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Cream teas, bluebells, bats and swallows on the Shropshire Union Canal

We spoke to Stan Cullimore about his latest Anglo Welsh narrowboat holiday

Where did you go this time Stan?

We set off from Bunbury on the Shropshire Union Canal in Cheshire.  We travelled south to Nantwich, and then we went up the Middlewich Arm.  We were really lucky with the weather.  It was great to enjoy the sunshine in pub gardens, as well as on deck and at the tiller.

What appeals to you most about canal boat holidays?

I love being on the water, and I think it’s the perfect antidote to the stress we’ve all experienced over the last year.  Canals are green corridors and when you are on a boat, you are right there at water level with the wildlife.  We sat out on deck each evening enjoying a sundowner and watched bats swooping around us.  We also saw the first swallows of the spring dipping to drink from the canal and lots of baby ducklings.  The sound of birdsong all around you is really lovely.

Where did you stop along the way?

On our first night, we moored up just south of Nantwich Aqueduct and walked to the town square.  There’s a good choice of cafes and restaurants there, and it’s a great place to watch the world go by.  Nantwich is a lovely old town, with lots of historic buildings, including a really pretty row of alms houses.

We also moored between bridges 12 and 13 on the Middlewich Arm, close to Church Minshull.  On the recommendation of a local boater, we took a stroll through a wood full of bluebells and walked on up to a hill beyond with some fantastic views. And we stopped for a drink in the garden of the Badger Inn at Church Minshull.

What were the highlights of this holiday?

One of things I love about canal boat holidays are the unexpected things you find, and people you meet along the way.  On the Middlewich Arm, we spotted a small shelter next to the canal with homemade cakes and cream teas for sale with an honesty box.  And close to Nantwich Aqueduct, we met The Doggie Boat selling all sorts of doggie treats, toys, collars and leads.

Any tips for first narrowboat hirers?

Pack a disposable BBQ – we found a picnic bench and BBQ stand close to one of the locks on the Middlewich Arm.  And make sure you’ve got some cash for any canalside ‘honesty box’ purchase opportunities.  As well as cream teas, we’ve found eggs, vegetables and honey for sale in the past.  Frozen sweetcorn and peas are good for feeding ducks and swans along the way.  Defrosted first! Also, I’m thinking about investing in a bat detector for next time.  It would be great to hear the bat echolocation sound waves, and find out which type of bats they are.

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Share your holiday memories with Anglo Welsh

We are launching a photography competition to celebrate 55 Years of Anglo Welsh holidays

This year Anglo Welsh celebrates 55 years of providing canal boat holidays.  During this time, we’ve welcomed hundreds of thousands of narrowboat holidaymakers to the waterways.

From humble beginnings, with just one narrowboat hire base and Market Harborough in 1966, we’ve become one of the largest narrowboat holiday operators in the UK, with 160 boats for hire from 11 bases in England and Wales.

Things have changed quite a bit in that time, with over £1.5billion invested in the upkeep of the waterways by Canal & River Trust, and we have invested significantly to transformation in the standard of accommodation on board our boats.

Please help us to celebrate our anniversary

To celebrate our anniversary, we would love to share memories of your holidays through an online gallery of Anglo Welsh waterway holiday photos.

We welcome images from your past holidays, as well as those you take when you holiday with us this year.

Competition categories

We are offering a £100 voucher off your 2022 holiday* to each of the winners we select under the following four categories:

1.    Historic – anything from the previous millennium but the older the better!

2.    Pets afloat – dogs, cats, budgies, bunnies – whichever furry or feathered friend enjoyed your narrowboat holiday with you, we’d love to see a photo of them afloat

3.    Family Adventures – holiday snaps which include images of your family enjoying an Anglo Welsh holiday

4.    Iconic sites – images of your holiday where you experienced one of the Wonders of the Waterways, or another major aqueduct, tunnel or flight of locks (e.g. Caen Hill, Pontcysyllte Aqueduct, Chirk Aqueduct, Edstone Aqueduct, Blisworth Tunnel, Tardebigge Flight, Hatton Flight, Bingley Five Rise Locks, Anderton Boat Lift, etc)

How to enter the competition

Please send your photo(s) to bookings@anglowelsh.co.uk with a caption for each, giving us as much information as you can, including your name and other information if you can remember, such as where the photo was taken, which year, which base you set out from and the name of the boat.  Please put ‘Photo gallery’ in the subject heading.  You can also enter the competition by posting on our social media channels @AngloWelsh on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook.  Links to our social media channels can be found on our homepage www.anglowelsh.co.uk

Up to three images per entrant are permitted.  The competition is open to entries from 26 May 2021. Entries must be submitted by 31 August 2021.

*Winners will be announced and vouchers issued on 30 September 2021

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Please click here to see our competition Terms & Conditions

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A canal boat holiday: the perfect way to celebrate an end to lockdown

After so many weeks cooped up within the same four walls, most of us are raring to get out and about again – especially now that summer is here.

Never before have we all so appreciated the joys of being able to move freely and explore new places.

So with foreign travel still restricted, let’s celebrate a relaxation of lockdown rules by becoming tourists within our own green and pleasant land and enjoying a truly memorable ‘staycation’.

The UK has so many fascinating and beautiful places to discover, sometimes the best holidays are the ones closer to home.

One of the best ways to explore new areas of England and Wales and uncover our country’s hidden gems is on a canal boat holiday.

Here are just a few of the reasons why a narrowboat holiday is the perfect way to make the most of being allowed out again:

The right to roam – or float

A canal boat holiday is a journey. By holidaying aboard a narrowboat, you can cruise along the stunning waterways of England and Wales covering new ground each day and taking in a range of landscapes and attractions along the way. After so long confined to one place, a holiday which involves being on the move with constantly changing scenery is particularly appealing. We have 11 narrowboat hire bases scattered across England and Wales all of which offer access to wonderful and varied canal holiday routes. There are easy holiday cruises to historic towns and cities, perfect for those wanting a short weekend break, or longer more challenging circuits for two week canal holidays exploring whole regions.

Soak up the space

There are more than 2,000 miles of canals and rivers winding their way through the luscious landscapes of England and Wales. A canal boat holiday gives you access to amazing open countryside and remote beauty spots difficult to access by any other means. Cruising through these remote and hidden corners of the country offers a feeling of space and freedom you have probably been craving for the last few months. You can moor up and take off on foot or by bicycle to explore the surrounding area, or remain onboard the narrowboat and simply take it all in as you motor along at a stately three miles an hour. Whatever your preference, enjoy those limitless horizons.

Variety is the spice of life

One of the joys of a canal boat holiday is the vast array of different things to see and do. With dozens of different canal holiday routes to choose from, you could opt for a city break or rural tranquility – or both. Canals pass through mountainous landscapes and flood plains, through woods and farm land.  They pass historic villages, stately homes, castles, museums, themes parks, zoos and more. Then there is the range of activities to be enjoyed along the waterways, including walking, cycling, kayaking, paddle boarding, canoeing and fishing. On a canal boat holiday, there really is something for everyone to enjoy.

Bring the pets

We offer pet-friendly holidays at Anglo Welsh so you can bring up to two furry friends along for the ride. If you are craving a much needed break away from home , but don’t want to leave your dog or another much loved pet on their own, you can bring one animal along for free then pay a small fee for a second.

For inspiration and ideas when planning your next canal boat holiday, have a read of our news section where you’ll find blogs covering everything from wildlife along the waterways to what to pack for your narrowboat holiday.

For up to date information from the Canal & River Trust about staying safe on the waterways, go to https://canalrivertrust.org.uk/enjoy-the-waterways/safety-on-our-waterways/coronavirus

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Anglo Welsh’s Class of 2016 oozes ‘Star’ Quality

Many canal devotees love to enthuse about vintage narrowboats, and understandably so, but here at Anglo Welsh few things get our pulses racing more than a spanking new hire boat, especially when it’s suited and booted to our very own specifications.

In recent years, we’ve grown accustomed to narrowboat connoisseurs waxing lyrical about our Bond Class boats. But to paraphrase a 007 movie trailer, ‘Bond is back, and it’s better than ever’. In fact, it even has a new name! Ladies and gentleman, we proudly present the Anglo Welsh Constellation Class – six brand-new narrowboats that are all set to make a big splash in 2016 and beyond.

As the latest evolution of our customised fleet, the Constellation Class combines the proven layout of the Bond Class with upgraded facilities and striking new livery. And we’ve tried to spread the joy around! The 12-berth ‘Andromeda’ is based at our Bradford on Avon base, the 12-berth ‘Delphinus’ at Oxford, the 6-berth ‘Cassiopeia’ at Bunbury, and the 4-berth trio ‘Aquarius’, ‘Aquila’ and ‘Carina’ at Trevor, Wootton Wawen and Bunbury respectively.

“The Bond Class has been an incredibly popular hire over the years,” says Wootton Wawen base manager Alistair King, but we’ve really pushed the boat out … excuse the pun … with the Constellation. Built by one of Britain’s oldest established boat builders using Anglo Welsh’s own bespoke specs, they’re among the finest narrowboats you’ll see anywhere on the UK’s waterways.”

 

“Below deck, light ash interiors and reflective white ceilings create a really spacious feel, and as an added bonus, the Constellation Class is highly adaptable, with double beds easily converting into singles and vice-versa. ‘Aquila’ enjoyed its maiden voyage in March and we’ve already received great feedback. The only thing we can’t agree on is the pronunciation, though for now we’re going for ‘Aquila’ rhyming with ‘Tequila’!”

As well as being built to order, the Constellation Class was also ‘christened’ by the Anglo Welsh team. So why Constellation? “Despite the fact our narrowboat fleet already includes a boat called ‘Enterprise’ the name has nothing to do with ‘Star Trek,” confesses Alistair with a smile. In fact, stargazers will have already spotted that Aquarius, Aquila, Carina, Cassiopeia, Andromeda and Delphinus are all named after constellations. “Apparently Aquarius even means water-carrier in Latin,” adds Alistair, “though I prefer to think of it as an amphibious people carrier!”

To which we can only add, the Constellation Class is undoubtedly the new ‘star turn’ on the UK’s waterways and we’re confident that these magnificent boats will carry people on some memorable canal journeys!

To book one of the new Constellation Class narrowboats, please contact our dedicated Booking Team on 0117 304 1122.

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Army & You Review: Beautiful Boating Break

Andrew and Kirsten King reviewed their recent holiday from our Wootton Wawen base for www.armyandyou.co.uk

It was quite a test to get the hang of manoeuvring our 62ft-long boat, called Marlow, but by the second day we had it down. You get a run through at the beginning and an instructional DVD, which helped clear up a few things that we were a little unsure about.  

We started in Wotton Wawen and made our way to Stratford upon Avon, spending the night in the Stratford Basin which was a great spot to tour the heart of “Shakespeare Country”.

The boat is fairly modern compared to what we expected for this “old timey” experience. There are good heaters throughout and on a four-berth boat you can request two double beds or a double and two singles. Having two toilets was handy and in the kitchen we had all the utensils you need, a foldable table and chairs, some loungers and a TV – liveable and comfortable for a week’s stay.

Finley and Addison really enjoyed the whole experience. Locks can be a lot of work, especially when there are several in a row, but everyone was put to work when it came to operating them. The kids helped look out for particular lock or bridge numbers, pushed the lock gates open and shut and helped tie up the boat for the night.

They loved feeding the ducks along the canal at many points. Finley even had a go at steering. It’s worth considering bringing an extra pair of adult hands to share the workload if you have young children that need attention.

Part of the attraction is spending a bit of time off the boat. The highlights were tackling new challenges together and meeting new people, like the volunteers who help you through the locks and other friendly boat owners. One of the stops we made was to Mary Arden’s farm house (Shakespeare’s mother) where we learnt about what life was like when Shakespeare was alive.

We would definitely recommend this sort of holiday to Army families. It’s a history-rich and cultural experience that gets you up and about seeing some picturesque parts of the countryside.

Anglo Welsh offers all British Service personnel up to 15 per cent off. Our team of helpful canal holiday experts are available to take your booking! Please call us 0117 304 1122

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Retiring at Twenty Five!

One of Anglo Welsh’s most valued and loyal customers has left the world of school trips after his 25th booking.

Headmaster, Peter Cook, of Wellow House School, Newark, and formerly Kimbolton School in Cambridge is hanging up his gown and mortar at the end of this year for a well earned retirement. Or, in Sir’s case his rugby shirt and shorts!

Peter has introduced children to the wonderful experience of narrowboating for 19 years, combining educational, fitness recreation and the fun activities that canal cruising has to offer.

An avid Rugby Union devotee, Peter still strikes an imposing figure on and off the pitch and the disciplines of the sport are reflected in the behaviour of the pupils in his charge.

In recognition of his quarter century of bookings Base Manager, Kevin Yarwood presented Mr Cook with a brass compass and sundial on his final visit to Great Haywood base. Kevin thanked him for his custom over the years and on behalf of Anglo Welsh wished him a long and happy retirement and hoped to welcome him back, in the future, with his family.

Commenting on his presentation, Peter said “I never expected anything like this but it is typical of the team at Great Haywood. Over the years I have had nothing but praise for the Booking Team, the base managers and staff for their consideration and helpfulness.”

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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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