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Moor up at the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games

Narrowboat entering Birmingham city centre

The city of Birmingham has more canals than Venice, so it’s not surprising that eight of the 13 venues for the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games are on or very close to a canal.

Taking place from 28 July to 8 August, the Games will see around 4,500 athletes from 72 nations and territories compete in 19 different sports and eight Parasports. To celebrate the opportunity to visit the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games and their venues on a narrowboat holiday, we’ve published our Top 8 Games destinations afloat:

1. Travel the Birmingham Mini Ring from Tardebigge

From our Tardebigge base on the Worcestershire & Birmingham Canal near Bromsgrove, you can navigate the Birmingham Mini Ring. This circuit takes you into the heart of Birmingham, travelling sections of the Birmingham & Fazeley Canal, Birmingham Canal Old Main Line, Tame Valley Canal and Wyrley & Essington Canal. The route travels 45 miles, passes through 49 locks and takes around 27 cruising hours.  Games venues on or close by the route include: Birmingham Arena next to the Birmingham Canal Old Line (Gymnastics); Alexander Stadium next to the Tame Valley Canal at Perry Barr (Athletics); and Sandwell Aquatics Centre close to the Tame Valley Canal (Diving and Swimming).

2. Cruise to Cannock Chase Forest from Great Haywood

From our canal boat hire base at Great Haywood on the Trent & Mersey Canal near Stafford, Cannock Chase Forest is less than two hours away. The journey to over-moorings at Rugeley navigates five miles of the Trent & Mersey Canal and passes through two locks. Cannock Chase Forest will be used for the Mountain Biking event.

3. Travel to Coventry Stadium from Stockton

From our narrow boat hire base on the Grand Union Canal at Stockton, it takes 15 hours to reach Coventry Basin, travelling 36 miles and passing through seven locks. The route navigates up the North Oxford Canal and joins the Coventry Canal at Hawkesbury Junction. Coventry Stadium will be hosting the Judo, Rugby Sevens and Wrestling events.

4. Navigate to the Alexander Stadium from Tardebigge

It takes around 13 hours, travelling 28 miles and passing through eight locks to reach Perry Barr Top Lock from our Tardebigge base. The journey begins on the Worcester & Birmingham Canal, and transfers onto the Birmingham Canal Navigations at Worcester Bar.  Alexander Stadium will host the Athletics events.

5. Cruise to St. Nicholas Park in Warwick from Wootton Wawen

From our base at Wootton Wawen on the Stratford Canal, it takes around 12 hours, cruising 14 miles and passing through 38 locks to reach moorings at Saltisford in Warwick. Myton Fields, the other side of the river to St. Nicholas Park will be used for the Birmingham 2022 Cycling Road Race.

6. Travel round the Stourport Ring from Tardebigge

From our Tardebigge base, on a week’s break you can navigate the Stourport Ring. The journey passes through 118 locks and takes around 44 hours. It takes in sections of: the Staffordshire & Worcestershire Canal; Worcester & Birmingham Canal Navigation; the River Severn; Birmingham Canal Main Line; and Stourbridge canals.  It takes boaters close to Egbaston Stadium, where the Cricket T20 will take place, and the Birmingham Arena where the Gymnastics will take place.

7. Cruise to Victoria Park in Leamington Spa from Stockton

From our Stockton base on the Grand Union Canal it takes around seven hours, travelling seven miles and passing through 20 locks to reach Frost’s Wharf in Leamington. Victoria Park in Leamington Spa will host the Lawn Bowls and Para Lawn Bowls events.

8. Navigate the Warwickshire Ring from Stockton

From our Stockton base you can navigate the Warwickshire Ring. This popular circuit travels 104 miles, passes through 94 locks and takes around 53 hours. It can be done in a week, but it’s best to allow 10 days or two weeks so that you’ll have time to visit places along the way. The Warwickshire Ring travels sections of the Grand Union Canal (passing through Leamington Spa and Warwick), the Coventry Canal and Birmingham & Fazeley Canal.  Games venues on or close by the route include: Birmingham Arena (Gymnastics); Edgbaston Stadium (Cricket); Coventry Stadium and Arena (Judo, Rugby Sevens, Wrestling); St Nicholas Park in Warwick (Cycling Road Race); and Victoria Park in Leamington Spa (Lawn Bowls).

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Anglo Welsh win Bronze award for ‘Self Catering Accommodation of the Year’

We were delighted to receive the Bronze award for ‘Self Catering Accommodation of the Year’ at the 2022 West Midlands Tourism Awards.

Our marketing and bookings team attended the event at the stunning Coombe Abbey in Coventry and enjoyed celebrating the West Midlands tourism industry with other finalists.

Gabby Wood, marketing co-ordinator for Anglo Welsh, says:

“Narrowboat holidays are a fun and unique way to explore the West Midlands and we are so proud to have been recognised for the staycations we provide on the canals.

We had a fantastic time meeting other finalists. It was so great to learn more about the variety of visitor attractions, accommodation and hospitality venues available to tourists in the West Midlands. It’s been a challenging few years for the tourism industry, but it was inspiring and motivating to see the resilience of everyone and to be congratulated for our hard work.

We want to give a special mention to the staff at our boatyards who work extremely hard to keep the boats on top form and who always go out of their way to ensure customers enjoy their narrowboat holiday.”

Interested in exploring the West Midlands by narrowboat? We offer boat hire from locations at Wootton Wawen, Tardebigge and Great Haywood. Our canal boats range from 2-berths to 12-berths and all have well-equipped kitchens, fresh water flushing toilets, hot water showers, comfortable beds, TVs, DVD players and WiFi, and are all pet friendly.

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The Bald Hiker’s Unforgettable Experience on the Llangollen Canal

Last October, Paul Steele AKA The Bald Hiker, took a press trip on the Llangollen Canal, setting off from our base at Trevor.

In his blog, Paul describes his holiday as “an experience you shall never forget and will forever change your perception of people who live and work on the canals”.

Paul travelled aboard our 65ft Bond Class narrowboat ‘Anna’, with his friend and fellow author, Paul Taylor.  As all of our hire boats are pet friendly, his two dogs, Malc and Pete, were able to join in on the fun, too.

They cruised from the Anglo Welsh base at Trevor and crossed over the UNESCO World Heritage Status Pontcysyllte Aqueduct.  Paul’s fantastic photos capture the breath-taking beauty of the aqueduct and surrounding scenery, and give an idea of the scale of this incredible feat of engineering, which dates back over 200 years.

They then travelled on to Chirk, navigating through Chirk Tunnel and over Chirk Aqueduct.  The next day, they went back to Trevor and then on to the delightful town of Llangollen.  At Llangollen, they moored up to explore the town, finding “plenty of places to find a bite to eat or get a drink or two.”

To read Paul’s full account of his canal boat holiday, and see all the beautiful images, go to https://www.baldhiker.com/2022/01/13/a-narrowboat-trip-on-the-llangollen-canal/

 

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We are taking steps to make our holidays more sustainable

By Matt Lucas Stern, our Operations Manager

More and more people and companies are taking steps to reduce their carbon footprint and change their consumption patterns.

Here at Anglo Welsh, we’ve been looking at ways to reduce our impact on the environment.

For the last six years, all our new boats have been fitted with LED lighting and the latest engines with lower emissions.  By 2022, we aim to have replaced all on board lights with LED bulbs and in 2023, we plan to introduce our first hybrid powered boat.

This year, we’ve introduced our first electric call out van here at Wootton Wawen, and by 2030 we’d like to have replaced all our company vans with electric vehicles.

During this winter we have fitted solar panels on the roof of one of our boats, to trial here at Wootton Wawen next March.  They will be on our two berth Admiral Class boat ‘Collingwood’ and will provide power for some of the on board facilities, including the lights, fridge and television.  By 2030, we aim to have solar panels on all our new boats.  We are also looking at opportunities to fit solar panels at some of our bases, to help power our laundries and electric vehicles.

From next Spring, all our boats will be stocked with natural, eco-friendly and cruelty-free washing up liquids and cleaning products on board.

There’s so much we can do to make our holidays more sustainable, and we look forward to bringing you news of our progress as we embark on our journey to reach net zero by 2050.

In the meantime, here are our Top 10 tips to help you make your holiday more sustainable:

1.    Use green cleaning products – be kinder to the environment and aquatic life by using the eco cleaning products provided on board, and bring along microbead free toiletries.

2.    Bring your own hot drinks cups – so if you stop off to buy a coffee somewhere on your narrow boat holiday you won’t need a ‘difficult to recycle’ disposable cup.

3.    Reduce your use of plastic bottles – you can use water from the boat’s tank to make a cup of tea, but you will need to stock up on fresh drinking water, so we suggest bringing one large bottle or canteen to top up at water points.

4.    Take part in the #PlasticsChallenge – each year an estimated 14 million pieces of plastic rubbish ends up in Britain’s canals and rivers, with around 500,000 pieces flowing out into our oceans.  The Canal & River Trust is asking everyone who visits its waterways to pledge to pick up at least at least one piece of plastic litter each time we visit the waterways.

5.    Bring your own shopping bags – ready for shop-stops en route and avoid buying products with excess packaging.

6.    Plan some vegan and vegetarian recipes afloat – it’s healthier for us and the planet to eat less meat, so when you are planning your pre-holiday shop, include some meat-free meals.

7.    Shop locally – look out for farm shops and local stores selling locally grown produce that are walking distance from your canal boat holiday route, as well as pubs with menus using locally sourced ingredients.

8.    Bag all rubbish – help keep rubbish and plastic out of the waterways by making sure all your bin bags are tied securely so they can’t spill open, and make use of canalside recycling facilities along the way.

9.    Burn greener fuels – if you book a boat with a multi fuel stove, burn the fire logs provided made from recycled sawdust and wax instead of coal.

10. Become a Friend of the Canal & River Trust – to help protect and care for the waterway environment and the wildlife that lives there.

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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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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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