Seven reasons to take a boating holiday on the Leeds & Liverpool Canal
At 127 miles, the Leeds & Liverpool Canal is the longest single canal in the country. Opened in 1816, it crosses the Pennines and links the wide waterways of Yorkshire with those of Lancashire and the River Mersey.
From Silsden, on the Leeds & Liverpool Canal in West Yorkshire, Anglo Welsh offers the choice of 18 narrowboats and six wide beam boats for hire.
To celebrate canal boat holidays in the area, we’ve listed our top 7 reasons to take a boating holiday on the Leeds & Liverpool Canal:
1. It’s good for your wellbeing
Research by the Canal & River Trust shows spending time by the waterways can make you happier and reduce anxiety. Cruising through the countryside, canal boat holiday-makers on the Leeds & Liverpool Canal can relax and unwind aboard their floating holiday home.
2. It’s the perfect way to enjoy stunning scenery
Travelling at just four-miles-an-hour means boaters get the chance to soak up the stunning scenery, including the rugged hills of the Yorkshire Dales and the woodlands of the Aire Valley.
3. It’s like a floating safari
Canals are havens for wildlife, so there’s always something special to see. As well as water birds such as moorhens, coots, swans and ducks, boaters can look out for kingfishers, damselflies, dragonflies, woodland birds and bats skimming the water at dusk.
4. There are plenty of pubs!
There are dozens of canalside pubs to enjoy along the Leeds & Liverpool Canal, including the Narrow Boat at Skipton and the Bay Horse at Snaygill. Many date back to the days when canals were the transport arteries of the Industrial Revolution, providing hospitality for the working boat men and women, and their horses.
5. You can bring your pets
Anglo Welsh welcomes a wide variety of pets on board, so it’s a staycation that all the family can enjoy. As well as dogs, rabbits, hamsters, tortoises, lizards and goldfish have also enjoyed canal boat holidays on the Leeds & Liverpool Canal.
6. History is all around you
Britain’s canal network is a working heritage made up of thousands of historic structures, including the Bingley Five Rise staircase of locks on the Leeds & Liverpool Canal near Bradford. Listed as one of the ‘Seven Wonders of the Waterways’, these cavernous locks raise (or lower) boats by 18 metres.
7. You don’t need to be an expert
A licence isn’t required to steer a canal boat, and tuition is provided as part of Anglo Welsh’s holiday hire. There’s a choice of short break holidays for beginners to enjoy on the Leeds & Liverpool Canal.
Wide beam canal boat hire on the Leeds & Liverpool Canal
Janet, office manager of our Silsden canal boat hire base, on the Leeds & Liverpool Canal near Keighley in West Yorkshire, outlines the variety of boats and routes available from our newest boat yard.
Embarking on a canal boat holiday from Silsden, offers the chance to enjoy the stunning scenery of the Leeds & Liverpool Canal. From vibrant city centres, industrial history and mills, to rugged hills, wooded valleys and moors, there’s a wide variety of landscapes to see.
Here at Silsden, we offer the choice of 18 narrowboats and six wide beam boats for hire. Our narrowboats for hire range in size from boats for five, up to nine people. And our wide beam boats offer flexible accommodation for up to eight people, with en-suite bedrooms, spacious lounges and even wood burning stoves.
The Leeds & Liverpool Canal is the longest single canal in the country
At 127 miles, with 93 locks and two tunnels, the Leeds & Liverpool Canal is the longest single canal in the country. It crosses the Pennines and links the wide waterways of Yorkshire with those of Lancashire and the River Mersey.
The scenery of this historic waterway varies dramatically. It takes canal boat holiday-makers into the heart of the vibrant centres of Leeds, Liverpool, Wigan and Burnley. And through awe-inspiring vast areas of open space, including the moorlands at the canal’s summit, and the woodlands of the Aire Valley.
Silsden offers a great choice of destinations.
On a short break or week long canal boat holiday from Silsden, there are dozens of destinations to choose from. Here are two of our most popular routes:
1. Take a short break to Gargrave, on the edge of the Yorkshire Dales
On a short break from Silsden, you can head west towards Liverpool to the pretty village of Gargrave. This is a great route for beginners, with the journey to Gargrave taking around seven hours and passing through just three locks.
Heading away from Silsden, you’ll first pass canalside warehouses, enjoying views of Airedale’s steep green hills. There’s a series of historic swing bridges along this section of the canal, each needing to be unlocked and lifted. Within two miles, the canal passes through the village of Kildwick, with its 17th century coaching inn, The White Lion.
Next you’ll continue along the valley of the River Aire, with stunning views of the surrounding countryside. Two miles later the village of Bradley has an excellent pub – the Slaters Arms, serving homemade food and real ale.
Visit Skipton and its medieval castle
A mile later, the route passes the Bay Horse pub at Snaygill, before reaching the outskirts of Skipton. Here a little arm (the Springs Branch) branches off the canal to moorings outside Skipton Castle. Dating back to 1090, this motte and bailey castle is one of the best preserved medieval castles in England, and is well worth a visit.
Skipton also offers visitors a range of places to eat, including The Yorkshire Rose pub, Royal Shepherd, French Bistro des Amis, Bean Loved coffee bar and Cock & Bottle pub.
Heading west out of Skipton, you’ll travel a further three miles through the hills to Gargrave. There are three locks to pass through before reaching moorings and a winding hole in the centre of the village.
Gargrave is on the River Aire on the edge of the Yorkshire Dales National Park, where you can access 680 square miles of some of England’s finest walking country. In Gargrave there are plenty of pubs, including The Mason’s Arms. There are also shops and a post office.
2. Enjoy a week afloat, visiting Saltaire and Leeds afloat
Heading east from Silsden, on a week’s break you can cruise to Leeds and back. The journey to Leeds takes around 17 cruising hours and passes through 28 locks. Destinations along the way include:
The famous Bingley Five staircase, one of the ‘Seven Wonders of the Waterways’
These cavernous locks raise (or lower) boats 18 metres. They open directly from one to another, with the top gate of one forming the bottom of the next. It takes around one-and-a-half hours to pass through and there are lock keepers on hand to help.
The World Heritage model town at Saltaire
The fascinating model town at Saltaire, near Bradford, is a UNESCO World Heritage site. It was founded in 1851 by Sir Titus Salt, a leading industrialist in the woollen industry. Salt wanted his workforce to be healthier, happier and more productive, so he moved his five mills to a new green site away from the overcrowded town centre of Bradford. The mills were housed in beautiful Italianate buildings. And he built neat stone houses for his workers with community facilities, including a hospital, library, school and park.
Today, Saltaire is a popular tourist destination with shops, restaurants, cafes and galleries, including the wonderful David Hockney Gallery
The Royal Armouries in Leeds
The best place to moor up to enjoy visiting the Royal Armouries in Leeds, and other city centre attractions, is Leeds Dock. The Royal Armouries is home to the national collection of arms and armour. There are thousands of objects from across the world to admire across nine galleries. Some of the most famous objects include: Henry VIII’s ‘Horned Helmet’; and the ‘Swords of Middle Earth’, based on the prop weapons used in the ‘Lord of the Rings’ and ‘Hobbit’ movies.
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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