Britain’s canal network was built by hand more than 200 years ago, and the blood, sweat and tears of countless hours’ work, as well as many more grisly incidents, have left their ghostly mark on the waterways.
Canal users often report strange occurrences along Britain’s 2,000 mile network of canals and rivers, so we’ve put together our Top 8 creepy canal destinations ready for Halloween.
Get the chills in Chester – at Chester’s old Northgate where the canal was dug into part of the town’s moat, a Roman centurion can sometimes be seen guarding the entrance to the city. From our boat yard on the Shropshire Union Canal at Bunbury near Tarporley, it’s a seven hour cruise to Chester, passing through nine locks along the way.
Meet ‘The Man Monkey’ – at Bridge 39 near Norbury, sightings of a hideous black, shaggy coated being are believed to be the ghost of a boatman drowned here in the 19th century. From our narrowboat hire base at Great Haywood, it’s a 36-mile, 14-lock journey to Norbury, which takes around 17 hours.
Watch out for the phantom at Blisworth – at Blisworth Tunnel, near Stoke Bruerne in Northamptonshire, a mysterious candlelit phantom appears at the spot where 14 navvies died in a rock fall during the construction of the tunnel in the late 18th century. From our canal boat hire base at Stockton on the Grand Union Canal, it’s a 13-hour, 17-lock cruise to Stoke Bruerne, passing through the 2,813-metre-long Blisworth Tunnel, the third longest navigable tunnel on the UK canal network.
Steer a course for an aqueduct apparition – on moonlit nights an eerie figure can sometimes be seen gliding along the towpath by the Pontcysyllte Aqueduct, a UNESCO World Heritage site on the Llangollen Canal. From our narrowboat hire base at Trevor, the aqueduct is a 10-minute cruise away.
Head for horror at Harecastle Tunnel – a shrieking boggart – the ghost of Kit Crewbucket who was murdered and whose headless corpse was dumped in the canal – is said to inhabit Harecastle Tunnel at Kidsgrove. From our canal boat hire base at Great Haywood, on the Trent & Mersey Canal in Staffordshire, it’s a 22-mile, 18-lock journey to Harecastle Tunnel, which takes around 10 hours.
Listen to cries for help at Lapworth – the ghost of a boatman – who lost his footing on the bridge as he walked back from the Navigation Inn to his working boat in the 1940s, falling through the ice and drowning – can sometimes be heard shouting for help in cold weather. It takes seven hours to travel lock-free to Lapworth from our narrowboat hire base at Tardebigge, on the Worcester & Birmingham Canal near Bromsgrove.
Aim for Astley if you want to get spooked – at Astley on the Bridgewater Canal, a mysterious grey lady – thought to be the ghost of 18 year-old Ann Mort who died of a broken heart after her parents banished her suitor – appears to be searching for her lost love. From our canal boat hire base at Bunbury, it’s a 58-mile, 11-lock journey to Astley, which takes around 23 hours.
Be prepared for screaming at Betton – at Betton Cutting on the Shropshire Union Canal near Market Drayton, which has always had a dark reputation among boating people, a shrieking spectre has been seen and heard. From our boat yard at Great Haywood in Staffordshire, it’s a 19-hour, 19-lock journey to Market Drayton.
To book a holiday or break on any of Anglo Welsh’s fleet, call our friendly Booking Team on 0117 304 1122.
Every year more people experience the delights of holidaying on Britain’s beautiful inland waterways network.
You don’t have to be an expert and you don’t need a licence to steer a canal boat. It’s easy for first-timers to learn to operate our boats and as part of all our narrowboat holiday packages, we provide hirers with expert boat steering tuition.
With our nationally accredited handover, we’ll make sure you’re comfortable and in control before you set off. There is a manual on board every boat if you need to check on anything and our engineering teams are on hand 24 hours a day to help over the phone or come out to you if you need them.
So, if you’ve thought about taking a canal boat holiday, but you’re not sure where to begin, here’s a list of Top 8 short break narrow boat holidays for newcomers for 2019 to get you started:
Head to Birmingham lock-free – with no locks between our canal boat rental base at Tardebigge and Birmingham City Centre, this five-hour cruise is perfect for novice canal boaters. The first half of the journey passes through fields, woodlands and sleepy villages before becoming more urbanised. Once you reach the centre of Birmingham, there are over-night moorings at Gas Street Basin, with easy access to Brindley Place waterside restaurants, the Sea Life Centre, glitzy Mailbox shopping and other leading attractions.
Learn the ropes on the Llangollen – passing through stunning North Wales landscapes, the Llangollen Canal is one of the most popular on the network. With just two locks along the way, the seven-hour journey from our boat yard at Trevor to Ellesmere and back offers a fantastic short break holiday for beginners. The route includes the experience of travelling across the incredible UNESCO World Heritage status Pontcysyllte Aqueduct, with jaw-dropping panoramic views of the Dee Valley 38 metres below and passing through Chirk Tunnel.
Dip your toe in the water at Bath – from our canal boat rental base at Sydney Wharf on the Kennet & Avon Canal in Bath, it takes just four hours to cruise to the lovely market town of Bradford on Avon, with just one lock to pass through. Skirting the southern foothills of the Cotswolds, the route passes over two stunning Bath stone aqueducts and past the popular Cross Guns Inn at Avoncliff. Bradford on Avon is an architectural treasure chest with many beautiful buildings, including the magnificent 14th century monastic stone Tithe Barn.
Float gently along to Fradley – from our boat yard at Great Haywood, you can head south along the Trent & Mersey Canal to Fradley Junction, where the Coventry Canal meets the Trent & Mersey. The journey takes around five hours, travelling 12 peaceful miles and passing through just five locks. At Fradley, take time to enjoy refreshments at the Canalside Café or The Swan Inn and a wander around the Fradley Pool Nature Reserve, where a woodland trail and boardwalk offers a delightful tour of the reserve.
Take to the tiller along the Thames – from our Oxford narrowboat hire base at Eynsham near Witney, you can enjoy a Thames boating holiday. It takes just over three hours, passing through four locks to reach City centre moorings in Oxford and many of the locks along the Thames are manned, so there’s often help on hand for newcomers. Once in Oxford, you take time to explore all that this fascinating city has to offer, including the famous Bodleian Library, Carfax Tower, Ashmolean Museum and traditional pubs like the Lamb & Flag, steeped in literary and film history.
Cruise up the Shroppie to historic Chester – it’s a seven-hour, nine-lock journey to the ancient city of Chester from our Bunbury canal boat hire base on the Shropshire Union Canal in Cheshire. The route passes through glorious English countryside and villages with historic local pubs, including The Ring O’Bells at Christleton and The Shady Oak at Bates Mill Bridge. Once in Chester, take time to explore this cosmopolitan ancient city, with its Roman Amphitheatre, city walls, Chester Rows shops, 1,000-year old cathedral, racecourse and award-winning Zoo.
Test the waters on the Leeds & Liverpool – setting off from our Silsden base on the Leeds & Liverpool Canal in West Yorkshire, the journey to Gargrave travels 12 miles through just three locks, and takes around 6½ hours. Along the way, you’ll pass through the historic town of Skipton, with one of best preserved medieval castles in England. Once at Gargrave, there are plenty of pubs, including The Mason’s Arms and Cross Keys Inn, and as it’s on the edge of the Yorkshire Dales National Park, there’s also over 680 square miles of some of England’s finest walking country to explore.
Cross the border into Wales surrounded by breath-taking scenery – from our new canal boat hire base at Whixall Marina on the Llangollen Canal in Shropshire, on a short break narrowboat holiday-makers can cruise to Chirk and back in 16 hours, encountering just two locks. The route passes Whixall Moss nature reserve and Ellesmere, also known as the Shropshire Lake District, where visitors can enjoy strolling round the Mere’s Victorian gardens, woodland paths and historic castle. At Chirk, where the Llangollen Canal encounters the Welsh border, there’s a choice of canal side pubs and the National Trust’s Chirk Castle, one of several medieval marcher fortresses built on the Welsh-English border.
To book your first holiday with us, call our friendly booking team on 0117 304 1122.
Autumn is a great time to visit the waterways and get the whole family out in the fresh air to experience an adventure afloat.
You can enjoy seeing the beautiful colours in the trees and hedgerows that line the canals, wake up to misty mornings and visit some of the exciting waterside destinations offering special October Half Term events, many of them Halloween related.
So, whether you are beginner looking for an easy short break route to test the waters, or a seasoned canal boater looking for a longer more challenging route, take a look at our Top 9 spooky half term destinations this October:
Enjoy a Halloween Monster Mash at the National Waterways Museum – from our boat yard on the Shropshire Union Canal at Bunbury, the National Waterways Museum at Ellesmere Port is a 21-mile, 16-lock cruise away, taking narrowboat holiday-makers through the beautiful Cheshire countryside and ancient City of Chester along the way. The Museum’s historic boat collection, docks, warehouses, forge, stables and workers cottages, bring the past vividly to life with costumed characters and guided tours, and on the 27th and 28th of October the Museum will be hosting a special ‘Halloween Monster Mash’ event with a trick or treat promenade performance from the Boaty Theatre Company.
Experience the Ascarium at Birmingham’s Sea Life Centre – from our canal boat hire base at Tardebigge on the Worcester & Birmingham Canal near Bromsgrove, it’s a five-hour, lock-free journey to moorings at Gas Street Basin in Birmingham City Centre, close to Brindleyplace and its fantastic Sea Life Centre. From the 20th October to the 4th of November, the Sea Life Centre will be hosting its ‘Ascarium’ event, offering visitors the chance to step into the deep and follow an immersive trail past some of the creepiest sea creatures, including the blob fish, goblin sharks and barrel eye fish.
Try Pumpkin Pottery Painting at the World of Wedgewood – on a short break from our canal boat hire base at Great Haywood on the Trent & Mersey Canal in Staffordshire, canal boat holiday-makers can cruise to the World of Wedgewood in around seven hours, passing through 12 locks and travelling 13 miles. From 27th October to the 4th November, the Museum will be hosting special half term activities, including Halloween pottery painting, a Big Draw competition, Factory Tours and Museum Trails.
Unlock bat mysteries at the University of Oxford’s Natural History Museum – take a Thames boating holiday from our Oxford narrowboat rental base, and you can reach moorings in the centre of Oxford in just three hours, passing through four locks along the way. From there, the University of Oxford’s Natural History Museum is short walk away, where an internationally significant collection of natural history specimens is on display, as well as a special exhibition of the studies of UK bat populations in Wytham Woods. Offering a unique insight into the behaviour of these mysterious night dwellers, ‘Bats: The Mystery Beings’ is on until 8th January 2019.
Make a monstrous Gorgon’s head badge at the Roman Baths Museum – from our barge holiday base on the Kennet & Avon Canal at Brassknocker Basin, it’s a four-hour journey, passing through six locks to moorings in the centre of the UNESCO World Heritage City of Bath. Once there, you can explore some of the City’s top attractions, including the Roman Baths where over half term (27th October to 2nd November), as well as learning about this incredible Roman site, families can find out who the Gorgon was and make a Gorgon’s head badge.
Get spooked at Warwick Castle’s Haunted event – in just over seven hours from our canal boat hire base at Stockton on the Grand Union Canal in Warwickshire you can reach the moorings close to the incredible medieval castle on the banks of the River Avon at Warwick. Over the half term break (20th October to 4th November), the Castle is hosting its ‘Spooktacular Haunted Castle’ event with live shows at the Dead Centre Stage, The Witches Tower, spooky Halloween Trail, Flight of the Eagles displays, Horrible Histories Maze, The Castle Dungeon tour and the Mighty Trebuchet in action.
Find out about the Pendle Witches at Barrowford – from our canal boat rental base at Silsden on the Leeds & Liverpool Canal, it takes around 15 hours, passing through 20 locks and the mile-long Foulridge Tunnel, to reach the village of Barrowford, home to the Pendle Heritage Centre. Here, visitors will find an exhibition on the famous Pendle Witch Trial of 1612 and walking routes into the Forest of Bowland Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty and Pendle Hill.
Visit the haunted house of Plas Newydd at Llangollen – on a short break from our canal boat hire base at Trevor on the Llangollen Canal in North Wales, it takes just two hours to reach the idyllic town of Llangollen, home to the remarkable Plas Newydd House. In the late 18th century this fascinating stone built house was turned into gothic fantasy by its most famous inhabitants, the Ladies of Llangollen. Today visitors can enjoy exploring enchanting gardens and the fascinating oak carved panelled interiors, said to be haunted by ghostly apparitions and heavy dragging sounds from the upper floors.
Step aboard the SS Great Britain for a Victorian fright-fest– from our narrowboat hire base on the Kennet & Avon Canal at Bath, canal boat holiday-makers can travel west to Bristol’s Floating Harbour* in eight hours, passing through 13 locks. Once there boaters can moor up to visit the SS Great Britain and take a night time Spooky Ship Tour, available from 31st October to 3rd November. On these special Halloween tours, goulish guides will take visitors to the darkest nooks and crannies of Brunel’s 175-year old ship to experience eerie sights, sounds and smells and listen to terrible tales told by creepy characters lurking in the shadows. *NB this route is recommended route for experienced boaters and overnight mooring fees will apply.
Visiting local markets and independent shops to find fresh ingredients for cooking on board can be a fun and inspiring element of a holiday afloat. The 2,000 miles of navigable waterways that criss-cross England and Wales pass through dozens of market towns and cities, offering exciting local produce and a welcome break from the usual weekly supermarket shop.
Here are our top 10 destinations for foodies looking for special treats and ingredients:
Snugburys ice cream shop at Hurleston. This famous ice cream shop making award winning ice cream is close to the Shropshire Union Canal at Hurleston near Nantwich. Located on the Snugbury family farm, this wonderful shop offers 55 mouth-watering flavours, all made from fresh British cream, including chocolate brownie, raspberry pavlova, crème brulee, clotted cream vanilla, amaretto and Turkish delight. From our canal boat hire base at Bunbury, it takes just one hour to reach Hurleston Junction, and from there it’s a short walk to Snugburys.
Stone Farmers Market. Renowned as the ‘foodie capital’ of North Staffordshire, on the first Saturday of every month (except January), Stone’s popular Farmers Market lines the town’s pretty Georgian High Street. With over 50 stalls offering locally-reared meats, breads, preserves, cakes, honey, cheese, fruit, vegetables and smoked fish, it’s a mecca for foodies. From our narrowboat hire base at Great Haywood on the Trent & Mersey Canal it takes five hours to reach Stone.
The Cheese Shop at Bradford on Avon. Located in the heart of historic Bradford on Avon, this little shop is bursting with flavours and aromas, pure heaven for cheese lovers. As well as an impressive range of fine cheeses, there Cheese Shop offers exciting lunch options from its well-stocked deli, including delicious home-made quiches, prepared and baked daily, as well as a large selection of local chutneys to go perfectly with the cheese. From our narrowboat rental base at Bath, it takes just four hours to reach Bradford on Avon.
Stratford’s Farmers Market. On the first and third Saturday of each month, Stratford upon Avon’s Farmers Market meets in Rother Street, selling a wide range of local produce. From rare breed and game meats, organic vegetables, eggs, cheese, freshly baked bread and cakes to wine, confectionery, jams and pickles. There’s also a fantastic hot food stand offering outdoor bred roasted pork, bacon and sausage. From our canal barge hire base at Wootton Wawen on the Stratford Canal near Henley-in-Arden it six hours to reach Stratford upon Avon.
Bailey’s Deli in Llangollen. The pretty town of Llangollen on the edge of the Berwyn Mountains, offers a range of independent shops, including Bailey’s Deli. Located in the Town Hall, Bailey’s offers a great range of pies, sausage rolls, Welsh Oggies, Scotch eggs, cooked butcher’s meat, cakes, farm ice cream, chocolates, fudge, sandwiches, cheeses, mustards, jams and marmalade, as well as ales, whiskies, spirits and mead. From our boat yard at Trevor on the Llangollen Canal in North Wales, it takes just two hours to reach Llangollen.
The Covered Market in Oxford. This fabulous historic market space in the centre of Oxford offers products from a large number of specialist independent traders, offering crafts, food and drink. Edible fare includes fresh fruit, vegetables, breads, cakes, meats and cheeses. Moorings at Hythe Bridge, just a short walk from the Covered Market can be reached from our Thames boating holiday base at Eynsham, near Witney.
Keelham Farm Shop in Skipton. Showcasing the region’s best locally grown and reared produce, Keelham Farm Shop on Gargrave Road in Skipton stocks produce from over 400 local suppliers in dedicated butchers, greengrocer, bakery and delicatessen sections. It also has an ale house offering beers from more than 20 local breweries. Skipton can be reached in just three hours from our narrowboat hire base on the Leeds & Liverpool Canal at Silsden.
Fresh fish at the Bull Ring Indoor Market. The indoor market at Birmingham’s magnificent Bull Ring is home to one of the UK’s largest fish markets. Open from Monday to Saturday, 9am to 5.30pm, as well as an impressive choice of quality fish and seafood, visitors to the indoor market and also buy meat, exotic fruits and vegetables. From our canal boat hire base at Tardebigge on the Worcester & Birmingham Canal near Bromsgrove, it takes five hours to reach city centre moorings in Gas Street Basin.
Aubrey Allen’s butchers in Leamington Spa. Offering outstanding quality cooked and uncooked meat, as well as deli products and artisan cheeses, this multi-award winning family business on Warwick Street is one of the best known butchers in the Midlands. Leamington Spa can be reached in six hours from our Stockton boat yard on the Grand Union Canal in Warwickshire.
Treacle Market in Macclesfield. Named after a centuries old incident when a treacle wagon overturned in Macclesfield’s cobbled town centre, Treacle Market offers exceptional food and drink, including local farm cheese, great north pies, sourdough, apple juice and fresh farm eggs. The market takes place the last Sunday of the month, from 10am to 3.30pm. The journey to Macclesfield takes 21 hours from our canal boat hire base on the Trent & Mersey Canal at Great Haywood.
Autumn is a great time to get afloat and enjoy the beautiful colours in the trees and hedgerows along our amazing inland waterways network.
All our boats are equipped with the key comforts of home – central heating, hot water, TV, WiFi, well-stocked kitchens, showers and flushing toilets – and our Bond, Constellation and Heritage Class luxury canal boats all provide extra space and comfort. So whether you are beginner looking for a short break easy route to test the waters, or a seasoned canal boater looking for a longer more challenging route, why not book a narrowboat holiday break this autumn and choose from hundreds of fantastic waterside destinations.
Here are our Top 9 destinations to enjoy this autumn:
Experience the acoustic delights of Birmingham’s Symphony Hall. From our canal boat hire base at Tardebigge on the Worcester & Birmingham Canal near Bromsgrove, it’s a five-hour, lock-free journey to moorings at Gas Street Basin in Birmingham City Centre. From there, it’s a short walk to Birmingham’s Symphony Hall, one of the best concert halls in the world and home of the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra, offering audiences the best in classical music, jazz, world music, folk, rock, pop and stand-up comedy.
Explore arms and armour from across the world at the Royal Armouries Museum. From our canal boat rental base at Silsden on the Leeds & Liverpool Canal, it takes 17 hours, passing through 28 locks to reach the Royal Armouries Museum at Leeds Dock – perfect for a week afloat. Home to the national collection of arms and armour, there are thousands of objects to admire across nine galleries, including the ‘Tula garniture’, an 18th century set of decorated hunting weapons that belonged to Elizabeth Petrovana the Empress of Russia in the Hunting Gallery, and a 15th century Ming dynasty sword from the workshop of the Yongle Ming Emperor in the Oriental Gallery.
Take a floating tour of the West Midlands. On a week’s holiday from our Stockton canal boat rental base on the Grand Union Canal in Warwickshire, narrowboat holiday-makers can tackle the 101-mile, 94-lock Warwickshire Ring, which takes around 53 hours. The route takes boaters along sections of the Coventry, Oxford, Grand Union, Stratford and Birmingham & Fazeley canals. Highlights include historic Warwick with its incredible medieval castle on the banks of the River Avon, the magnificent Hatton Flight of 21 locks, the pretty canal village of Braunston and vibrant Gas Street Basin in the heart of Birmingham.
See the Tolkien exhibition at the Bodleian Library. Take a Thames boating holiday from our Oxford narrowboat hire base, and it takes just three hours to reach City Centre moorings at Hythe Bridge. From there, it’s a short walk to many of Oxford’s most famous attractions, including the magnificent Bodleian Library, one of the oldest libraries in Europe. Accessed through the Old Schools Quadrangle of the Divinity School, a breath taking masterpiece of English Gothic architecture, until 28 October 2018 the Bodleian Library is hosting an exhibition of over 200 items from the Library’s extensive Tolkien Archive.
Enjoy panoramic views from Chester’s Roman walls. From our canal boat hire base on the Shropshire Union Canal at Bunbury, the Roman City of Chester is a delightful seven-hour, nine-lock cruise away, travelling through the rolling Cheshire landscape. Once there, boaters can take time to explore this great heritage city, home to the most complete City Walls in Britain which date back 2,000 years to the Roman occupation. There’s a two-mile wall-walking trail, giving visitors the chance to follow in the footsteps of Roman soldiers and enjoy panoramic views on both sides.
Glide across the Stream in the Sky to Whitchurch. On a week’s holiday from our canal barge holiday hire centre at Trevor on the Llangollen Canal in North Wales, boaters can travel to Whitchurch and back, which takes a total of 44 hours, passing through just four locks (two on the way, two on the way back). Along the way, canal boat holiday-makers encounter the incredible UNESCO World Heritage designated Pontcysyllte Aqueduct, which carries the canal in a cast iron trough 38 metres high above the Dee Valley. Once at Whitchurch, boaters can moor up to explore this pretty historic town with half-timbered buildings, independent shops and restaurants, way-marked circular walks, water voles at Staggs Brook, woodpeckers at Brown Moss nature reserve and the award-winning Black Bear pub.
Travel the Birmingham Mini-Ring. On a week’s holiday from our narrowboat hire base at Wootton Wawen on the Stratford Canal, canal boat holiday-makers can travel the Birmingham Mini-Ring, cruising for 35 hours and passing through 83 locks. The route takes boaters through peaceful stretches of the Warwickshire countryside, with quiet villages and historic waterside pubs to enjoy, and then right into the heart of Britain’s Second City. Here there are moorings in Gas Street Basin, the perfect base from which to explore some of the City’s top attractions, including Brindleyplace, the Mailbox Shopping Centre and the Birmingham Museum & Art Gallery, home to the world’s largest collection of Pre-Raphaelite art.
Visit No 1 Royal Crescent in fabulous Georgian Bath. From our barge holiday base on the Kennet & Avon Canal at Brassknocker Basin, it’s a four-hour journey, passing through six locks to reach moorings in the centre of the UNESCO World Heritage City of Bath – perfect for a short break afloat. Once moored up, boaters can explore some of the City’s top attractions, including the Roman Baths, Bath Abbey and No 1 Royal Crescent where each room offers a fascinating example of Georgian interior design with authentic furniture, paintings, textiles and carpets.
Cruise into the Peak District to enjoy magnificent scenery. On a week’s break from our narrowboat hire base at Great Haywood on the Trent & Mersey Canal, canal boat holiday-makers can cruise into the beautiful Peak District. It’s a 43-hour return journey to Froghall and back, travelling a total of 72 miles (36 each way) through 70 locks (35 each way). The route first takes boaters north along the Trent & Mersey Canal to Stoke-on-Trent, where they can connect onto the peaceful 17-mile long Caldon Canal, which passes through some of the most magnificent scenery in Britain. As the Canal leaves Stoke, it begins to pass through gently rolling hills, wooded areas, past old mills and then alongside the beautiful River Churnet. The route takes boaters through Cheddleton, home to the headquarters of the Churnet Valley Railway, and the village of Consall Forge with the secluded Black Lion pub serving good food and real ales.
To book a holiday or break on any of Anglo Welsh’s fleet, call our friendly booking team on 0117 304 1122.
Canal boat holidays are great for families, offering the change to experience life afloat exploring Britain’s beautiful canal network, watching out for wildlife and stopping off at exciting waterside destinations along the way. Pottering along the waterways at walking pace, narrowboat holidays are said to be ‘the fastest way to slow down’. So why not pack up and ship out over the August Bank Holiday aboard one of our fantastic canal boats, equipped with all the key comforts of home – central heating, hot water, TV, WiFi, well-stocked kitchens, showers and flushing toilets.
Here are our ‘Top 10 August Bank Holiday Family Destinations Afloat’ – all short breaks suitable for beginners:
Visit the Sea Life Centre in Birmingham’s Brindleyplace. From our canal boat hire base at Tardebigge on the Worcester & Birmingham Canal near Bromsgrove, it’s a five-hour, lock-free journey to moorings at Gas Street Basin in Birmingham City Centre. From there Brindleyplace is a short walk away, offering an abundance of shops, restaurants and attractions, including Birmingham’s Sea life Centre, with over 60 displays of freshwater and marine life, and the new Jelly Invaders exhibit offering a glittering underwater wonderland to marvel at.
Explore Sir Titus Salt’s model town at Saltaire. From our narrowboat holiday base at Silsden on the Leeds & Liverpool Canal, it takes seven hours, passing through 11 locks to reach Sir Titus Salt’s famous Victorian industrial model town at Saltaire. Now a UNESCO World Heritage Site, Sir Titus Salt built the textile Mill and entire village for his mill workers, all in a beautiful Italianate style. Places to visit at Saltaire include the magnificent Salt’s Mill where many examples of the work of Bradford born artist David Hockney are on display, and the Shipley Glen Tramway, the oldest working cable tramway in Britain, which takes visitors a quarter of a mile up through woodlands to a popular local beauty spot.
Take a Thames boating holiday and see the Oxford Dinosaurs. From our Oxford base, it’s a tranquil three-hour cruise along the River Thames to moorings at Hythe Bridge, perfect for exploring Oxford’s city centre, including the Oxford University Museum of Natural History. Some of the most important finds during the pivotal early years in the study of palaeontology were made in Oxfordshire, including the full skeleton of Eustreptospondylus in 1871. Today, visitors to the City’s Museum of Natural History can see this incredible skeleton of a carnivore that once walked on its hind legs and had a large head armed with sharp blade-like teeth.
Watch the African painted dogs at Chester Zoo. From our canal boat rental base at Bunbury on the Shropshire Union Canal near Tarporley in Cheshire, it takes seven hours, passing through nine locks to reach the ancient City of Chester. Once there, narrowboat holiday-makers can visit the award-winning Chester Zoo, home to 21,314 animals from 500 species, including a fascinating pack of rare African Painted Dogs.
Watch the Dragon Slayer Show at Warwick Castle. From our Stockton base on the Grand Union Canal in Warwickshire, it’s a seven-hour journey, passing through 20 locks, to reach the beautiful country town of Warwick, with its magnificent medieval castle on the banks of the River Avon. The Castle offers a fantastic family day out with ramparts to climb, the Castle Dungeon, Great Hall, Staterooms and Kingmaker Exhibition to explore, and soaring birds of prey and trebuchet firing displays to watch. And each evening of the August bank holiday weekend (24-27 August), the spectacular Dragon Slayer show will be on, with light shows on the walls of the castle, fire-jousting and live action stunts.
Visit the Shropshire Lake District. On a short break from our canal barge holiday hire centre at Trevor on the Llangollen Canal in North Wales, boaters can reach the Shropshire town of Ellesmere in seven hours, passing through four locks. Along the way, canal boat holiday-makers encounter the incredible UNESCO World Heritage designated Pontcysyllte Aqueduct, which carries the canal in a cast iron trough 38 metres high above the Dee Valley. Once at Ellesmere, boaters can explore the Shropshire Lake District, including the Mere with its Victorian gardens, woodland paths, historic castle and abundance of wildlife.
Discover the secret life of the Tudors in Stratford-upon-Avon. From our narrowboat hire base at Wootton Wawen on the Stratford Canal, it’s a delightful six-hour, 17-lock cruise journey through the Warwickshire countryside to Bancroft Basin in the centre of Stratford-upon-Avon. From there, it’s a short walk to the town’s theatres, shops, restaurants and museums, including Tudor World where visitors can find out what life was really like during Shakespeare’s time, from dining and sleeping, to plague and poo!
Enjoy some historic holiday fun the Black Country Living Museum. From our Tardebigge base on the Worcester & Birmingham Canal near Bromsgrove, it’s an eight-hour, three-lock journey to moorings at the Black Country Living Museum. Visitors to the Museum this summer can discover the hobbies and pastimes that entertained Black Country people from Victorian times to the 1930’s. From cooking demonstrations, silent films, street games, school lessons and a traditional fairground, to pop-up dramas, vintage music and themed evening events, there’s a whole host of period entertainment on offer over the August Bank Holiday weekend.
Marvel at the Caen Hill flight of locks at Devizes. From our barge holiday base on the Kennet & Avon Canal at Brassknocker Basin in Bath, it’s a nine-hour journey, travelling 15 miles and passing through eight locks, to Fox Hanger Wharf at the base of the mighty Caen Hill flight of 29 locks at Devizes. Said to be one of The Seven Wonders of the Waterways, the breath-taking sight of the 16 locks in a row climbing Caen Hill is truly one of the most spectacular of Britain’s inland waterways. Once there, the historic market town of Devizes is a short walk away, with its Wadworth Brewery Visitor Centre and famous shire horses making daily deliveries, plus a range of independent shops, pubs and restaurants, including the ‘Peppermill Restaurant’ and the Bear Hotel.
Get close to nature at Fradley Pool Nature Reserve. From our canal barge holiday base at Great Haywood in Staffordshire, on a short break boaters can cruise along the Trent & Mersey Canal to Fradley Junction at Alrewas near Burton-on-Trent, a journey which takes six hours, travelling 12 miles and passing through five locks. Picturesque Fradley, where the Coventry Canal meets the Trent & Mersey Canal, offers visitors guided walks, a café, two pubs and the award-winning Fradley Pool Nature Reserve, home to an abundance of creatures. Along the way, boaters pass the Shugborough Estate with its stunning Georgian Mansion House and a number of rural family-friendly pubs, including Mossley Tavern at Rugeley.
To book a holiday or break on any of Anglo Welsh’s fleet, call our friendly booking team on 0117 304 1122.
Britain’s beautiful canal network passes through some of our most exciting towns and cities, where waterfronts have been transformed into vibrant destinations, with shops, bars, restaurants and top attractions. Our narrowboats can accommodate up to 12 people – perfect for getting family or friends together for a celebration afloat, whether it’s mini-break or longer holiday.
We even offer luxury canal boat hire for groups of up to 12 people, with our ‘Bond Class’ 12-berth boats operating out of Bath, Oxford, Trevor and Stockton.
Here are our top 5 celebration destinations afloat for 2018:
Birmingham’s Brindleyplace. From our canal boat rental base at Tardebigge on the Worcester & Birmingham Canal near Bromsgrove, city centre moorings at Gas Street Basin next are just five lock-free hours away by boat. From there, canal boat holiday-makers are perfectly positioned to enjoy the fantastic entertainment offered at Birmingham’s vibrant Brindleyplace, where as well the glitzy Mailbox shopping centre and dozens of bars and restaurants, there’s a host of summer events planned, including free live music at The Water’s Edge on Friday nights, summer markets on the last Friday of each month, and a free outdoor film festival from 16 to 22 July.
Oxford & the River Thames. With moorings close to Hythe Bridge, just ten minutes on foot from the centre of Oxford, staying on board a canal boat is a fantastic way to get the most out of this exciting University City. Our canal boat hire base at Eynsham on the River Thames near Witney, is a three-hour cruise away, giving hirers the chance to enjoy a Thames boating holiday, as well as all that the ‘City of Dreaming Spires’ has to offer. With major tourist attractions like the Bodleian Library and Ashmolean Museum, shopping meccas like the Covered Market and Westgate Shopping Centre, and a wide choice of bars, pubs, clubs, nightclubs, theatres and cinemas, Oxford is a great place to celebrate a big occasion.
Georgian Bath. Famous for its beautiful Georgian architecture and Roman Baths, the World Heritage Status City of Bath on the banks of the River Avon, remains one of Britain’s top tourist destinations. From our narrowboat hire base at Sydney Wharf, it takes just two hours (passing through six locks), to reach moorings in the centre of Bath. This summer, canal boat holiday-makers take advantage of the City’s fantastic rich history and vibrant culture, including taking a dip in the thermal hot springs at the Thermae Bath Spa, visiting the Roman Baths by torchlight, enjoying top comedians at Komedia’s Krater Comedy Club, live music at the Green Park Brassie and cocktails at the Circo Bar & Lounge.
Shakespeare’s Stratford. From our canal boat rental base at Wootton Wawen, on the Stratford Canal near Henley-in-Arden, this famous town on the banks of the River Avon can be reached in just six hours. Once there, narrowboat holiday-makers can moor up in Bancroft Basin in the centre of Stratford, close to waterside restaurants like Carluccios, the Royal Shakespeare theatre with its star-studded productions, and a choice of bars, pubs and clubs, including the Hotel du Vin, All Bar One and the Shakespeare Street Cocktail Bar & Nightclub.
Historic Chester. Renowned for its Roman city walls, cobbled streets, medieval shopping rows and racecourse, the historic City of Chester on the River Dee is just seven hours by boat from our canal barge holiday base on the Shropshire Union Canal at Bunbury. As well as amazing shopping, Chester has some fantastic bars and restaurants, including: the Opera Grill housed in an impressive Grade II listed building with a neoclassical Greek façade (which also offers live music on Friday nights); The Alchemist cocktail bar and restaurant where exciting experimental drinks and food are served; and the lively Barlounge Chester with great outdoor and indoor space for celebrating.
To book a holiday or break on any of Anglo Welsh’s fleet, call our friendly booking team on 0117 304 1122.
The recent Blue Planet II series highlighted the alarming amount of plastic found in our oceans and consequently in the animals that live there. Sadly our inland waterways are also affected by plastic waste – and a staggering 80 per cent of marine debris comes from inland sources.
With this in mind, and to help plan ahead for your next canal boat holiday, we’ve put together a list of super easy ways to reduce the plastic waste you might generate on a narrowboat holiday and the amount entering our waterways:
Avoid products with microbeads. Much of the plastic polluting our waterways and oceans is microplastics which derive from bigger items breaking down, but also from products like face wash and toothpaste. Try to avoid using cosmetics with ‘polypropylene’ or ‘polyethylene’ on the ingredients list and go for natural biodegradable alternatives.
Bring a refillable thermos. If you stop off to buy a coffee somewhere on your canal barge holiday you won’t need a disposable cup, for which there are limited recycling centres.
Reduce your use of plastic bottles. You will need to have bottled drinking water on board your boat (though you can use water from the boat’s tank to boil and make a cup of tea), so we suggest bringing one large bottle or canteen, decanting it into reusable cups and topping up at water points.
Bring your own shopping bags. Remember to pack your re-useable bags every time you shop and avoid products with excess packaging.
Separate your recyclables and make use of recycling facilities. Most canalside rubbish compounds only accept boaters’ bagged domestic rubbish, but there are an increasing number of boaters’ recycling points and many of our canal boat hire bases have recycling bins too.
Bag all rubbish. Make sure the bags are tied securely so that they can’t spill open. Only dispose of your bagged domestic rubbish inside bins marked domestic waste and don’t forget to close the lid.
Don’t dump it! If the bins are full, keep your rubbish securely on board until the next available waste disposal point.
Avoid leaving bagged rubbish next to a litter bin. It’s not a collection point for boater’s rubbish and can be an invitation for animals to break into the bags looking for something to eat, spreading litter everywhere.
Help clean up. Join one of the many Plastic Patrol or Canal & River Trust Towpath Taskforce events taking place across the country.
Every little helps. If you don’t fancy taking part in an organised event, why not pledge to pick up and dispose of at least one piece of canalside litter a day while on your narrowboat holiday?
Hope these tips are helpful. Let’s help keep our waterways clean for everyone to enjoy.
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.