Top rural retreats

You can cruise through some of Britain’s best loved countryside on a canal boat holiday

A canal boat cruise through unspoilt countryside offers the chance escape from the hustle and bustle of daily life. There are rural canal cruises from all our narrowboat hire bases, where tranquillity and birdsong are the norm. As well as great views, country pubs and wildlife.

A few of our most popular rural canal boat holiday spots include:

Rural retreat Wootton Wawen

Wootton Wawen

Cruise gently through the Warwickshire countryside to Shakespeare’s Stratford or Hatton Locks

From our narrowboat hire base at Wootton Wawen you can cruise in a number of directions all of which take in the stunning countryside at the heart of England.

Head south to reach beautiful Stratford-upon-Avon in just six hours. Explore Shakespeare’s birthplace, rich in culture and history, set on the banks of the River Avon. If you take your ‘floating hotel’ north, you’ll cruise through the remains of the Forest of Arden and on towards the bright lights of Birmingham.

Read about our Wootton Wawen base

Enjoy a canal boat holiday in the Staffordshire countryside from Great Haywood

Great Haywood

Great Haywood is at the junction of two popular canals and offers a great choice of routes

Great Haywood is situated at a crossroads of the Staffordshire & Worcestershire canal and Trent & Mersey canal, in an area rich in history and heritage.

You can head north on the Trent & Mersey through The Potteries towards Stoke on Trent. There you can join the idyllic Caldon Canal, taking you along the romantic Churnet Valley to Froghall, a stone’s throw from Alton Towers.

Or cruise along the Staffordshire & Worcestershire Canal to the beautiful Tixall Wide, where the canal opens up into a lake teeming with wildlife. Further along the canal you’ll reach Victorian Wightwick Manor with its William Morris interiors and colourful garden. And Kinver Edge with its unique rock-carved houses.

Read about our Great Haywood base

Rural retreat Bunbury


Set in the heart of rural Cheshire, Bunbury is an ideal starting point to explore the Cheshire countryside by boat

Popular canal cruising routes from Bunbury include a visit to the ancient city of Chester, the Llangollen Canal, the Shropshire Union Canal and the Middlewich Branch Canal. A canal boat holiday from Bunbury can take in the glorious English countryside through Cheshire and Shropshire or even the delights of North Wales.

Cruise north for a day to reach Chester, a city old enough to make your spine tingle yet young and fashionable in spirit with a compact historic centre easy to explore on foot. Continue north to reach Ellesmere Port, where the history of the canals began.

Take the Shropshire Union Canal south to enjoy rural tranquillity. Or bear off down the Middlewich Branch and cruise to the world famous Anderton Boat Lift, also known as The Cathedral of the Canals. With eight more miles of the Montgomery Canal now restored, wildlife lovers can now cruise through this ‘Site of Special Scientific Interest’.

Read about our Bunbury base

Rural retreat Trevor


Cruise along the beautiful Llangollen Canal and across the UNESCO World Heritage ‘Stream in the Sky’

Located next to the jaw dropping Pontcysyllte Aqueduct, Trevor is a memorable starting point for any canal boat holiday.

You can cross the soaring Stream in the Sky and experience spectacular views over the River Dee Valley 38 metres below. Then continue along peaceful wooded slopes until the 421-metre Chirk Tunnel then Chirk Aqueduct carry you across the border into England towards Ellesmere and the Montgomery Canal.

Head west from Trevor to enjoy a stunningly picturesque cruise above the River Dee valley towards the lovely town of Llangollen. This Eisteddfod town is nestled on the riverbank with the Welsh mountains rising above it.

Read about our Trevor base

Visit Bradford on Avon on a canal boat holiday

Bradford on Avon

From our hire bases at Bath or Monkton Combe you can cruise along the Kennet & Avon Canal to Bradford on Avon

This historic market town of Bradford on Avon has many impressive attractions, including its medieval Town Bridge over the River Avon and spectacular 14th century monastic stone barn.  There’s something for everyone in this west Wiltshire town close to the Somerset border – canalside pubs, independent shops, restaurants and cafes, riverside walks and market streets dating back to the Middle Ages.

We also have a canal boat hire base at Bradford on Avon.

Read about Bradford on Avon

Anglo Welsh's new luxury Admiral Class boats


Our narrowboat hire base at Whixall Marina is located deep in the Shropshire countryside

From Whixall you can cruise down the Prees Branch to join the Llangollen Canal. And then cruise through the Shropshire Lake District to historic Ellesmere and Chirk, with its medieval castle. Then on into North Wales along the 11 miles of the Poncysyllte Aqueduct & Canal World Heritage Site, enjoying stunning mountain and valley views along the way.

Or continue through the Shropshire countryside to Whitchurch and Wrenbury.

Read about Whixall

Monkton Combe

Monkton Combe

Located in the beautiful Bath valley, our base at Monkton Combe is on the Kennet & Avon Canal in Somerset

Heading west along the Kennet & Avon Canal, you’ll soon cross the stunning Bath stone aqueducts at Dundas then Avoncliff.  You can cruise to the Saxon town of Bradford on Avon, and then on through the Wiltshire countryside to the base of the famous Caen Hill flight of locks. On a week away, you can carry on through the Pewsey Vale Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty and the Savernake Forest to Hungerford.

Read about Monkton Combe



You can take a Thames boating holiday from our base on the River Thames at Eynsham near Oxford

Cruise west through the Oxfordshire countryside to historic Lechlade, on the edge of the Cotswolds.  Or head east through woodlands and riverside meadows to historic Abingdon and Wallingford.

Read about our Oxford base

Top 10 short break canal boat holidays


Enjoy the stunning scenery of the Leeds & Liverpool Canal on a boating holiday from Silsden

At 127 miles, the Leeds & Liverpool Canal is the longest single canal in the country.  It crosses the Pennines and offers canal boat holiday-makers incredible views of some of England’s most unspoilt countryside.  From Silsden, you can cruise west to the village of Gargrave, on the edge of the Yorkshire Dales National Park. Then on to East Marton on the Pennine Way. Or head east to Shipley or Saltaire.

For more information about routes from Silsden, click here

Read about our Silsden base

Be Inspired

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

City Breaks
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