The Stream in the Sky’. Just five minutes from our base on the Llangollen Canal at Trevor, boaters encounter the incredible Pontcysyllte Aqueduct, truly one of the ‘Seven Wonders of the Waterways’. Its cast iron trough filled with water, is supported on iron arched ribs and carried 38 metres high above the Dee Valley on 19 hollow pillars. In 2009 the Pontcysyllte Aqueduct was added to the UNESCO World Heritage site list, putting it on a par with the Pyramids and Taj Majhal. On a short break from our canal boat hire yard at Trevor, boaters can cross the aqueduct and then continue east to reach the Ellesmere Lakes, teaming with wildlife. On a week’s break, narrow boat holiday-makers can cruise on to the historic market town of Whitchurch.
Experience the Pirahna Tunnel at Birmingham’s National Sea Life Centre. From our narrow boat holiday hire base on the Worcester & Birmingham Canal at Tardebigge, Gas Street Basin in Birmingham City’s Centre is a five-hour lock-free cruise away, perfect for first-time canal boat holiday-makers. From there it’s a short walk to Brindley place with an abundance of shops, restaurants and attractions, including Birmingham’s Sea life Centre, with over 60 displays of freshwater and marine life, including the new Pirahna Tunnel and Jelly Invaders exhibit.
Get close to nature at Fradley Pool Nature Reserve. From our canal barge holiday base at Great Haywood in Staffordshire, on a short break boaters can cruise along the Trent & Mersey Canal to Fradley Junction and back, a journey which takes six hours and passes through five locks. Picturesque Fradley offers visitors guided walks, a café, two pubs and the award-winning Fradley Pool Nature Reserve, home to an abundance of creatures. Along the way, boaters pass the Shugborough Estate with its stunning Georgian mansion house and walled garden. Families can explore the Staffordshire Wildlife Trust’s Wolseley centre with 26 acres of beautiful grounds and Rugeley with its choice of pubs, including the canal side Mossley Tavern.
Watch a Shakespeare play in the Bard’s home town. From our luxury canal boat hire base at Wootton Wawen on the Stratford Canal, it’s a delightful six-hour, 17-lock cruise journey through the Warwickshire countryside to Bancroft Basin in the centre of Stratford-upon-Avon. From there, it’s a short walk to the town’s theatres, shops, restaurants and museums, including the Royal Shakespeare Theatre where until 18 September Christopher Ecclestone will play Macbeth and Niamh Cusack Lady Macbeth in ‘The Scottish Play’.
To book a holiday or break on any of Anglo Welsh’s fleet, call our friendly booking team on 0117 304 1122.
Britain’s wonderful canal and river network takes canal boat holiday-makers through some of our nation’s most beautiful countryside, including many woodland areas.
Our woodlands are havens for wildlife – mammals, birds, amphibians, reptiles, insects, wildflowers and fungi – and ancient woodlands are particularly precious, supporting over 200 of our rarest and most threatened species.
With Spring, and the promise of carpets of bluebells just around the corner, we thought it’s the perfect time to celebrate the best woodland walk destinations afloat:
Explore the ancient woods at Skipton Castle – From our canal boat hire base at Silsden on the Leeds & Liverpool Canal in West Yorkshire, it takes just over three hours to reach Skipton with its medieval fortress and acres of woodland trails to explore. For nearly a thousand years Skipton Castle Woods provided fuel, food and building materials for castle inhabitants. There are at least 18 species of trees flourishing here, including Ash, Oak, Hornbeam, Lime, Chestnut, Rowan and Sloe. A combination of standing dead trees, rock fissures for roosting and water for insect-breeding make these woods a fantastic haven for bats and there are hundreds of flowering plants, including wild orchids and bluebells.
Follow the woodland trail at Kinver Edge – From our Tardebigge base on the Worcester & Birmingham Canal near Bromsgrove, it’s a 20-hour, 37-mile, 32-lock journey to Kinver on the Staffordshire & Worcester Canal. At Kinver Edge, managed by the National Trust and home to the famous Holy Austin Rock Houses, there’s an excellent woodland trail perfect for families, with natural play areas along the way and magnificent views across several counties from the Iron Age Hill Fort. Kinver is on the route of the Stourport Ring, which can be tackled on a week’s holiday from Tardebigge, travelling a total of 76 miles via Birmingham, Kidderminster, Stourport and Worcester.
See the ancient Yew at Pendeford Mill Nature Reserve – From our boat yard at Bunbury on the Shropshire Union Canal near Tarporley, it takes 20 hours, travelling 43 miles and passing through 28 locks, to reach Pendeford Visitor Moorings, just outside Wolverhampton. Pendeford Mill Nature Reserve is next to the canal here, offering 60 acres of astonishingly beautiful English countryside to explore, including ancient woodland, home to a Yew tree believed to be over 2,000 years old, as well as oak trees and, in the Spring, snowdrops and bluebells.
Walk up to Bathampton Woods – From Claverton, on the Kennet & Avon Canal near Bath, canal boat holiday-makers can moor close to Claverton Pumping Station and walk across the road bridge into the village of Claverton. From here, lanes and footpaths take walkers up past the American Museum to Bathampton Woods and on to Bathampton Down. With stunning views over Bath and the hills beyond, this route is part of the National Trust’s Bath Skyline Walk. Claverton is just three miles away from our canal boat hire base at Bath.
Discover the woodland sculpture trail at Stoke Bruerne – From our narrowboat hire base at Stockton on the Grand Union Canal in Northamptonshire, it takes 12 hours, travelling 28 miles and passing through 16 locks, to reach the pretty canal village of Stoke Bruerne. Here, as well as choice of canalside pubs and the Canal Museum to visit, there’s a charming woodland walk and sculpture trail to follow.
Explore Hay Wood at Baddesley Clinton – From our base at Wootton Wawen on the Stratford Canal in Henley in Arden, an 18-mile, 43-lock, 15-hour journey to the Navigation pub at Kingswood Bridge no 65, close to Baddesley Clinton. Here the Heart of England Way takes walker past the National Trust’s remarkable medieval moated manor house and on to the Midland Link walking trail through the Forestry Commission’s Hay Wood, home to a great diversity of wildlife, including bluebells, foxgloves, Muntjac deer and many woodland birds.
Enjoy a woodland walk 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 World Heritage Status Pontcysyllte Aqueduct along the way. There are moorings at the north side of Chirk Tunnel close to where a footpath take walkers up through a series of woods to the National Trust’s Chirk Castle, with spectacular views along the Ceiriog Valley.
Climb to the Wittenham Clumps – From Day’s Lock on the River Thames at Dorchester there’s a footpath to Wittenham Clumps Nature Reserve, made of two chalk hills, upon which sit two clumps of beech trees planted more than 300 years ago. This beautiful reserve has wildflower meadows as well as woodlands, and here are spectacular panoramic views of Oxfordshire from the summit. Connecting footpaths take walkers back down to the River through Little Wittenham Wood and it takes seven hours to reach Day’s Lock from our narrowboat hire base at Oxford on the River Thames, travelling 22 miles and passing through eight locks.
Visit the ancient ‘Big Belly Oak’ at Savernake Forest – At over 4500 acres in size and well over 1,000 years old, Savernake Forest is home to over 7,000 ‘Ancient’, ‘Veteran’ and ‘Notable’ trees, including the Big Belly Oak believed to be over 1,100 years old. The Forest runs close to the Kennet & Avon Canal in Wiltshire and the pretty canal village of Wootton Rivers, makes an excellent starting point for a variety of walks around the Forest. From our narrowboat hire base at Monkton Combe, Wootton Rivers is 35 miles away, a journey which takes 19 hours, passing through 37 locks, including the mighty Caen Hill Flight of 29 locks at Devizes.
Wonder round Deep Hayes Country Park – At Deep Hayes Country Park near the Caldon Canal at Cheddleton in Staffordshire, three large scenic pools are surrounded by way-marked woodland walks criss-crossing a 143-acre area. And there are some lovely pubs to take refreshment at nearby, including the Hollybush at Denford and the Black Lion at Cheddleton. From our boat yard at Great Haywood on the Trent & Mersey Canal in Staffordshire, it takes 18 hours, travelling 29 miles and passing through 30 locks to reach Cheddleton.
To book a holiday or break on any of Anglo Welsh’s fleet, call our friendly booking team on 0117 304 1122.
From Royal weddings, state apartments and banqueting halls to siege towers, murder holes and dungeons, Britain’s beautiful castles bring history to life and make fantastic narrowboat holiday destinations.
Here are our top five castles to visit afloat in 2018:
Explore the magnificent State Apartments at Windsor Castle– from our canal boat hire base on the River Thames near Oxford, it takes three days (travelling 74 miles through 27 locks), to reach Windsor Castle, the oldest and largest occupied castle in the world and home to The Queen. With over 900 years of Royal history to discover, including Charles II’s magnificent State Apartments with painted ceilings by Antonio Verrio and paintings by Rembrandt, Rubens and Canaletto, Windsor Castle is packed with treasures from the Royal Collection. On 20 November 1992 a fire destroyed or damaged more than 100 rooms at the Castle. Its restoration, particularly the Grand Reception Room and St George’s Hall, is a testament to the incredible skills of some of the finest crafts people in Europe. Today Windsor’s State Apartments are frequently used by members of the Royal Family for events in support of their charities, and Prince Harry and Meghan Markle are set to marry in St George’s Chapel in May.
Wonder at Warwick Castle with over 1,000 years of history to explore – from our Stockton boat yard on the Grand Union Canal in Warwickshire, it’s a seven-hour journey, passing through 20 locks, to reach the beautiful historic town of Warwick with its jaw-dropping medieval castle on the banks of the River Avon. Dating back to William the Conqueror, Warwick Castle offers a fantastic day out with ramparts to climb, the Castle Dungeon, Great Hall and Staterooms to explore, the sights, sounds and smells of the medieval period to experience in the Kingmaker exhibition, soaring birds of prey and trebuchet firing displays to watch, the Horrible Histories Maze to navigate and landscaped gardens to tour.
Find out about the siege at Skipton Castle – from our canal boat hire base at Silsden on the Leeds & Liverpool Canal in West Yorkshire, it takes just over three hours to reach Skipton with its 900-year old fortress, one of the most complete and best preserved medieval castles in England. The journey takes canal boat holiday-makers through the typical Yorkshire stone built villages of Kildwick and Farnhill and a dense wooded area famous for its bluebells and deer. Once at Skipton, visitors to the castle can explore every corner of this impressive fortress which withstood a three-year siege during the Civil War. Climbing from the depths of the Dungeon to the top of the Watch Tower, with the magnificent Banqueting Hall, Kitchen, Bedchamber and Privy in between, Skipton Castle is certainly a national treasure.
Discover the impenetrable medieval fortress at Chirk – 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 World Heritage Status Pontcysyllte Aqueduct along the way. Once safely moored, 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 to keep the Welsh under English rule. Started in 1295, Chirk Castle had the most up-to-date defences of the time, with round ‘drum’ towers that allowed archers a wide firing field and created a ‘killing zone’ where the fields of fire overlapped. The towers are wider at ground level and with their five-metre thick walls, were designed to splay outwards – making it difficult for siege towers and battering rams to get close. 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.
Take a guided tour of Oxford Castle – from our Oxford base at Eynsham near Witney, it’s a tranquil three-hour cruise along the River Thames to City Centre moorings at Hythe Bridge, perfect for exploring Oxford and the City’s 11th century earthwork motte-and-bailey castle. Founded by the Norman baron Robert D’Oilly the elder in 1071, most of the fortress was destroyed in the English Civil War and by the 18th century, the remaining buildings had become Oxford’s local prison. Today, tours of the Castle are led by costumed character guides who lead guests up the Saxon St George’s Tower for panoramic views of the city of Oxford, deep underground to the 900-year old crypt, through the austere confines of the 18th century Debtor’s Tower and Prison D-Wing and up the Mound of the castle.
To book a holiday or break on any of Anglo Welsh’s fleet, call our friendly booking team on 0117 304 1122.
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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