Top 8 May bank holiday destinations

Best May bank holiday canal boat holidays

Canal boat holidays are great for families, watching out for wildlife and exploring exciting waterside destinations.

Here’s a guide to our top 8 May bank holiday family destinations – all short breaks suitable for beginners:

  1. Explore Sir Titus Salt’s model town at Saltaire on the Leeds & Liverpool Canal – from Silsden it takes seven hours, passing through 11 locks to reach Sir Titus Salt’s 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 examples of David Hockney’s work 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.
  2. 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 close to Oxford city centre. One of the historic’s city’s most popular destinations for families is the Oxford University Museum of Natural History. Some of the most important finds during the early study of palaeontology were made in Oxfordshire.  This includes the full skeleton of Eustreptospondylus in 1871. Today, visitors to the Museum can see this incredible skeleton of this massive carnivore with sharp blade-like teeth.
  3. Watch the African painted dogs at Chester Zoo – from Bunbury on the Shropshire Union Canal it takes seven hours to reach the ancient City of Chester. Once there, you can moor-up and visit the award-winning Chester Zoo, home to 21,314 animals from 500 species, including a fascinating pack of rare African Painted Dogs.
  4. Visit the Shropshire Lake District – from Whixall on the Llangollen Canal, you can reach Ellesmere in the heart of the Shropshire Lake District. The journey takes seven hours and you’ll pass Cole Mere and Blake Mere along the way.  At Ellesmere there are plenty of visitor moorings, giving you the chance to explore this historic market town with a mix of Tudor, Georgian and Victorian buildings, as well as its famous Mere and woodland walks. There’s a range of places to eat and drink, including The White Hart pub and The Red Lion coaching inn.
  5. Discover the secret life of the Tudors in Stratford-upon-Avon – from Wootton Wawen on the Stratford Canal, it’s a delightful six-hour cruise through the Warwickshire countryside to Shakespeare’s Stratford. From there, it’s a short walk to the town’s theatres, shops, restaurants and museums, including Tudor World. There you can find out what life was really like during Shakespeare’s time, from dining and sleeping, to plague and poo!
  6. Marvel at the Caen Hill flight of locks at Devizes – from Monkton Combe on the Kennet & Avon Canal, it’s a nine-hour journey to 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 is one of the most spectacular of Britain’s inland waterways. Once there, the historic market town of Devizes is a short walk away.  Devizes has a great choice of independent shops, pubs and restaurants, including the ‘Peppermill Restaurant’ and the Bear Hotel.
  7. Get close to nature at Fradley Pool Nature Reserve – from Great Haywood in Staffordshire you can cruise along the Trent & Mersey Canal to Fradley Junction in around six hours. Picturesque Fradley, offers visitors guided walks, a café, two pubs and the award-winning Fradley Pool Nature Reserve. Along the way, you’ll pass the Shugborough Estate with its stunning Georgian Mansion House and a series of pubs.
  8. Travel on the Llangollen Steam Railway – from Trevor on the Llangollen Canal in North Wales, it takes around two hours to cruise to Llangollen. You’ll pass the canalside Sun Trevor pub along the way.  Once in Llangollen, you can moor up in Llangollen Basin to explore the town. And you can experience a journey along the Llangollen Steam Railway.

Click here to book a holidayor call our booking team on 0117 304 1122.

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Over 55 years providing unique canal boat holidays in England and Wales.
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