Here at Great Haywood, on the Trent & Mersey Canal in Staffordshire, we offer canal boat hire all year round, including holidays over Christmas and New Year.
The canals are much quieter in the winter months and there are lots of historic canalside pubs with roaring log fires to stop off at along the way.
The most popular winter cruise destination from Great Haywood is to travel south along the Trent & Mersey Canal to Fradley Junction. This peaceful 12-mile cruise through the Staffordshire countryside takes around five hours, passing through five locks.
Pubs to visit along the way the Wolseley Arms at Wolseley Bridge and The Old Peculiar in the village of Handsacre. Once at Fradley, boaters can find refreshments at the Canalside Café or The Swan Inn.
Alternatively boaters can travel north along the Trent & Mersey Canal to the market town of Stone, passing through Sandon, home to the Dog & Doublet pub, and Burston, home of The Greyhound.
We are lucky to have a number of great attractions close to us at Great Haywood. For example the National Trust’s Shugborough Estate, where the gardens lead right down to the canal less than a mile from here, has some lovely Christmas events. Visitors can see beautiful Christmas decorations in the Georgian Mansion, Servants’ Quarters and Park Farm House from 30 November to 19 December and book tickets for a spectacular Lantern Parade on Friday 20 and Saturday 21 December.
Cannock Chase Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, once a royal hunting forest, and the Staffordshire Wildlife Trust’s Headquarters at The Wolseley Centre are also close to the canal just a few miles away from Great Haywood. Both are wonderful havens for wildlife, with lots to see and do even in the winter months.
We also still see plenty of wildlife on the canal here over the winter, especially woodland and hedgerow birds such as Chaffinch, Robins, Blue and Coal Tits, Jays, Nuthatch, Woodpeckers and our resident pair of swans. We feed the birds all year round, but of course it’s over the winter months that it’s most vital to do so. We provide nutritious wild bird seed, peanuts, fat balls and sesame seeds.
We offer a range of canal boats for hire over the winter, from a cosy narrowboat for two to a family canal boat for 12. They all have central heating, hot water showers, comfortable beds, fully equipped kitchens, WiFi, TV and DVD players, so it’s always nice and warm on board. Our luxury Constellation Class narrowboat for up to six people, ‘Pegasus’ also has a multi-fuel stove.
Over the Christmas week, we’ve got boats going out on the Friday and Saturday before Christmas and while some will return on Christmas Eve, it’s all quiet on Christmas Day and Boxing Day.
This year my wife and I will be cooking Christmas lunch aboard our narrowboat for our two children and two Staffordshire Bull Terriers. Cooking Christmas dinner on a canal boat isn’t that different to a normal kitchen except you don’t have a huge amount of worktop space and you need to be careful not to buy too big a turkey, as most ovens are slightly smaller on boats.
Anglo Welsh Heritage Class – Supporting the Chelsea Pensioners
Anglo Welsh Heritage Class – the best of both worlds
Anglo Welsh now offers two luxury four-berth ‘Heritage Class’ boats for hire: ‘Poppy’ on the Stratford Canal at Wootton Wawen; and ‘Lily’ on the Llangollen Canal at Trevor.
These beautiful luxury canal boats offer all the very best in modern narrowboat facilities, as well as some extra special heritage features.
Facilities on board these spacious boats with semi-traditional sterns include: central heating; LED lighting; two full-size shower rooms; spacious beds with sprung mattresses; a fully fitted galley; TV; DVD; and WiFi.
Heritage features include: port holes; side doors; a Belfast sink; brass fittings; tongue and grove dark stained woodwork; ivory coloured ceilings; and a cratch cover above the front deck for extra protection against the elements when needed.
In partnership with our Sponsor ‘Panda Sanctuaries’ we will continue to expand the Heritage fleet over the coming years.
Proud to support the Chelsea Pensioners
Anglo Welsh is supporting the Chelsea Pensioners by pledging to give £10 to The Royal Hospital Chelsea and Chelsea Pensioner’s Active Ageing Appeal for every booking made on ‘Poppy’ between 1 November 2019 and 1 November 2020.
Allan McLaren of The Chelsea Pensioners explains: “War and conflict take their toll on a soldier’s body and mind. Mental and physical scars often only surface in later years.
“The Royal Hospital Chelsea and the Chelsea Pensioners are delighted Anglo Welsh have chosen to support our Active Aging Appeal. Your support will help The Royal Hospital Chelsea provide the best possible care for those willing to risk their lives yesterday to give us the freedom we enjoy today. Our new activity centre will enable more Pensioners to stay active, pursue hobbies and interests every day to enhance their mental and physical well-being and combat isolation.”
By Kevin Yarwood, manager of Anglo Welsh’s Great Haywood canal boat rental base
Our narrowboat hire base, at the junction of the Staffordshire & Worcestershire Canal and the Trent & Mersey Canal at Great Haywood in Staffordshire, is surrounded by countryside, trees and hedgerows, and consequently lots of wildlife too.
This year we took part in the RSPB’s annual Bird Garden Watch and spotted so many species of bird that the charity got in touch with us to check our findings.
From water birds like swans, ducks, coots, moorhens, cormorants, geese and kingfishers, to woodland and hedgerow birds like jays, sparrows, blue tits, great tits, bull finches, green finches, dunnocks and tree creepers, every day we see busy birds visiting the canal and our bird feeders.
We’ve also seen otters close by at the aqueduct, where the Staffordshire & Worcestershire Canal crosses the River Trent, hedgehogs and at dusk over the summer months we see bats whizzing across the water collecting their insect prey.
As well as working in this special place, I live here on a narrowboat with my family, so I’m passionate about protecting the waterway and the animals that rely on it.
For nearly two years, we’ve been selling aquatic-friendly ‘Poddy’ cleaning products, including a washing up liquid and multi-surface cleaner, in our boat yard shop. Feedback from our customers is consistently excellent, with some asking if they can buy extra supplies to use every day at home, as well as on their narrowboat holiday.
The Canal & River Trust’s Plastics Challenge launched last May is something close to my heart and everyone here at Great Haywood is committed to keeping our own stretch of canal plastic free. It really does make a difference if everyone works together to both litter pick any stray plastic on the towpath or in the water, and to reduce the amount of plastic we use in our everyday lives by making some simple switches like investing in re-useable drinks bottles and coffee cups.
We also have recycling facilities here at the boat yard and so canal boat holiday-makers who are keen to (and most are), can recycle at the end of their holiday.
This month we are delighted to be hosting a visit from our local primary school, so we are looking forward to passing on our love of the canal environment and all the animals and birds that depend upon it.
We offer a range of different types of holidays such as City Breaks, Relaxation Cruises and Popular Destinations
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.
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