The narrowboat holiday kit list: what to pack for your staycation
Our canal boats are like floating holiday cottages, so you’ll find many of the comforts of home waiting for you on board. This includes a galley kitchen equipped with cutlery, crockery, cooking utensils, saucepans, a gas cooker with an oven and grill and a fridge with a small freezer compartment. Bed linen and towels are supplied and you’ll also find hand towels in the bathrooms and tea towels in the kitchen.
There’s a surprising amount of storage space on board for your belongings, but you should still pack sensibly. To help you prepare for your narrowboat holiday, we’ve put together a list of useful items to pack:
Extra towels – While bath and hand towels are provided on board our boats, we do recommend bringing some extra, especially during the wetter months, or if you’re bringing pets along.
Re-usable items – to help to reduce the amount of plastic you acquire during your holiday, don’t forget to pack your re-useable shopping bags. Re-useable plastic bottles and coffee cups are also recommended to help minimise single-use waste.
DVDs & games – cards and board games are a great way to spend cosy nights afloat. You might also wish to pack some DVDs, as a consistent TV reception cannot be guaranteed on the canals.
A torch – country moorings can get very dark at night, which is fantastic for stargazing, but not so much for finding your way back from the canalside pubs in the evenings!
Extra toilet roll – we supply some toilet roll in our loos, but do bring along extra. Please ensure that they are not quilted and please don’t use wipes.
Shampoo & body wash – the water you use to wash with will empty straight into the canal, which is why we recommend you pack eco-friendly, micro-bead free shampoos, conditioners, face and body washes.
Prepare for all weather types – if it’s wet, you’ll need a reliable waterproof jacket and a large golfing umbrella for the skipper. In sunnier weather, you’ll need a hat, sunglasses and sun cream. Gloves are recommended for working the locks and for steering when it’s cold.
Sensible footwear – trainers or rubber-soled shoes are the best choice for boating and lock working. It’s also a good idea to bring slippers or warm socks to wear on board in the evenings.
Binoculars – wildlife spotting is one of the most special things about a canal boat holiday, so pack some binoculars if you own them to enhance your experience.
A canal map – there are some great canal maps available to buy in advance from our Booking Team or in our boatyard shops, for example the Nicholson’s or Pearson’s guides. You can also plan your trip online using the mapping tools on the Canal & River Trust’s website, but be aware that mobile phone signals can be patchy along the canal network.
Drinks – the water on board is drinkable once boiled, but we recommend that you bring a large bottle for drinking water to top up at water points. If you want to enjoy a glass of wine after a day of exploring all the canals have to offer, boxed wine is a great space saver and safer to transport than bottled wine.
Condiments – the galley kitchens on board our boats are fully equipped for home cooking, but don’t forget to pack some extra flavourings, such as salt & pepper, sauces, herbs and spices.
Phone chargers – our boats have 240 volt 3-pin sockets powered by the onboard batteries so you can charge your phones, tablets and cameras on board. But to avoid draining the batteries, we advise you to only do this when the engine is running as there is a limit to power available. Anything below 1000 watts can be plugged in, for example blenders, cool boxes and hair straighteners, but nothing above 1000 watts is permitted – so no kettles, irons, hairdryers or heaters. See our electrical safety page for more info.
Your pet’s bed – all our boats are pet friendly, and maximum of two pets are welcome on board provided you let us know at the time of booking. Remember to bring your pet’s blanket or basket with you as they are not permitted on the beds or chairs. Don’t forget to bring poo bags, too!
First aid kit – we recommend you pack a basic first aid kit, including antiseptic, plasters & bandages, in case of any cuts, scrapes or sprains. Remember your trusty hand sanitiser, too!
Celebrate National Pet Month with a Canal Boat Holiday
To celebrate National Pet Month, here at Anglo Welsh we are waiving our second pet price of £25 – £35, on canal boat holidays booked to depart throughout April. To claim this offer, please quote ‘National Pet Month’ when booking!
Your first pet already goes free as part of all our holiday packages. Narrowboat holidays are especially great for dogs – with plenty of towpath walks and dog-friendly canalside pubs.
As well as dogs, we’ve accommodated many other kinds of pets aboard our floating holiday homes, including cats, guinea pigs, tortoises, lizards, caged birds and even goldfish.
To celebrate our April offer, we’ve listed our Top 7 short break staycations for dog owners this Spring:
Cruise along the Trent & Mersey Canal to Cannock Chase – From our barge hire base at Great Haywood in Staffordshire, you can visit Cannock Chase Forest, with miles of walking trails and a special 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. The Wolseley Centre and Nature Reserve is next to the Trent & Mersey Canal at Wolseley Bridge and offers a great gateway to Cannock Chase.
Navigate the River Thames to Lechlade – From our narrowboat hire base on the River Thames at our Oxford base, you can cruise west to the pretty market town of Lechlade on the edge of the Cotswolds. Along the way, you’ll pass through miles of peaceful Oxfordshire countryside, with plenty of dog walking locations. In the village of Radcot, there’s a dog-friendly bar in the Ye Olde Swan Hotel, and at Lechlade there’s a choice of dog-friendly pubs, including the Swan Inn.
Float along the Kennet & Avon Canal to Caen Hill – From our canal boat rental base at Monkton Combe near Bath, you can travel to Foxhanger Wharf, at the bottom of the Caen Hill flight of locks at Devizes. Along the way, you’ll pass through miles of peaceful Wiltshire countryside, with a series of charming 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 of 29 locks, one of the Seven Wonders of the Waterways.
Cruise the Leeds & Liverpool Canal to Saltaire –From our canal boat hire base at Silsden in West Yorkshire, you can reach Saltaire, near Bradford. This World Heritage Site was founded on the banks of the Leeds & Liverpool Canal in 1851 by Sir Titus Salt, as a place for his woollen mill to operate and workers to live. Today, Salts Mill has a number of galleries, including the David Hockney Gallery with portraits of the artist’s beloved Dachshunds, Stanley and Boogie. The nearby Hirst Wood Nature Reserve is a great place to exercise your dog, with a dog friendly café nearby for refreshments.
Navigate the Llangollen Canal to Ellesmere – From our narrowboat hire base at Trevor in North Wales, you can cruise to the stunning Shropshire Lake District. Along the way, you’ll pass over the UNESCO World Heritage Pontcysyllte Aqueduct and a series of dog-friendly pubs, including The Bridge Inn at Chirk Bank. When you reach Ellesmere, there are lots of walking trails to choose from, including waterside routes at The Mere.
Take the Stratford Canal to Packwood House – From our canal boat rental base at Wootton Wawen in Warwickshire, you can cruise to the National Trust’s beautiful Packwood House. Packwood’s magnificent gardens include herbaceous borders, a Kitchen Garden, Memorial Orchard, wildflower meadows and 350-year old Yew Garden. Dogs are welcome at Packwood on public footpaths across the estate, on the café terrace and in the barnyard.
Cruise the Shropshire Union & Llangollen canals to Wrenbury – From our base at Bunbury in Cheshire, you can reach the historic village of Wrenbury. The South Cheshire Way passes through it, so there are lots of countryside walks to enjoy. And there’s a choice of pubs to visit, including the dog-friendly canalside Dusty Miller.
Book your pet-friendly boating holiday by calling our Booking Team on 0117 304 1122. Please note: pets are not permitted on soft furnishings on board, so please bring along their own beds and blankets.
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.
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.”
Fancy doing something different for your family holiday this summer? A holiday on board a narrowboat is a wonderful way to bring the family together as it offers a varied and exciting experience with something for every age group to enjoy. With constantly changing scenery and the chance to explore a new destination daily, holidays on the canals offer an amazing range of sights, attractions and activities. With the help of our friendly Bookings Team, you can shape your canal boat holiday to suit your needs and desires – from the style and size of narrowboat you hire, which location you set out from and your desired destination(s).
Any parent will tell you – kids are easily bored. An active, exciting holiday on the canals in which they are regularly on the move, seeing and experiencing new things every day, is the perfect choice to keep your little ones entertained.
With miles of canal towpaths and open countryside along the waterways, narrowboat holidays offer plenty of outdoor space for kids to run around and play in the fresh country air so that they collapse in bed and sleep soundlessly at the end of each day.
Most children love the novelty of staying on the water and the workings of the narrowboat, so life on the canals can be a great excitement. Helping to navigate the boat through a tunnel or working a lock offers a brand-new activity to get involved in that is far different from their day-to-day.
As well as the open countryside, canal boat holidays can also offer the opportunity to visit countless attractions that will appeal to your little ones, from the sweet allure of Cadbury World which sits right next to the Worcester & Birmingham Canal in Bournville, to the thrills of Alton Towers, accessible from the Caldon Canal, and the excitement of Chester Zoo, not far from our hire base at Bunbury.
Teenagers commonly seek independence and freedom to roam, which can make it difficult to satisfy their needs on a family getaway. Narrowboat holidays offer the chance for teenagers to take themselves off for walks, runs or bike rides along the traffic-free towpaths. Towpaths also make it almost impossible to get lost, easing the minds of worried parents!
There are also lots of water-based activities on offer along the canals. Kayaking, canoeing, paddle boarding and fishing may appeal to teenagers in the family – and may even convince them to look away from their mobile phones!
Teenagers are also prone to boredom, so the constant movement and change of scenery that comes with a narrowboat holiday will satisfy their need for new surroundings. A canal boat holiday that combines both urban and rural surroundings is likely to appeal most teenagers – although this will depend upon the individual and their interests.
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 our barges. Hopefully though, there will be enough distraction and excitement to make this unnecessary!
Narrowboat getaways are ideal for groups of friends or for couples wanting a unique romantic break. Our canal boats, built for the comfort and enjoyment of all our guests, range from cosy two-berth barges perfect for couples, to 12-berth ‘floating hotels’ ideal for large group holidays. There are a variety of city break destinations on offer along the canals such as Bath, Oxford, Birmingham and Chester, all of which offer the perfect blend of beauty, history and culture – as well as great places to eat and drink.
For group holidays, the choice of activities and destinations available along the canals works perfectly. Some crew members might wish to head off and explore the sights, while others choose to relax on board, or moor up by a canalside pub to enjoy a well-deserved pint. A canal boat holiday can take in historic towns and cities, rural loveliness, famous sights and a huge selection of activities that will keep even the most diverse group of people happy.
With fully equipped galley kitchens, our narrowboats are well set up for cooking delicious meals onboard. There are also countless tempting spots to go out for dinner and drinks along the waterways, if you want to treat yourself to a meal out.
For parents, a canal boat holiday is the ideal getaway to cater to both their children and themselves. As we’ve already mentioned, there is so much on offer along the canals to keep children occupied which will afford parents time to relax and enjoy themselves. It’s almost impossible not to be enchanted by the picturesque charm of the waterways. For parents who spend much of their lives racing around trying to balance their family, work and social lives, slowing down to the serene pace of 4mph can offer much-needed peace and tranquillity. By trading the whirlwind of day-to-day life for the calm of the canals, they can escape any anxieties, breathe deeper and destress.
Parents may wish to mix things up by experiencing a taste of city life afloat as well as some rural cruising, or simply stick to serene countryside routes. Some canal routes are renowned for their fascinating historic sights, museums and feats of engineering, while others boast abundant wildlife or incredible dramatic scenery. But what all canals provide is the opportunity to get outside and get active. Essentially, parents can customise their narrowboat holiday to ensure that all members of the family are kept happy throughout, including themselves. Our boats are all pet-friendly, so you can even bring along a maximum of two furry friends to join the adventure.
Now more than ever, we are appreciating the importance of spending quality time with extended family members, and it is lovely for grandparents to be able to join their children and grandchildren on family holidays. Spending time with extended family also benefits everyone that little bit more, as it enables parents to share the childcare while granny or grandpa spends some quality time with the little ones.
A narrowboat holiday is a fantastic way to bring everyone together as it can be as active or relaxing as the crew members wish. Grandparents who are still super fit and active will love the outdoorsy element, while those who may be less mobile can still enjoy the calm and serenity of life on the water from the comforts of our well-furnished narrowboats. Towpaths offer secure and relatively flat walking routes, with most being tarmacked or paved for ease of access.
Grandparents, like parents, are sure to love the rich range of destinations along the waterways. There are bustling 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 an abundance of stately homes, castles, parks and gardens in addition to the natural beauty of the British countryside.
Most importantly, everyone onboard is required to help out on and off the boat, from steering and mooring up, to working the locks. A narrowboat holiday is all about teamwork and coming together. It brings everyone closer, united by a shared goal to get to their desired destination as efficiently as possible, all while having lots of fun and enjoying time together as a family along the way.
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.
We offer a range of different types of holidays such as City Breaks, Relaxation Cruises and Popular Destinations
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.
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