Top rural retreats
A canal boat cruise through unspoilt countryside is a “holiday” in the truest sense, giving you the chance to really 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 and great views and country pubs are as abundant as the wildlife.
A few of our most popular rural canal boat holiday spots include:
On your Anglo Welsh narrowboat holiday you’ll have a room with an amazing view, which is ideal to take in the picture perfect scenery as you cruise past. 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 pass more verdant landscapes as you head towards the bright lights of Birmingham.
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A short trip from Braunston at the heart of the Midlands canal system, our narrowboat hire base at Stockton Top Marina offers a range of idyllic canal holiday cruises that brings people back time and again. In a leisurely seven-hour narrowboat cruise you can reach the historic market town of Warwick with its amazing medieval castle sitting at the heart of sprawling landscaped gardens. Stockton is ideally placed for the Warwickshire Ring, which is a beautiful one week canal cruise. You can also wind steadily down the South Oxford Canal towards the ‘City of dreaming spires’ or head into the midlands on the North Oxford to the peaceful and lock free Ashby Canal.
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If you thrive on choice, this is the narrowboat hire base for your canal boat holiday. Great Haywood is situated at a crossroads of the Staffordshire and Worcester canal and Trent and Mersey canal, in an area rich in history and heritage, so your first decision will be which way to go, depending on your narrowboat cruising criteria.
Head north on the Trent and Mersey through The Potteries towards Stoke on Trent where you can join the idyllic Caldon Canal, taking you along the romantic Churnet Valley to pretty Froghall, a stone’s throw from Alton Towers.
Cruise along the Staffordshire and Worcester and you reach the beautiful Tixall Wide in just 15 minutes 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.
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Set in the heart of rural Cheshire, Bunbury is an ideal starting point to explore four popular canal cruising routes – 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 with not a city in sight or bear off down the Middlewich Branch and cruise to the world famous Anderton Boat Lift, the world’s first and the UK’s only working boat lift. With seven more miles of the Montgomery Canal recently restored, wildlife lovers can now cruise through this ‘Site of Special Scientific Interest’, cherished for its exceptional beauty.
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Located right next to the jaw dropping Pontcysyllte Aqueduct, nicknamed the ‘Stream in the Sky’ as it carries the Llangollen canal 126ft high above the River Dee, Trevor is a memorable starting point for any canal boat holiday. Cross the soaring World Heritage monument for spectacular views over the River Dee valley and 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 stunning Montgomery Canal.
Head west from Trevor to enjoy a stunningly picturesque cruise above the River Dee valley towards the lovely town of Llangollen, nestled on the riverbank with the Welsh mountains rising above it. The Dee Valley with its little towns of Chirk, Corwen and Lake Bala will take you on a scenic voyage of discovery through this fascinating and little known area of North Wales.
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From Anglo Welsh’s canal barge hire base at Tardebigge, in the Worcestershire countryside, there’s a great choice of rural routes. You can cruise north through the remains of the Forest of Arden to the peaceful canalside village of Lapworth. Or head south along the peaceful Worcester & Birmingham Canal to complete the Droitwich Ring.
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Our narrowboat hire base at Whixall Marina is located on the Prees Branch of the Llangollen Canal, deep in the Shropshire countryside. You can cruise through the Shropshire Lake District to historic Ellesmere and Chirk, with its medieval castle. And 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.
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Located in the beautiful Bath valley, our canal boat hire base at Monkton Combe is on the Kennet & Avon Canal in Somerset. Heading west, you’ll soon cross the stunning Bath stone aqueducts at Dundas then Avoncliff. You can cruise to the Saxon village 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.
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You can take a Thames boating holiday from our base on the River Thames at Eynsham. 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.
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From Silsden you enjoy the stunning scenery of the Leeds & Liverpool Canal. 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.
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