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:

Rural retreat Wootton Wawen

Wootton Wawen

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.

Read about our Wootton Wawen base

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

Great Haywood

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 & Worcestershire canal and Trent & 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 & Worcestershire Canal 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.

Read about our Great Haywood base

Rural retreat Bunbury


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.

Read about our Bunbury base

Rural retreat Trevor


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.

Read about our Trevor base

Visit Bradford on Avon on a canal boat holiday

Bradford on Avon

From Anglo Welsh’s canal barge hire base at on the edge of Bath 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.

Read about Bradford on Avon

Anglo Welsh's new luxury Admiral Class boats


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.

Read about Whixall

Monkton Combe

Monkton Combe

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.

Read about Monkton Combe



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.

Read about our Oxford base

Top 10 short break canal boat holidays


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.

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