Top 6 festive cruising destinations

This winter we are offering winter cruising* from seven of our canal boat hire bases, giving narrowboat holiday-makers the chance to can set sail to a choice of exciting waterside towns and cities, all offering special festive events and fantastic Christmas shopping opportunities.

From a cosy narrowboat for two to a family canal boat for 12, all our boats have central heating, hot water, WiFi, TV and DVD players, so it’s always warm, cosy and welcoming on board.  Some of our boats also come with multi-fuel stoves for that extra injection of winter warmth.

Our winter cruising hire boat yards offer a choice of routes, so this winter, whether you want to head to a fun-filled festive destination or escape from it all in a quiet rural backwater, Christmas on the canals offers a very special experience.

Christmas prices start at £495 for a short break, £705 for a week.

Here are our Top 6 festive destinations for 2018:

  1. Ride the Big Wheel in Birmingham – from our narrowboat hire base at Tardebigge on the Worcester & Birmingham Canal near Bromsgrove, it’s a five-hour, lock-free cruise to reach city centre moorings. From here you can use your canal boat as a base to enjoy some of the many exciting Christmas events in Britain’s exciting second city, including incredible shopping at the Mailbox and Bull Ring, the Frankfurt Christmas Market at Victoria Square (15 Nov to 23 Dec) and indoor ice rink and big wheel on New Canal Street (15 Nov to 27 Jan).
  2. Enjoy an Elf Adventure at Trentham Shopping Village – from our canal boat hire base at Great Haywood on the Trent & Mersey Canal in Staffordshire, it takes around 10 hours to reach Trentham, travelling 13 miles and passing through 13 locks along the way.  Once there, you can moor up and explore the beautiful Trentham Gardens with its enchanting woodland fairy trail, and visit Trentham Shopping Village where the Elf Adventure Challenge gives families the chance to take part in festive themed games, join in the music and listen to Elves tell their tales (selected dates from 15 to 24 Dec).
  3. Revel in swash-buckling Panto fun at Theatre Royal Bath – it takes just two hours to reach moorings in Bath City Centre from our narrowboat hire base, Sydney Wharf, on the Kennet & Avon Canal. From our base at Monkton Combe at Brassknocker Basin, the cruise is a short four-hour cruise. From there, it’s a 15-minute stroll into the City where the Peter Pan family pantomime will be on at the Theatre Royal (13 Dec to 13 Jan), as well as carols by candlelight at Bath Abbey, skating on the outdoor Bath on Ice rink.
  4. Be transported to Lapland aboard the Llangollen Steam Railway – from our canal boat hire base at Trevor on the Llangollen Canal in North Wales, on a short break narrowboat holiday-makers can travel to the pretty town of Llangollen and back, home of the Llangollen Steam Railway. The Railway will be running Santa Christmas Specials on selected dates from Sat 1 Dec to Mon 24 Dec, offering the chance to board a specially decorated steam train travelling from Llangollen Station to Carrog – temporarily renamed Lapland for Santa’s visit.  On board children receive a special gift and grown-ups can look forward to a mince pie and tipple from Santa’s Little Helpers.
  5. Visit the Real Father Christmas in Stratford upon Avon – it’s a picturesque six-hour cruise to Shakespeare’s Stratford from our narrowboat hire base at Wootton Wawen, near Henley-in-Arden in Warwickshire. Once there, you can moor up in Bancroft Basin to enjoy all the festive fun dealt out each year by the home of Bard, including stunning Christmas lights, fantastic markets, atmospheric carol singers and, at Magic Alley ‘The most authentic Father Christmas in the country’.
  6. Go skiing at Etruria – from our canal boat rental base at Great Haywood in Staffordshire, on a week’s break boaters can travel north up the Trent & Mersey Canal to Etruria in Stoke-on-Trent. The journey takes around 11 hours, travelling 18 miles and passing through 18 locks.  Once at Etruria, you can moor up to enjoy a choice of family activities, including the Tropical waters of the Waterworld Aqua Park and the much colder dry ski slopes of the Stoke Ski Centre.

*Winter cruising routes can be affected by stoppages and closures as a result of winter maintenance work


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We offer a range of different types of holidays such as City Breaks, Relaxation Cruises and Popular Destinations

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