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Top 8 Summer Circuits for 2022

Best canal boat holidays in England and Wales

Ring routes offer varied journeys along different waterways and take in a wide range of landscapes and attractions. What’s more, they bring you back to your canal boat hire base without having to travel the same way twice!

Some circuits are a real challenge, with steep flights of locks and spooky tunnels to navigate, while others more suitable for narrowboat holiday beginners. All, though, offer a wonderful summer holiday adventure and the chance to explore the UK’s waterways from the comforts of your very own floating holiday home.

Here’s a list of our Top 8 Summer Circuits to explore afloat:

1. The Birmingham Mini-Ring this popular ring can be completed on a four-night short break from our base at Tardebigge in Worcestershire. It takes in sections of the Worcester & Birmingham, Birmingham Main Line and Grand Union canals. The journey takes you past sights such as: the historic village of Bournville, home of Cadbury’s chocolate; Gas Street Basin in central Birmingham; and the flight of 13 locks at Farmers Bridge. To complete the Birmingham Mini-Ring from Tardebigge, you will travel 45 miles and pass through 49 locks, which takes around 27 hours.

2. The Warwickshire Ring setting off from our canal boat hire base at Stockton in Warwickshire, this circuit can be completed in a week’s holiday. You’ll cruise through sections of the Grand Union, Oxford, Coventry and Birmingham & Fazeley canals. Highlights include: the flight of 11 locks into Atherstone; the lovely canal village of Braunston; the flight of 21 locks at Hatton; and wonderful Warwick Castle. To complete the Warwickshire Ring from Stockton, you will travel 104 miles and pass through 121 locks in around 56 hours.

3. The Avon Ring canal boat holiday-makers can complete this epic circuit on a two week break from our narrowboat hire bases at Tardebigge or Wootton Wawen. Navigating sections of the Stratford Canal, River Avon, River Severn and Worcester & Birmingham Canal, you’ll encounter: Shakespeare’s Stratford; the River Avon with its incredible views; the charming historic town of Evesham; the Cotswold medieval town of Tewskesbury; the City of Worcester and its stunning cathedral; and the flight of 30 locks at Tardebigge. To complete the Avon Ring from either Tardebigge or Wootton Wawen, you will travel 109 miles and pass through 131 locks, which will take around 58 hours.

4. The Black Country Ring setting off from our canal boat rental base at Great Haywood in Staffordshire or Tardebigge in Worcestershire, this circuit can be done in an active week’s holiday. Explore sections of the Birmingham & Fazeley, Birmingham Main Line, Coventry, Staffordshire & Worcestershire and Trent & Mersey canals. Sights along the way include: Birmingham’s Gas Street Basin; the 21 locks at Wolverhampton; and the beautiful waters at Tixall Wide. To complete the Black Country Ring from Tardebigge, you will travel 104 miles, passing through 79 locks, which will take around 53 hours. From Great Haywood it’s 75 miles, 79 locks and takes 43 hours.

5. The East Midlands Ring on a two week break from our narrowboat rental base at Stockton , boaters can explore the East Midlands Ring, also known as the Leicester Ring. You’ll cruise along sections of the Birmingham & Fazeley, Coventry, Oxford, Trent & Mersey and Grand Union canals, as well as the rivers Soar and Trent. Highlights along this circuit include: Saddlington Tunnel; the Foxton Staircase; the canal village of Stoke Bruerne with its Canal Museum; Blisworth Tunnel; the 11 locks at Atherstone; the City of Coventry; and the historic village of Shardlow. To complete the East Midlands Ring from Stockton, you will travel 170 miles and pass through 107 locks in around 84 hours.

6. The Four Counties Ring this popular circuit can be completed in a week when departing from our bases at Great Haywood in Staffordshire, Bunbury in Cheshire or Whixall in Shropshire. The route takes narrowboat holiday-makers through the counties of Staffordshire, the West Midlands, Cheshire and Shropshire, exploring a range of beautiful areas of Britain. Highlights along the way include: the infamous 2670-metre long Harecastle Tunnel; flight of 15 locks at Audlem; views of the rolling Cheshire Plains; and the Roman town of Middlewich. To complete the Four Counties Ring from Great Haywood, you’ll travel 110 miles and pass through 94 locks, which will take around 55 hours. From Bunbury, it will be 115 miles, 96 locks and 58 hours. From Whixall, it’s 137 miles, 132 locks and 86 hours.

7. The Stourport Ring setting off from our canal boat hire base at Tardebigge in Worcestershire, this ring, which can be completed in a week, takes you along the Staffordshire & Worcestershire Canal, Worcester & Birmingham Canal Navigation, the River Severn, Birmingham Canal Main Line and Stourbridge canals. Highlights include: cruising through bustling central Birmingham; Kinver with its National Trust rock houses; the City of Worcester with its town centre and magnificent cathedral; beautiful views along the River Severn; and the flight of 30 locks at Tardebigge. To complete the Stourport Ring from Tardebigge, you will travel 84 miles and pass through 118 locks in around 52 hours.

8. The Cheshire Ring cruising from our narrowboat hire base at Bunbury in Cheshire, this route, which runs through the heart of Manchester and the Peak District via the Ashton, Macclesfield, Peak Forest, Rochdale, Trent & Mersey and Bridgewater canals, can be completed in a week. Highlights along the way include: the incredible Anderton Boat Lift, one of the ‘Seven Wonders of the Waterways’; breath-taking views of the Peak District; and Manchester’s China Town. To complete the Cheshire Ring from Bunbury, you will travel 122 miles and pass through 102 locks, which will take about 86 cruising hours.

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Moor up at the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games

Canal boat holidays in Birmingham

The city of Birmingham has more canals than Venice, so it’s not surprising that eight of the 13 venues for the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games are on or very close to a canal.

Taking place from 28 July to 8 August, the Games will see around 4,500 athletes from 72 nations and territories compete in 19 different sports and eight Parasports. To celebrate the opportunity to visit the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games and their venues on a narrowboat holiday, we’ve published our Top 8 Games destinations afloat:

1. Travel the Birmingham Mini Ring from Tardebigge

From our Tardebigge base on the Worcestershire & Birmingham Canal near Bromsgrove, you can navigate the Birmingham Mini Ring. This circuit takes you into the heart of Birmingham, travelling sections of the Birmingham & Fazeley Canal, Birmingham Canal Old Main Line, Tame Valley Canal and Wyrley & Essington Canal. The route travels 45 miles, passes through 49 locks and takes around 27 cruising hours.  Games venues on or close by the route include: Birmingham Arena next to the Birmingham Canal Old Line (Gymnastics); Alexander Stadium next to the Tame Valley Canal at Perry Barr (Athletics); and Sandwell Aquatics Centre close to the Tame Valley Canal (Diving and Swimming).

2. Cruise to Cannock Chase Forest from Great Haywood

From our canal boat hire base at Great Haywood on the Trent & Mersey Canal near Stafford, Cannock Chase Forest is less than two hours away. The journey to over-moorings at Rugeley navigates five miles of the Trent & Mersey Canal and passes through two locks. Cannock Chase Forest will be used for the Mountain Biking event.

3. Travel to Coventry Stadium from Stockton

From our narrow boat hire base on the Grand Union Canal at Stockton, it takes 15 hours to reach Coventry Basin, travelling 36 miles and passing through seven locks. The route navigates up the North Oxford Canal and joins the Coventry Canal at Hawkesbury Junction. Coventry Stadium will be hosting the Judo, Rugby Sevens and Wrestling events.

4. Navigate to the Alexander Stadium from Tardebigge

It takes around 13 hours, travelling 28 miles and passing through eight locks to reach Perry Barr Top Lock from our Tardebigge base. The journey begins on the Worcester & Birmingham Canal, and transfers onto the Birmingham Canal Navigations at Worcester Bar.  Alexander Stadium will host the Athletics events.

5. Cruise to St. Nicholas Park in Warwick from Wootton Wawen

From our base at Wootton Wawen on the Stratford Canal, it takes around 12 hours, cruising 14 miles and passing through 38 locks to reach moorings at Saltisford in Warwick. Myton Fields, the other side of the river to St. Nicholas Park will be used for the Birmingham 2022 Cycling Road Race.

6. Travel round the Stourport Ring from Tardebigge

From our Tardebigge base, on a week’s break you can navigate the Stourport Ring. The journey passes through 118 locks and takes around 44 hours. It takes in sections of: the Staffordshire & Worcestershire Canal; Worcester & Birmingham Canal Navigation; the River Severn; Birmingham Canal Main Line; and Stourbridge canals.  It takes boaters close to Egbaston Stadium, where the Cricket T20 will take place, and the Birmingham Arena where the Gymnastics will take place.

7. Cruise to Victoria Park in Leamington Spa from Stockton

From our Stockton base on the Grand Union Canal it takes around seven hours, travelling seven miles and passing through 20 locks to reach Frost’s Wharf in Leamington. Victoria Park in Leamington Spa will host the Lawn Bowls and Para Lawn Bowls events.

8. Navigate the Warwickshire Ring from Stockton

From our Stockton base you can navigate the Warwickshire Ring. This popular circuit travels 104 miles, passes through 94 locks and takes around 53 hours. It can be done in a week, but it’s best to allow 10 days or two weeks so that you’ll have time to visit places along the way. The Warwickshire Ring travels sections of the Grand Union Canal (passing through Leamington Spa and Warwick), the Coventry Canal and Birmingham & Fazeley Canal.  Games venues on or close by the route include: Birmingham Arena (Gymnastics); Edgbaston Stadium (Cricket); Coventry Stadium and Arena (Judo, Rugby Sevens, Wrestling); St Nicholas Park in Warwick (Cycling Road Race); and Victoria Park in Leamington Spa (Lawn Bowls).

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Try narrowboating for free at an Anglo Welsh Open Day

Day boat hire on the canals

On Thursday 2 June 2022, the first day of the bank holiday weekend celebrating the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee, we are hosting open days at four of our narrowboat hire bases, offering you the chance to try canal boating for free!

The events will run from 10am to 4pm, so come and visit us to take a free short trip on a skippered day boat, ask our expert staff for advice on all things boating, learn what to expect from a canal boat holiday and enter a competition to win a free day boat trip!

The open days will take place at:

–          Whixall on the Prees Branch of the Llangollen Canal in Shropshire;

–          Bunbury on the Shropshire Union Canal in Cheshire;

–          Great Haywood on the Trent & Mersey Canal in Staffordshire; and

–          Wootton Wawen on the Stratford Canal in Warwickshire.

Emma Lovell, reservations manager for Anglo Welsh, explains:

“We are looking forward to welcoming visitors to our open days to enjoy spending time by the water and a free taster session on aboard one of our day boats.

“No booking is required and trips will be allocated on a first come, first served basis.”

Here at Anglo Welsh, we offer day boat hire with prices starting at £10 per person. It’s a great opportunity for those new to canal boating to get the hang of steering, mooring up and working the locks.  All day boats are equipped with cutlery, crockery, a kettle, fridge, cooker and a toilet. Day boats are suitable for up to 10 passengers. Up to two dogs are welcome on board, but they do count as passengers.

Looking forward to seeing you there!

 

Whixall Marina, Alders Lane, Whixall, Shopshire, SY13 2QS

Anglo Welsh at Bunbury, Bunbury Locks, Bunbury, Tarporley, Cheshire, CW6 9QB

Anglo Welsh at Great Haywood, Mill Lane, Great Haywood, Stafford, ST18 0RJ

Anglo Welsh at Wootton Wawen, Canal Wharf, Wootton Wawen, Henley-in-Arden, West Midlands, B95 6BZ

 

*We had initially planned an Open Day at Tardebigge but are sorry to announce this can no longer go ahead. Those planning to visit Tardebigge could instead visit Wootton Wawen.*

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Best pet friendly short break canal boat holidays

Best pet friendly canal boat holiday short breaks

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.

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Anglo Welsh win Bronze award for ‘Self Catering Accommodation of the Year’

Self catering accommodation of the Year

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.

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Three new luxury canal boats are joining our fleet in 2022

Anglo Welsh's new luxury Admiral Class boats

Emma Lovell, reservations manager for Anglo Welsh, explains more about our luxury canal boats available to hire in 2022.

This winter we’re building three new luxury 65ft Admiral Class narrow boats, ready to join our top class fleet next Spring.

We are delighted to be launching: ‘Curzon’ at Great Haywood on 11 March; ‘Duncan’ at Wootton Wawen on 12 March; and ‘Codrington’ at Bath on 16 April.

These boats offer extra space and facilities, as well as exacting standards of craftsmanship, comfort and finish.  They will have accommodation for up to four people in two cabins (which can be made up as either doubles or singles), and two spacious bathrooms.  They will have a substantial saloon area with a large TV, WiFi, multi-fuel stove, full radiator central heating, and a spacious kitchen with modern fittings and LED lighting.

Their striking blue and gold livery has been designed with Admiral Nelson in mind, in memory of our late Director Tim Nelson Parker, an incredible character who was devoted to the canals.

We launched our first Admiral Class boats in 2020, building on the popularity of our Heritage, Constellation and Bond Class luxury canal boats.  All these boats offer increased space per person, and particularly high standards of comfort and finish.

2022 Admiral Class prices start at £875 for short break, £1,210 for a week.

Here’s a list of all our luxury narrow boats available to hire at our various bases in 2022:

·         Bath – Codrington (four berth Admiral Class), Pheonix (four berth Constellation Class), Gloria (four berth Bond Class), Silvia (six berth Bond Class), Bradbury (six berth Bond Class), Sagittarius (10 berth Constellation Class) and Langton (12-berth Bond Class).

·         Bunbury – Carina (four berth Constellation Class), Cassiopeia (six berth Constellation Class), Cygnus (six berth Constellation Class),

·         Great Haywood – Curzon (four berth Admiral Class), Leo II (four berth Bond Class) and Pegasus (six berth Constellation Class).

·         Oxford – Cunningham (four berth Admiral Class), Trossachs (four berth Bond Class), Duloe (six berth Bond Class), Orion (12 berth Constellation Class) and Delphinus (12 berth Constellation Class).

·         Stockton – Buckland (six berth Bond Class) and Lynx (12 berth Constellation Class).

·         Tardebigge – Hydra (four berth Constellation Class).

·         Trevor – Nelson (two berth Admiral Class), Fitzroy (four berth Admiral Class), Lily (four berth Heritage Class), Anna (four berth Bond Class), Aquarius (four berth Constellation Class), Blore (six berth Bond Class), Askrigg (six berth Bond Class) and Norton (12 berth Bond Class).

·         Whixall – Hawke (four berth Admiral Class), Centaurus (four berth Constellation Class), Aquila (four berth Constellation Class), Perseus (six berth Constellation Class), Braithwaite (six berth Bond Class), and Gemini (10 berth Constellation Class) and Andromeda (12 berth Constellation Class).

·         Wootton Wawen – Nelson (two berth Admiral Class), Duncan (four berth Admiral Class), Poppy (four berth Heritage Class), Aries (four berth Constellation Class), Summer (six berth Bond Class), and Scorpius (10 berth Constellation Class).

For more information about our luxury fleets, go to https://www.anglowelsh.co.uk/Our-Boats/luxury-canal-boat-hire

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A multi-generation narrowboat holiday on the River Avon

Canal boat holiday on the River Avon

Bridget Harrison reviews her family canal boat holiday cruising through Shakespeare country

When I was a teenager we once went on a family holiday to San Tropez and I remember looking with envy at the boat owners breakfasting on the decks of their motor yachts in the marina, while we mortals walked by on land. I was reminded of this when arriving at Stratford-upon- Avon’s bustling Bancroft Basin, to find my family who were waiting for me on a barge there, which we had hired for a week’s holiday in August.

Enterprise, a 70 foot long narrowboat, was in pole position, moored side to side with a row of other smartly painted craft. And there was my family, sitting cheerfully at the stern, in the sunshine, enjoying a feast bought from the basin’s street-food market. Hopping aboard it was hard not to feel just a little bit smug on our floating home in pride of place in the historic town while crowds of tourists wandered past.

The others had taken charge of the boat at Wootton Wawen marina in Warwickshire on the Stratford Canal two days before and then navigated down the 17 locks to Stratford. With me, the last member of the crew now on board, we cast off, taking the town lock down onto the broad River Avon that was buzzing with row boats, restaurant boats, flocks of well-fed swans and geese and offering a fine view of the imposing Royal Shakespeare Theatre.

My family and I have been going on canal holidays since I was eight years old.

Now my brother and I each have two children (me, sons age 11 and 13, he, daughters age 11 and 15), and my sister has a frisky collie. We all join my parents for a week on the canals every year – nine of us in total.

This year we decided to focus our trip around Stratford-up-Avon, thinking it would add an extra ‘educational’ element for the children. Spending time on the river as well as the canal also appealed as my sister and I were keen to do some ‘wild swimming’ in a river.

The Avon winds from Stratford’s busy centre flowing southwest towards Evesham. As you leave the town, which makes way for stretches of parkland, and then the countryside beyond, the river is soon bordered on both sides by a jungle-like array of vegetation in a thousand greens. Weeping willows lean out and stroke the river’s smooth dark water. At Bidford-on-Avon we passed under a beautiful bridge of stone arches, learning that people have crossed the river there since medieval times.

The river, without the prerequisite canal towpath, felt a more lush and wild boating corridor than many canals.

One disadvantage though was not being able to hop off at any point for a walk. And also mooring spots proved to be few and far between and were often already taken requiring us to head on wards. Luckily the evenings were long. Even if the moorings were often full, the river itself, even at the height of summer, was blissfully peaceful and quiet.

Even though we were nine, the 70 foot long Enterprise didn’t feel cramped. Its layout also had the advantage of two dining areas which meant we could gather for card games without having to set up a table specially.

We got as far as Evesham in two days, then turned around.

As with all canals, retracing steps feels like a new journey with plenty to look at from the boat from elegant houses with gardens backing onto the river to completely wild stretches. We paused one early evening for dinner at the Four Alls pub beside the river, then had to cruise on until dark until we managed to find a free mooring just outside Stratford. Next morning we rose early to nab a prime spot opposite the theatre, making us perfectly placed for visiting the Shakespeare sites.

Visiting Stratford-upon-Avon on a canal boat holiday

First on the list was The Birthplace, a crooked, half-timbered Tudor house on the High Street which had been owned by his glove-maker father, John. Creaky narrow stairs led up to the room where he was born. Having just read ‘Hamnet’, Maggie O’Farrell’s novel based around Shakespeare’s family, the visit was particularly enthralling for me and I was pleased that the children found it engrossing too. A seven minute walk away is the site of New Place, the larger and more splendid home which Shakespeare bought after he became a successful actor and writer in London. The original building no longer exists but you can wander around its garden and admire modern sculptures illustrating how The Bard’s global influence has put Stratford proudly at the centre of the world.

Then finally, the highlight for us, was our visit to Anne Hathaway’s cottage, a 12-room farmhouse, the family home of Shakespeare’s wife – located in once prosperous farm land just beyond the city (a £7 taxi ride). Inside we walked up tiny windy staircases to see bedrooms perfectly preserved as they would have looked in 1582 when 18-year-old Shakespeare was courting Anne, 26. The farmhouse had beautiful kitchen gardens  filled with sage mint and lavender, and an orchard.  So enthused had the children obviously been by the days’ three evocative Shakespeare venues that each even began quoting bits of Shakespeare they knew from school over the dinner table.

Too soon it was our last day. My sister, the children and I rose early to walk a little way upstream along the Avon to Stratford Beach, a swimming spot where Shakespeare himself was said to have taken dips. We plunged shrieking into the silky cool river as the morning sun cast dappled gold around us. Then it was back to Enterprise  for bacon sarnies before readying ourselves to return to the Stratford Canal and to  Wootton Wawen, back up 17 locks over 17 miles, requiring both teamwork and energy.

Luckily by now, we all know the drill.

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Admiral Class cruise from Great Haywood to Wootton Wawen

Canal boat holiday from Great Haywood to Wootton Wawen

Narrowboat Cruise from Great Haywood to Wootton Wawen

As the Operations Director of Anglo Welsh, it’s always great to take one of our boats out on a family break, looking at it from a customer’s point of view.  So, with Christmas Day enjoyed, myself, my partner Claire, my two boys Jacob and Daniel, plus our two dogs George and Cooper, set off on one of the brand-new Admiral Class boats from Great Haywood the day after Boxing Day.

With the boat packed up with everything we needed for our planned three-day cruise to Wootton Wawen, we headed off at 8am.  All of us were excited to see what the next few days brought, although the weather forecast did not look like it was going to be kind to us.  I’d instructed all to pack warm clothes, waterproofs and suitable footwear.

We headed down the Trent & Mersey Canal, which took us up towards Fradley Junction to join the Coventry Canal as our plan of action was to moor in Fazeley for the night.  We arrived there at 5pm having had a great day cruising along, chatting, eating turkey sandwiches, Christmas cake and plenty of hot drinks along the way.  The boys and the dogs also love the quiet pace of life and it was great to see them all enjoying the fresh air.

Once moored at Fazeley, in the well-equipped kitchen Claire was able to make us all a lovely two-course dinner and a very enjoyable game of Monopoly was had.  The kitchen facilities on board are excellent and have all the items needed to cook throughout the trip, with Claire commenting that the only thing missing was a dishwasher!

After a great night’s sleep by all in the comfortable beds, we set off again at 7.30am and headed through Birmingham.  It’s fair to say that this part of Birmingham is not necessarily the prettiest, and Daniel hoped it would take us via the nicer side of Brindleyplace, but that was unfortunately not possible on this route.  It was interesting to cruise under the M6 though, as you get to see a very different side to Birmingham by boat as opposed to by car. We cruised all day, enjoying the scenery and wildlife with Jacob fishing along the way, then we were able to moor at Catherine de Barnes when we arrived about 5pm.

While I sorted out the boat and popped to the local shop, Claire and Daniel walked the dogs.  Then back to the boat for another hot meal and a second round of Monopoly and Jenga.  It was so warm on the boat during the evening with the central heating on board, we didn’t even need to light the multi-fuel stove during the trip!  The Admiral Class four-berths have two bathrooms and the hot showers are excellent, just what you need after a day of cruising along.

On our final day, we were all up early and headed off in the rain at 7.30am towards Knowle Locks.  Such a beautiful location which made for some great photos, it was a shame it was raining so hard and we did all get quite wet, but we just had to see the funny side of this! It’s definitely somewhere I’d like to visit again in the dry.

The scenery on the third day was stunning as we joined the Stratford Canal, and with all the pretty locks, it made for a really special day. Jacob and Claire were mainly on lock duty, perfected after going through over 40 during the 3 days, whilst Daniel kept the dogs entertained on the boat.  We arrived at Wootton Wawen around 4pm and so were bang on our original plan.

After such a busy year, it was a brilliant way to unwind and relax before seeing the New Year in.  We had lots of fun, relaxation, games, ate very well and had all the fresh air that we needed.  Everyone, including the dogs, came away from this break feeling refreshed and ready to see what 2022 brings us all.

Our brand-new four-berth Admiral Class boats ‘Duncan’ and ‘Curzon’ are joining our fleet at Wootton Wawen and Great Haywood this March, and ‘Codrington’ will join the fleet at Bath in mid-April.

Our Reservations Team are taking bookings for these boats now, so if you’d like to come aboard, please give them a call on 0117 304 1122.

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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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