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Best pet friendly canal boat holidays

Best pet friendly canal boat holidays

Narrowboats provide a floating holiday home so it’s possible to take many types of pets on the canals

Canal boat holidays are especially great for dogs, with plenty of towpath walks and dog-friendly canalside pubs to visit. Over the years, we’ve accommodated many other kinds of pets, including rabbits, cats, hamsters, caged birds and goldfish.

First pets go for free on all our holidays, and we charge a £25 supplement for a second pet on a short break, £35 for a week.

Guide dogs go free of charge. We allow a maximum of two pets, plus a guide dog, but all bedding and pet facilities must be provided by the owner(s).

We recommend our cruiser stern boats for holidays with a dog, as there’s more room ‘on deck’ for the dog and the rest of the family to enjoy watching the world go by.

Now for some do’s and don’ts

Do bring your dog’s bed to help them feel at home and don’t leave your dog unattended on board.

Do pack your poo bags.

Don’t let your dog swim in the canals, especially when there are ducklings, signets, goslings and other water bird chicks about.

To celebrate, here’s a guide to our top 7 destinations for animal lovers:

  1. Cruise to Cannock Chase for acres of dog walking trails – on a short break from our base on the Trent & Mersey Canal at Great Haywood in Staffordshire, you can easily reach Cannock Chase Forest where there are miles of walking trails enjoy, as well as a dog activity trail. Once a Royal Forest, Cannock Chase is an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty with over 6,800 hectares of landscapes to explore.  There are mixed deciduous woodlands, coniferous plantations and healthlands.  These habitats are home to a wide variety of animals and insects, including a herd of fallow deer, a number of rare and endangered birds, including migrant nightjars, as well as butterflies, bats and reptiles.  The Wolseley Centre and Nature Reserve is next to Wolseley Bridge is just two miles and two locks from Great Haywood, and offers a great gateway to Cannock Chase.
  2. Cruise to the foot of the Caen Hill Flight – from our base at Monkton Combe on the Kennet & Avon Canal you can travel to Foxhangers Wharf, at the foot of the Caen Hill flight of locks in Devizes. Along the way, you’ll pass through miles of peaceful Wiltshire countryside, with a series of villages and dog-friendly country pubs to visit along the way.  These include The Cross Guns at Avoncliff, the Barge Inn at Bradford on Avon and the Barge Inn at Seend.  Once at Caen Hill, you can moor up and explore the flight and its large side ponds, which provide a fantastic haven for wildlife.  Full of fish, the side ponds provide an ideal habitat for dragonflies, butterflies and many types of water birds.  You can look out for swans, ducks, geese, coots, moorhens, herons and cormorants.  The journey to Foxhangers Wharf and back takes around 19 hours, passing through 16 locks (eight each way).
  3. Cruise to Ellesmere for some heron spotting – on a short break from our base on the Llangollen Canal at Trevor in North Wales, you can cruise to the Shropshire Lake District. The journey to the medieval market town of Ellesmere takes around seven hours, passing through just two locks.  You’ll also cross over the magnificent Pontcysyllte and Chirk aqueducts.  Moscow Island on The Mere in Ellesmere is home to the Heron Watch Scheme, where cameras allow visitors to watch the birds build nests and raise chicks.  And there are plenty of woodland walks and trails to follow with your dog.
  4. Explore the gardens and the ancient topiary at Packwood House – from Wootton Wawen on the Stratford Canal near Henley-in-Arden, it’s a seven-mile, 31-lock and 10-hour journey to Lapworth Lock No 6.  From there, it’s a half-mile walk to the National Trust’s Packwood House, where there are miles of woodland and countryside walks to enjoy. Dogs are welcome at Packwood on leads on public footpaths across the estate, on the café terrace and in the barnyard.  The house and formal gardens are only for humans.
  5. Boat to the historic village of Wrenbury and back – from our base at Bunbury on the Shropshire Union Canal in Cheshire it takes around six hours, passing through 11 locks, to reach Wrenbury Mill on the Llangollen Canal. The journey takes you along 10 miles of waterway through quintessential Cheshire farmland and countryside.  The historic village of Wrenbury, which is on the South Cheshire Way offers lots of countryside walks.  It’s also a registered conservation area with plenty of wildlife to watch out for, particularly in the gardens of the Grade II listed St Margaret’s Church. There’s a choice of dog friendly pubs to visit, including the canalside Dusty Miller, and the Cotton Arms in the village of Wrenbury.
  6. Cruise along the River Thames into the Cotswolds – from our Oxford base on the River Thames, on a four-night mid-week break you can take a tranquil nine-hour, seven-lock Thames boating holiday to the pretty market town of Lechlade on the edge of the Cotswolds. Along the way, you’ll travel through miles of peaceful Oxfordshire countryside, with plenty of dog walking opportunities.  Places to visit include the village of Radcot with its 800-year old bridge across the Thames and dog-friendly bar in the Ye Olde Swan Hotel. And Kelmscott with its Grade I listed Kelmscott Manor, once the Cotswold retreat of William Morris, and popular Plough Inn.
  7. Watch out for wildlife on the Montgomery Canal – from Whixall Marina in Shropshire, it takes around six hours to reach Frankton Junction, where the Llangollen Canal meets the Montgomery Canal. This beautiful canal runs for 38 miles between England and Wales.  It is recognised as a Special Area of Conservation, making it one of the most important sites for wildlife in Europe.  Currently only around half the Montgomery Canal is navigable, including a seven-mile section from Frankton Junction to Gronwyn Wharf.  From Whixall, the journey to Gronwyn Wharf and back takes around 20 hours. You’ll travel through 34 miles of beautiful countryside and passing through 16 locks (eight each way).  Along the way, you can look out for many types of waterway birds, animals and insects.  These include dragonflies, damselflies, otters, Daubenton’s bats skimming over the water at dusk, and the critically endangered water vole.

Click here to check availability and book, or call us on 0117 304 1122.

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Our new two-night deals offer the chance for a quick escape!

Canal boat holidays in England and Wales

For the first time ever, we are offering two-night breaks from our canal boat hire bases at:

  • Trevor in North Wales;
  • Bunbury and Whixall in Shropshire;
  • Tardebigge in Worcestershire;
  • Wootton Wawen in Warwickshire;
  • Great Haywood in Staffordshire; and
  • Oxford on the River Thames.

So whether you are time-short and just looking for 48 hours away, or a newcomer to canal boat holidays wanting to test the waters, our new two-night deals are a great way to get afloat.

Starting at £643 for a boat for up to four people, these special deals need to booked and taken by 14 September 2023.

You’ll be able to pick your boat up from 2.30pm on the Friday afternoon, and return it by 2.30pm on the Sunday.

Prices for our two-night specials

Price band A B C D E F G H
23 Jun – 6 Jul £593 £643 £673 £807 £883 £917 £990 £1,097
7 Jul – 24 Aug £707 £760 £810 £957 £1,057 £1,153 £1,297 £1,433
25 Aug – 14 Sep £593 £643 £673 £807 £883 £917 £990 £1,097

**Please note, prices quoted do not include the damage waiver of £50, and fuel deposit of £70 for a short break.

To book one of these special deals

Call the Booking Team on 0117 304 1122 or email us on bookings@anglowelsh.co.uk

Top 9 two-night break destinations

1. Navigate through the Cheshire countryside to ancient Middlewich

From Bunbury on the Shropshire Union Canal, it’s a peaceful five-and-a-half-hour cruise through the Cheshire countryside to Middlewich.  After travelling south two miles to Barbridge Junction, home of the Olde Barbridge Inn, you can transfer onto the Middlewich Branch of the Shropshire Union Canal.  This quiet canal, with just four locks along its 10-mile length, travels peacefully through the Cheshire countryside.  You can stop off along the way at Church Minshull, where the popular Badger Inn is a short walk from the canal.  And there’s a choice places eat and drink in Middlewich, which dates back to into pre-history and the first hunter gatherers.

2. Head into Birmingham City Centre lock-free

With no locks between Tardebigge and Birmingham City Centre, this five-and-a half-hour cruise is perfect for a two-night break.  You’ll cruise for 14 miles along the Worcester & Birmingham Canal.  The first half of the journey passes through fields, woods and villages, before gradually becoming more urbanised.  There are four tunnels to navigate through, including the 2,726-yard long Wast Hill Tunnel. Once you reach the centre of Birmingham, there are over-night moorings at Gas Street Basin, with easy access to Brindleyplace waterside restaurants, Sea Life Centre, Mailbox shopping centre and other leading attractions.

3. Cruise across the Stream in the Sky to historic Ellesmere

The seven-hour journey along the Llangollen Canal from Trevor to Ellesmere, in the heart of the Shropshire Lake District, offers a fantastic two-night route.  The route includes the experience of travelling across the incredible UNESCO World Heritage Pontcysyllte Aqueduct, with jaw-dropping panoramic views of the Dee Valley 38 metres below.  There are two locks, two tunnels and two aqueducts along the way.

4. Boat through the Staffordshire countryside to Fradley Pool Nature Reserve

From Great Haywood, you can head south along the Trent & Mersey Canal to Fradley Junction.  The journey takes around five hours, travelling 12 peaceful miles through the Staffordshire countryside.  There are just five locks to pass through, and you’ll pass canalside pubs at Wolseley and Rugeley.  At Fradley, you can enjoy spotting wildlife along the woodland trail and boardwalk at Fradley Pool Nature Reserve. And the Canalside Café and Swan Inn offer waterside refreshments.

5. Navigate through Shakespeare country to Stratford-upon-Avon

From Wootton Wawen on the Stratford Canal, it takes around six hours to reach overnight moorings in Bancroft Basin in the heart of Stratford-upon-Avon.  The route through the Warwickshire countryside takes you across the Edstone Aqueduct and through 17 locks. Once there, you can walk to all the top attractions in Stratford, from theatres and museums, to pubs and restaurants.

6. Navigate the Llangollen Canal to historic Whitchurch

From Whixall, it takes around three-and-a-half hours to cruise to visitor moorings on the Whitchurch Arm, perfect for a relaxing two-night break.  The route to Whitchurch travels along the Llangollen Canal through six peaceful miles of Shropshire countryside.  There are no locks but there are two lift bridges.  Once moored up, you can walk into Whitchurch to explore the town with its half-timbered buildings, independent shops, way-marked circular walks and Brown Moss nature reserve.  There’s a good choice of places to eat and drink, including the popular Black Bear pub.

7. Take a Thames boating holiday to Oxford

From our Oxford base at Eynsham, it takes just over three hours, passing through four locks, to reach City centre moorings in Oxford.  Along the way, you’ll pass through the ancient village of Wolvercote, home to the ruins of Godstow Priory. The 17th century riverside Trout Inn, famous for being a regular watering-hole for Collin Dexter’s Inspector Morse and Lewis Carroll, is also at Wolvercote.  Once in Oxford, you take time to explore the city, including Oxford Castle, the Bodleian Library and Ashmolean Museum.

8. Cruise through the countryside to visit Packwood House

On a two-night break from Tardebigge, you can cruise lock-free to the village of Lapworth, home of the National Trust’s Packwood House.  The journey takes you along the Worcester & Birmingham Canal, through the remains of the Forest of Arden, to Kings Norton Junction.  You then transfer onto the Stratford Canal to reach moorings in Lapworth. From there, it’s a short walk to the Tudor Packwood House, with 150 acres of parkland and gardens to explore, including the famous Yew Garden.  The journey to Lapworth takes around seven hours and passes through three tunnels.

9. Travel through the Shropshire Lake District to Ellesmere

From Whixall, on a two-night break you can cruise to historic town of Ellesmere and back.  The lock-free journey travels seven miles of the Llangollen Canal and takes around three-and-a-half hours.  You’ll pass a series of meres and mosses, including Whixall Moss nature reserve, Lyneal Moss and Cole Mere.  Once at Ellesmere, you can take time to explore the Mere with its Victorian gardens, woodland paths, sculpture trail and historic castle, as well as places to eat, drink and picnic.

To book one of these special deals

Call the Booking Team on 0117 304 1122 or email us on bookings@anglowelsh.co.uk

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Winter on the Stratford Canal at Wootton Wawen

Winter on the Stratford Canal at Wootton Wawen

Canal Boat Hire for Winter Cruising

By Matt Lucas Stern, boat yard manager at Wootton Wawen

The canals and our boat yard are quieter during the winter months, but not too quiet here at Wootton Wawen as we continue to offer canal boat hire for winter cruising.

Although some of our routes will be affected by winter maintenance on the canals, which this year will include spot dredging on the Worcester & Birmingham Canal, there are no works planned for the Stratford Canal, so our immediate routes remain open.

As the canals are even more peaceful during the winter months they can offer a great way to get away over Christmas. We still see plenty of wildlife here during the winter, including many hedgerow birds like black birds, great tits and robins, as well as plenty of ducks, coots, moorhens, geese, herons and swans, including a couple of resident Australian black swans.

Stratford is probably the most popular Christmas and New Year destination from our boat yard.  The Christmas lights, carol singers and markets make it a very special place to be over the festive period.

Alternatively, boaters can head north from our boat yard and find a choice of pubs with roaring log fires and Christmas menus, including the popular Crabmill at Preston Bagot and the Fleur de Lys at Lowsonford.  And the Yew Tree Farm Shopping Village and Café here at Wootton Wawen is always a fun place to visit during the Christmas build-up.  It’s great for stocking up on Christmas lunch goodies.

I live aboard my boat here at Wootton Wawen with my dog Caesar, so as well as working by the water I’m also lucky enough to live on the water too. Caesar is a miniature English bull terrier who is 14 months old.  He seems to love the life on the canal and walking along the towpath. But he is terrified of ducks!

A dog is a great addition to your crew on any narrowboating holiday as they will enjoy it just as much as you.  Just make sure you keep a close eye on them – Caesar floats about as well as a stone.

I have a 1993 Mike Heywood narrowboat with a Lister air-cooled mid-engine. I’ve started to rebuild my boat’s traditional boat man’s cabin as a homage of the old ways on the canal network.  But there’s plenty of scumbling and roses and castles left to go yet!

With careful planning, my boat stays cosy and warm even during the coldest nights. I have gas central heating – just like all our hire boats.  I also have a multi-fuel stove, something which some of our hire boats also have, including our luxury Heritage Class boat ‘Poppy’.

‘Poppy’ arrived here at Wootton Wawen at the beginning of the 2018 boating season.  Since then she has consistently wowed her hirers with the extra space and facilities she provides for holiday groups of up to four people.  She’s 66ft long – so almost as long as our 12-berth boats.  She has two cabins which can either be configured as doubles or singles and she also has two bathrooms with full size showers.

And from next March, we’ll be adding ‘Collingwood’ to our Wootton Wawen fleet – the first of four new luxury Admiral Class boats.  She will be 57ft and will offer spacious accommodation for two people.  We look forward to welcoming her here next Spring!

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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

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