Top 9 October Half Term canal boat holiday destinations

Best October Half Term canal boat holidays

Canal boat holidays offer the chance to set off on a family adventure afloat, working together to steer the boat, work the locks and plan the stops.

You’ll be self-contained on board your very own floating holiday cottage – with the key comforts of home, including hot water, TV, WiFi*, well-stocked kitchens, showers, flushing toilets and central heating.

We’ve put together a guide to our Top 9 narrowboat holiday destinations and Halloween events** this October Half Term holiday:

1. Have some Halloween Fun at Mary Arden’s Farm

From our boat yard on the Stratford Canal at Wootton Wawen, it takes just under two hours to reach moorings close to Mary Arden’s Farm in the village of Wilmcote.  On 25, 27 and 29 October, the home of Shakespeare’s mother, run by the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust, will be hosting a special ‘Halloween Fun at the Farm’ event.  The event will give families the chance to explore the traditions that people in medieval and Tudor England took part in to keep the spirits at bay.

2. Travel through the Dee Valley by steam train

Setting off from our base on the Llangollen Canal at Trevor in North Wales, it takes just two hours to reach moorings at Llangollen Basin.  From there, you can use your floating holiday cottage as a base to explore the area, including taking a trip on a steam train.  The Llangollen Railway line is located within an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB).  The Railway is running its Llangollen return service 26-30 October, travelling 10 miles through the Dee Valley, with breath-taking views of some of the most beautiful scenery in Wales.

3. Get spooked at a Halloween Night at the Black Country Living Museum

From our narrowboat hire base on the Worcestershire & Birmingham Canal at Tardebigge, it takes just eight hours, passing through three locks to reach the Black Country Living Museum.  At 6.30pm from 26 to 29 October, the Museum is hosting its Halloween Nights event.  Visitors can follow the trick or treat stations around the 26-acre site, discovering spooky spectacles along the way.

4. Follow the ‘Around the World in 8 Trees’ trail at Shugborough Estate

Our base on the Trent & Mersey Canal at Great Haywood is less than an hour’s cruise away from the National Trust’s magnificent Shugborough Estate.  Across the October Half Term holiday, visitors to the Estate can wander around the gardens following the ‘Around the World in 8 Trees’ trail and the Pumpkin Hunt.

5. Experience Warwick Castle’s ‘Haunted Castle’ event

From our base at Stockton on the Grand Union Canal in Warwickshire, it takes around seven hours, passing through 20 locks, to reach Warwick.  From 22-31 October, the Castle’s ‘Haunted Castle’ event will feature mysterious mazes, eerie entertainment and frightful delights for the whole family.  Visitors can experience the Castle Dungeon, Haunted Hollows Halloween trail and special spooky live shows.

6. Visit the IF Oxford science and ideas Festival

From our Oxford base on the River Thames at Eynsham, it takes just three-and a-half-hours (passing through three locks) to reach overnight moorings in Oxford City Centre.  From there, you can explore some of the many IF Oxford events planned at venues across the City Centre, 6-29 October 2022.  For example, at the Oxford Playhouse on 26 October at 7pm, the ‘Braintastic! Mastering Memory’ interactive science show explores how memories stored in the brain can play tricks on you through a series of memory games and quizzes.

7. Experience the interactive Halloween Trail at Chester Zoo

On a short break from our Bunbury base on the Shropshire Union Canal near Tarporley, you can reach the historic City of Chester, home of the award-winning Chester Zoo.  The journey to Chester cruises 12 miles, passes through 18 locks and takes around seven hours.  From 1-31 October, Chester Zoo will be hosting an interactive Halloween Trail.  You’ll be asked to help Luna the witch to find her lost spell, carefully crafted with the most powerful poisons and venoms from the world of nature.

8. Enjoy an Autumnal Woodland Walk at Chirk Castle

From our canal boat rental base at Whixall, on the Prees Branch of the Llangollen Canal, you can reach Chirk in around eight hours.  The journey passes through just two locks.  From visitor moorings on the canal at Chirk it takes around 30 minutes to walk up to the National Trust’s Chirk Castle.  In the Castle’s beautiful grounds, there’s a 2.5 mile Woodland Walk trail to follow.  The walk has spectacular views of the parkland and takes you past the ancient Sweet Chestnut Tree, dating back over 500 years to the time of King Henry VIII.

9. Explore the Roman Baths by torchlight

From our base at Monkton Combe near Bath, it takes around four hours, passing through six locks, to cruise into Bath City Centre.  From there, you can visit one of Bath’s many museums offering special half term activities, including the Romans Baths ‘Lighting up the Great Bath’ event.  Taking place on 26 October, from 6.30pm to 9pm, this thrilling special event offers the chance to explore the Roman Baths by torchlight and celebrate the Festival of Lights.

*NB Our Silsden boats don’t have WiFi

**NB Most of the events listed need to be booked in advance via the venue’s website

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Fun for all the family: Why narrowboating appeals to all generations

canal boat holidays are good for multi-generations

A canal boat holiday is a wonderful way to bring the family together as there is something for every age group to enjoy. With constantly changing scenery and a new destination daily – if you choose – narrowboat holidays offer an amazing variety of sights, attractions and activities. The joy of a canal boat holiday is that you can shape it to suit your specific wishes – from the style and size of narrowboat you hire and which location you set out from to your chosen destinations and how long you linger at each of these. It is this flexibility that makes a narrowboat break such a great family holiday – appealing to every generation.


Any parent will tell you, children are easily bored. This means a holiday in which they are regularly on the move, seeing and experiencing new things every day is perfect to ward off the dreaded cries of: “Mummy, I’m bored.”

With miles of canal towpaths and open countryside lining the waterways, most narrowboat holidays also offer plenty of space for kids to run around, play, breathe the fresh country air and generally expend their energy so they collapse in bed and sleep soundlessly at the end of each day.

Most children love the novelty of life afloat and get very excited by the workings of the narrowboat and canals, whether navigating through a tunnel or helping work a lock. For most kids it is a far cry from their day to day.

Lastly, a canal boat holiday offers the opportunity to visit countless attractions which will have your little ones giddy with excitement, from the sweet allure of Cadbury World which sits right next to the Worcester and Birmingham Canal in Bournville to the thrills of Alton Towers, accessible from the Caldon Canal and the wonders of the Sea Life Centre in Birmingham.


Probably the most difficult age group to satisfy on a family holiday, teenagers crave independence and freedom to roam, usually as far from their parents as possible! Luckily, this is perfectly achievable on a canal boat holiday as teenagers can take themselves off for walks, runs, bike rides on the safety of the traffic-free towpaths. Towpaths also make it almost impossible to get lost!

There are also lots of water-based activities on offer along the canals such as kayaking, canoeing, paddle boarding and fishing which may appeal to the teenagers of the family – and might even stop them from looking at their mobile phones for more than five minutes.

Teenagers also have a great propensity to get bored so the constant movement and change of a narrowboat holiday will suit their desire for new surroundings. A canal boat holiday with a rich variety of urban and rural surroundings is likely to work best for teenagers – although clearly all this will vary greatly with the individual and their interests.

With 11 narrowboat hire bases to choose from dotted across England and Wales, families can opt for a canal boat holiday route which takes in locations and attractions most likely to interest and absorb their teenage crew members. Our narrowboats are built to provide ample space for all crew members so teenagers can enjoy the privacy of their own cabin and if they do need a social media fix, they can connect to the Wifi available on all barges but hopefully there’ll be enough distraction to make this unnecessary.

Young adults

Narrowboat cruises are ideal holidays for groups of friends or couples wanting a romantic break with a twist. Our narrowboats, built for comfort and enjoyment of all our guests, range from cosy two berth barges perfect for couples to 12 berth floating hotels ideal for a big group holiday. There are plenty of top city break destinations along the canals such as Bath, Oxford and Chester all of which offer a rich combination of beauty, history and culture – as well as great places to eat and drink. For couples wanting some inspiration, read our most recent guide to the most romantic canal holiday destinations.

For group holidays the variety of activities and destinations on offer along the canals works perfectly. Some people might head off for a long walk while others choose to relax on deck or moor up by a waterside pub and enjoy a relaxing pint. A canal boat holiday can take in historic towns and cities, rural loveliness, famous sights and a whole bunch of activities that will keep everyone in the group happy, whatever their preference.

With fully equipped galleys, our narrowboats are well set up for cooking meaning those on a budget can enjoy preparing delicious meals onboard although there are countless tempting spots to go out for dinner along the waterways. If you want to treat yourself to dinner out, have a look at our guide to some great canal side pubs and restaurants.


For parents, a canal boat holiday is the ideal way to satisfy their children and themselves. As we’ve already mentioned, there is plenty on offer along the canals to keep children occupied and happy which will enable their parents to relax and enjoy themselves. Few people can fail to be seduced by the beauty and tranquility of the canals. For parents who often spend much of their lives racing around trying to balance the demands of their jobs and their children while still maintaining some sort of social life, slowing their life down to the stately canal barge pace of 3mph can offer much needed respite. By swapping the bustle of their day to day existence for the calm of the canals, they can escape their usual worries, breathe deeper and destress.

They may wish to mix things up with a taste of city life afloat as well as some rural cruising or stick to serene countryside routes. Some canal routes are renowned for their fascinating historic sights and feats of engineering, others boast abundant wildlife or incredible dramatic scenery. All canals provide a chance to get outside and get active after weeks cooped up in an office. Essentially, parents can tailor their canal boat holiday to ensure everyone is kept captivated throughout. Our narrowboats are all pet friendly so parents can even bring along the furrier members of the family if they don’t want to leave them behind.

Alternatively, for parents needing a break from their little ones should leave the kids at home with a friend or relative and treat themselves to one of these perfect child-free breaks for parents.


It is lovely for grandparents to be able to join their children and grandchildren on family holidays, particularly those who are now living on their own. This can also be an ideal set up for everyone as it enables parents to share a bit of the childcare and maybe even head off for a romantic meal or enjoy a child-free day out, while granny or grandpa can spend some quality time with the kids.

A canal boat holiday is the ideal way to bring everyone together as it can be as active or relaxing as those onboard choose. Grandparents who are still super fit and active will love the outdoorsy element while those who are less mobile can still enjoy gorgeous, constantly changing scenery from the comfort of the narrowboat. Towpaths offer easy walking routes and are generally wheelchair friendly with most being tarmacked or paved and relatively flat so accessibility need not be a problem.

Grandparents, like parents, are likely to love the rich variety of interesting destinations. There are buzzing cities like Birmingham and Bristol, historic destinations like Bath and Chester or cultural treasures such as Stratford upon Avon and Oxford. Away from the cities, there are stately homes, castles, parks and gardens galore in additional to the natural wonders of the British countryside.


Last but not least, everyone onboard is needed to help on and off the boat, from steering and tying up to working the locks. A narrowboat holiday is all about teamwork. It brings everyone together, united by a common aim to get from place to place as efficiently as possible while having lots of fun.

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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

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