Top 5 reasons to visit Stratford this Easter

From our canal boat hire base at Wootton Wawen on the Stratford Canal, it’s a delightful six-hour, 17-lock cruise journey through the beautiful Warwickshire countryside to overnight moorings at 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 with the chance to enjoy some special activities this Easter. So why not step aboard your own floating holiday home to enjoy a family canal boat holiday adventure afloat, watching the countryside burst into life with spring lambs, busy birds, daffodils and hedgerow blossom as you cruise gently through the countryside to Shakespeare’s Stratford.

We’ve put together a list of the top 5 things to do in Stratford-upon-Avon when you get there on your narrowboat holiday:

  1. Take part in a live theatre hunt at Shakespeare’s birthplace. This Easter (31 March to 15 April), as well as exploring Shakespeare’s home where he was born and grew up, 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.
  2. Pick up some tasty treats at the market. Stratford’s vibrant markets are an important part of the town’s history and atmosphere. Every Friday and Saturday, markets are held in Rother Street offering a range of international street food and fresh produce stalls, as well as clothing, accessories, flowers and gifts. And the Waterside Market will re-open on Easter Sunday 1 April and Bank Holiday Monday 2 April, offering a wide range of top quality products, delicious street food, plus street entertainers to delight the children.
  3. See Christopher Ecclestone play Macbeth at the Royal Shakespeare Theatre. On his return home from battle, Macbeth hears the disturbing prophecies of three witches and sets out on the path to murder. From 21 March to 18 September, Christopher Ecclestone will play Macbeth and Niamh Cusack Lady Macbeth in ‘The Scottish Play’ at the Royal Shakespeare Theatre in Stratford-upon-Avon.
  4. Mess with mad machines at the Museum of Mechanical Art & Design. The bizarre machine-infested MAD Museum in Stratford-upon-Avon has over 100 pieces of Kinetic Art and Automata from artists around the World. The 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. Over the Easter holidays (30 March to 15 April) the MAD Museum will be open every day from 10am to 5.30pm.
  5. Enjoy waterside dining at Carluccio’s. Offering stunning views across the River Avon in Stratford, Carluccio’s Italian restaurant is open for breakfast, lunch and dinner. With plenty of tasty treats for both adults and children to choose from – including Crispy Calamari, Lasagne Tradizionale and Chicken Milanese – it’s the perfect place to land after a day’s boating or sight-seeing.

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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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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Treat Your Mum to a Day Afloat

This Mother’s Day (11 March 2018), why not spoil your Mum with a relaxing day on the water, enjoying a picnic afloat or pub lunch along the way.

Anglo Welsh offers day boat hire from five of its bases, from just under £10 per person. Full tuition is included, so if you’re new to canal boating, you can get the hang of steering, mooring up and working the locks.

All our day boats are equipped with cutlery, crockery and a kettle and most also have a toilet, cooker and fridge.

Here are our Top 5 day boat destinations to visit afloat for 2018:

  1. Glide across ‘The Stream in the Sky’ – From our canal boat hire base at Trevor on the Llangollen Canal in North Wales, it’s less than 10 minutes by water to the incredible World Heritage status Pontcysyllte Aqueduct, also known as “The Stream in the Sky”. At over 38 metres high and 305 metres long, the Pontcysyllte Aqueduct is truly one of the wonders of the waterways, offering stunning views of the Dee Valley below. After travelling across the Aqueduct, boaters can continue on to Glendrid to enjoy lunch at the canalside Poacher’s Inn. This gentle five-mile journey with no locks, also takes canal boat hirers across Chirk Aqueduct and through Whitehouses and Chirk tunnels. Day boat hire from Trevor starts at £120 for up to 10 people, £160 on weekends and bank holidays.
  2. Potter along the Stratford Canal to Wilmcote – From our boat yard at Wootton Wawen on the Stratford Canal near Henley-in-Arden, boaters can head south, crossing the impressive Edstone Aqueduct and passing through one lock, to reach the historic village of Wilmcote – a journey which takes around two hours. Here, day-boaters can moor up above Wilmcote Top Lock and take a short walk into the village to enjoy lunch at The Mary Arden Inn or the Masons Arms, or visit the childhood home of Shakespeare’s mother, Mary Arden’s Farm. Day boat hire from Wootton Wawen starts at £99 for up to 10 people, £140 on weekends and bank holidays.
  3. Travel the Trent & Mersey to Rugeley – From our narrowboat hire base at Great Haywood on the Trent & Mersey Canal near Stafford, day boaters can cruise four miles, passing through two locks to reach the historic market town of Rugeley. Along the way, day boat hirers pass the National Trust’s stunning Shugborough Estate, and the popular Wolseley Arms pub at Wolseley Bridge. The journey to Rugeley takes around two hours and once there, boaters can moor up to explore the town or turn at bridge 68 and head back to Wolseley to visit the Staffordshire Wildlife Trust’s Wolseley Centre and have lunch at the pub. Day boat hire from Great Haywood starts at £99 for up to 10 people, £140 on weekends and bank holidays.
  4. Cruise ‘The Shroppie’ to Nantwich Aqueduct – From our base at Bunbury Wharf on the Shropshire Union Canal near Tarporley, canal boat hirers 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. There are moorings next to the aqueduct and choice of places to eat close to the canal, including Street Nantwich and Firenze Bar & Restaurant on Welsh Row. Day boat hire from Bunbury starts at £99 for up to 10 people, £140 on weekends and bank holidays.
  5. Travel through rural Worcestershire – From our canal boat hire base at Tardebigge near Bromsgrove, day boaters can cruise north along the Worcester & Birmingham Canal to Kings Norton Junction, passing through fields, woods and two tunnels, including one of the longest canal tunnels in the country – Wast Hills. The route, which covers a total of 16 miles there and back, takes boaters past a choice of waterside pubs, including the Weighbridge at Alvechurch and the Hopwood House at Hopwood. There are no locks on this journey and it takes around three hours each way. Day boat hire from Tardebigge starts at £99 for up to 10 people, £140 on weekends and bank holidays.

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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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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‘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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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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