Spotlight on Great Haywood

Anglo Welsh’s canal boat hire base at Great Haywood, on the junction of the Trent & Mersey and Staffordshire & Worcestershire canals near Stafford, offers narrowboat holiday-makers the chance to explore the Potteries, the Peak District and the Black Country by boat.

Kevin Yarwood, Anglo Welsh’s manager at Great Haywood, says, “Situated at the junction of two key arteries of the canal network, our canal boat rental base at Great Haywood offers boaters a huge variety of route options. From easy short breaks, passing through peaceful canalside villages with cosy historic pubs, to epic journeys around some of the most popular cruising rings on the waterways.

“Perhaps the most popular route for beginners from Great Haywood is to take a short break (three or four nights) and cruise north along the Trent & Mersey Canal to the historic market town of Stone and back – a journey that takes 10 hours (five each way) and passes through just eight locks (four each way). Stone is renowned as the food and drink capital of Staffordshire, with regular markets, a good choice of restaurants and the annual Food & Drink Festival in October.

“Another great short break route is to head south along the Trent & Mersey to Fradley Junction and back – which takes around 12 hours, travelling a total of 24 miles and passing through five locks each way. The Coventry Canal meets the Trent & Mersey Canal at Fradley where visitors can enjoy refreshments at the Canalside Café or The Swan Inn and a wander around the Fradley Pool Nature Reserve, where a woodland trail and boardwalk take visitors on a tour of the reserve. Along the way to Fradley Junction, the route passes the magnificent Shugborough Estate with its stunning Georgian Mansion House and a number of family-friendly pubs, including the Wolseley Arms at Wolseley Bridge.

“The beautiful Caldon Canal, which takes boaters into the Peak District, is perhaps our most popular destination for those taking a week’s holiday afloat. It’s a 43-hour return journey to Froghall Basin and back, travelling a total of 72 miles (36 each way) through 70 locks (35 each way). To make this journey, boaters first head north along the Trent & Mersey Canal to Stoke-on-Trent, to connect onto the Caldon Canal at Etruria.

“As the Caldon Canal leaves Stoke, it begins to pass through gently rolling hills, wooded areas and past old mills and then alongside the beautiful River Churnet, where boaters can look out for kingfishers, herons, jays and woodpeckers, as well as otters which have recently returned to the area.

“For those looking for an active week’s break from Great Haywood we recommend travelling the Black Country Ring, which takes narrowboat holiday-makers on a 45-hour waterway odyssey, cruising a total of 75 miles and passing through 79 locks. Highlights of the route, which travels along sections of six different canals, include Cannock Chase, once a medieval royal hunting forest where deer still roam, and the Black Country Museum where visitors can step back in time and meet costumed characters, explore period shops and houses, take a 1912 school lesson and eat traditional fish & chips.

“On this route, boaters will also see the beautiful Tixal Wide – an amazing expanse of water home to many birds and animals, plus the historic market town of Penkridge with its striking church tower dominating the skyline, and Birmingham’s Gas Street Basin in the heart of the City, with easy access to Brindleyplace and a host of attractions.

“On a 10-day or two-week break from Great Haywood, we recommend tackling the Four Counties Ring – travelling through Cheshire, Shropshire, Staffordshire and the West Midlands, covering 110 miles and 94 locks, and taking around 55 cruising hours. Highlights along this scenic, largely rural journey include the Wedgewood Museum at Etruria, the 2,670-metre long Harecastle Tunnel at Kidsgrove and historic Market Drayton, home of the Gingerbread Man.

“We are particularly proud of the Luxury canal boat hire options available here at Great Haywood, including our 65ft long boat for four people ‘Centaurus’ and the 67ft six-berth ‘Pegasus’. They are both Constellation Class boats with semi-traditional sterns, two shower rooms with toilets, and two cabins which can be configured as a double bed or two single beds. In its spacious saloon, ‘Pegasus’ also has a bench seat and table that can be converted into either a double or two singles in the evening.”

If you would like to book a short break or holiday from Great Haywood, or any of our bases, simply call our friendly booking team on 0117 304 1122.


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Top 10 Easter Canal Boat Breaks

This Easter, narrowboat holidays offer the chance to explore the Great British countryside as it bursts into life with new leaves, daffodils, bluebells, spring lambs and nesting birds. Set sail aboard your own floating holiday home to enjoy a fantastic family adventure, stopping-off along the way to visit exciting waterside visitor attractions hosting special Easter holiday activities.

Here are our top 10 Easter holiday destinations to visit afloat:

  1. Go on an Easter egg hunt at Kinver Edge. From our narrowboat hire base at Tardebigge on the Worcester & Birmingham Canal near Bromsgrove, it’s a 20-hour, 37-mile, 32-lock journey to Kinver on the Staffordshire & Worcester Canal. Kinver Edge offers visitors miles of wildlife-rich heath land and woods to explore, and starting from the site’s ancient Rock Houses, the National Trust is hosting daily Easter Egg Hunts over the Easter weekend. 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.
  2. See Roman finds discovered by metaldetectorists 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 University of Oxford’s Ashmolean Museum of Art & Archaeology. As well as permanent world famous collections from Egyptian Mummies to contemporary art, until 29 April 2018 ‘An Ancient Landscape: Iron-Age and Roman finds from the Berkshire Downs’ explores the story of this site through objects found by metaldetectorists, such as coins, pottery and metalwork, dating from the late Iron Age to the end of Roman Britain.
  3. See a rare baby deer at Chester Zoo. Chester Zoo, home to 21,314 animals from 500 species, can be reached on a short break from our canal boat hire base at Bunbury on the Shropshire Union Canal in Cheshire. New arrivals at the Zoo include a rare tiny Philippine spotted deer fawn, cuter than Bambi, as well as two critically endangered Eastern black rhino calves, seven endangered African painted dog pups and world first breedings of highly threatened Bermudian skinks and Catalonian newts. The journey to Chester takes around seven hours, passing through nine locks.
  4. 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 boat 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, narrowboat holiday-makers can cruise on to the historic market town of Whitchurch.
  5. Take the ‘Bunny’s Trail’ at the Black Country Living Museum. From our Tardebigge base on the Worcester & Birmingham Canal near Bromsgrove, it’s an eight-hour, three-lock journey to moorings outside the Black Country Living Museum. From 24 March until 15 April the Museum will be hosting an array of family activities, including the Bunny’s Trail exploring the Museum’s canalside village, egg rolling competitions, egg and spoon races, displays about Easter traditions in the home including egg dying and traditional recipes, as well as the chance to enjoy freshly baked hot cross buns from the bakery and traditionally cooked fish & chips.
  6. Watch medieval jousting in the heart of Leeds. 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. Here, boaters can moor up and explore the Royal Armouries Museum at Leeds Dock, home of the national collection of arms and armour. From Friday 30 March till Monday 2 April, the Museum will be hosting its Easter Tournament event with authentic medieval jousting in the Royal Armouries’ arena.
  7. Climb the rigging on the SS Great Britain in Bristol. On a short break from our narrowboat hire base on the Kennet & Avon Canal at Bath, canal boat holiday-makers can travel west to Bristol’s Floating Harbour* in eight hours, passing through 13 locks. Once there boaters can moor up to explore the harbour and visit the SS Great Britain where at weekends people are given the opportunity to climb the ship’s rigging. Designed by Isambard Kingdom Brunel for the Great Western Steamship Company’s transatlantic service between Bristol and New York, from 1845 to 1854 the SS Great Britain was the longest passenger ship in the world.

    *NB this route is recommended route for experienced boaters and overnight mooring fees will apply

  8. Walk in Shakespeare’s footsteps in Stratford-upon-Avon. From our 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 Shakespeare’s Birthplace where visitors can walk in the Bard’s footsteps. This Easter (31 March to 15 April) children visiting Shakespeare’s Birthplace can take part in a fun interactive treasure hunt in the gardens, with music and comedy, led by the Museum’s in-house actors Shakespeare Aloud.
  9. Celebrate Spring time at Shugborough Hall. From our base at Great Haywood, on the Trent & Mersey Canal near Stafford, the National Trust’s beautiful Shugborough Hall estate is a short journey away. Here families can explore the historic mansion house and servants’ quarters, as well as visit the working farm to see lambs being born, witness bulbs blooming in the walled garden and wildlife emerging in the parkland. And from 30 March to 15 April, special events are planned to celebrate Spring time at Shugborough with nature inspired activities and trails, including Explorers’ Map, full of 50 Things fun, and canoeing sessions on the River Sow.
  10. Wonder at Warwick Castle. From our Stockton 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, 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. And this Easter (30 March to 15 April) visitors can join in the 950th anniversary of William the Conqueror’s motte and bailey castle by climbing The Conqueror’s Fortress, a specifically designed interactive exhibition exploring the castle’s fascinating history.

To book a holiday or break on any of Anglo Welsh’s fleet, call our friendly booking team on 0117 304 1122.


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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?

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.

Anglo Welsh. So much more than narrowboats

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