Boating holiday routes: The River Wey

The peaceful and beautifully scenic River Wey travels through the heart of some of Surrey’s best countryside, providing boaters with the chance to explore some of the County’s attractive towns and villages.

Narrowboats on the River Wey

Narrowboats on the River Wey

This picturesque canalised river travels all the way from Godalming in Surrey, to the Thames Lock at Weybridge. Since 1653 it was used as the main link from Surrey to London, transporting goods to the capital. Commercial carrying on the River continued all the way up until the 1960s, since then it has been used by a variety of pleasure boat users and holiday makers. The River Wey was passed to the National Trust in 1964, from its last private owner, and has remained in their care ever since.

The River Wey passes through the market town of Guildford, which offers a fantastic range of restaurants making it an ideal place to stop for lunch or dinner. Guildford is home to many places of interest including Guildford Castle and Guildford Cathedral and with its wide variety of high street and designer shops it’s not a bad place to indulge in an afternoon of shopping either! Past Guildford the scenery becomes more rural, meandering through meadows, woodland and pretty riverside villages such as Send and Pyrford.

The River Wey passes through the Surrey Hills, named as an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty in 1953. The river is home to a diverse range of wildlife including dragonflies, butterflies and bats. Over 55 species of birds can be spotted on the river, including kingfishers, herons and warblers. Sites of Specific Scientific Interest (SSSI) are common along the length of The River Wey, nature reserves have also been established, offering protection to the habitats of the animal’s who have made the river their home.

Guildford Castle

Guildford Castle

The length of the River Wey can be cruised in a short break over a weekend or midweek break. A midweek break will allow more time for exploration along the river, including the National Trust’s Exhibition Centre at Dapdune Wharf, not to mention trying some of the many riverside pubs along the way! In a week’s holiday a licence can be bought to allow travel onto the River Thames, meaning towns and attractions such as Windsor Castle or Hampton Court can be visited.

To experience all that the River Wey has to offer, visit our website- or call us on 01252 796400

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Boat hire for Valentine’s Day

Struggling for some romantic inspiration for Valentine’s day? We’ve found a selection of cosy boating breaks for two in some of the most idyllic locations in the UK. No previous boating experience is necessary, as full training is given on arrival.

Beautiful scenery on the UK canals

Beautiful scenery on the UK canals


Our marina at Rugby are offering boating breaks over the Valentine’s period. Perfect for a couple to get away together and enjoy the rural scenery and rolling hills in the Warwickshire countryside. There are many route options available from Rugby making it an ideal choice for your Valentine’s break away. For a relaxing cruise, travel to the beautifully peaceful and lock-free Ashby Canal and stop off in Coventry for dinner and drinks in one of the many bars and restaurants. For a more active route, head to Crick and travel through two tunnels and two flights of locks!  Cosy 2-berth narrowboat ‘Heron’ is available from Rugby for a midweek break over Valentine’s Day for £618, and even comes with a solid fuel stove for a romantic evening on-board.

Cosy ‘Heron’ from Rugby


If a city break is more your thing, then how about a trip to Bath? Travel along the beautiful Kennet & Avon Canal, passing through picturesque towns and villages dotted along the banks. From our base at Bradford-on-Avon, there are very few locks on the journey to Bath, meaning you can relax and enjoy the scenery. Once you’ve reached the beautiful city of Bath you can visit some of the many attractions, including the Roman Baths and Bath Abbey or spend the afternoon shopping before visiting one of the numerous restaurants for a nice evening meal. Narrowboat ‘Bath’, is ideal for couples, at less than a year old ‘Bath’ has a modern interior and offers a comfortable cruising experience.



To find out more about these romantic boating breaks for two, visit our website or call us on 01252 796400 for friendly advice.


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Hire a boat and cruise the Norfolk Broads in style in one of our new additions

We are delighted to announce the arrival of two new cruisers to our fleet, available for hire in 2017. These two cruisers are rather different from one another, with one being brand new and the other being a lovingly restored  Norfolk Broads 1920s classic cruiser.

‘Spark of Light’ offers experienced boaters a holiday of nostalgic cruising on the Norfolk Broads. This Elite-Class cruiser was built in 1927 by Herbert Woods and played an important role in World War II, defending the Hickling Broad from German flying boats, preventing them from landing.  In the past 50 years ‘Spark of Light’ has changed hands many times, but has now been returned to her home, where she underwent a  five year restoration project to make her suitable for hire once again. The restoration project included adding in a few home comforts, including warm-air heating, 240v electricity, a shower and two toilets, as well as a TV/DVD player.

'Spark of Light' on the Norfolk Broads

‘Spark of Light’ on the Norfolk Broads

Our second newcomer to the fleet, ‘Serenade’, is a brand new luxurious cruiser. This cruiser has been fitted with a high-quality, stylish interior and sleeps four comfortably in two en-suite cabins, but can accommodate up to six by converting the sofa bed in the saloon. ‘Serenade’ features all mod-cons including a bow-thruster for easier manoeuvrability, an LCD TV/DVD player and warm air heating, making her the perfect choice for those wanting to explore the Broads with their family or friends in comfort. ‘Serenade’ is available for hire regardless of previous experience as full training will be given on arrival.

Brand new cruiser 'Seranade'.

Brand new cruiser ‘Seranade’.


‘Spark of Light’ is available to hire from the end of May 2017, proof of experience, along with a refundable security deposit will be required. ‘Serenade’ is available to hire from early March 2017. For more information on either of these boats, or to book for your 2017 Broads holiday, visit or call us on 01252 796400.

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Boating holiday routes: The Basingstoke Canal

The Basingstoke Canal has undergone a remarkable restoration project, meaning narrowboats are once again able to travel almost the whole length of the canal, from the base at Odiham in Hampshire, all the way to West Byfleet in Surrey. The Basingstoke Canal has an interesting history, it was used in WW1 to transport military cargoes from Woolwich to Aldershot and it was where soldiers received training in boat handling so that they were able to make use of the French and Belgian waterways. This canal is a good option for novice boaters, as the first lock is a full 12 miles from the base, giving you plenty of time to get used to the tiller!

Cruising along the peaceful Basingstoke Canal

The Basingstoke Canal winds its way through beautiful Surrey and Hampshire countryside, at only an hour’s journey from London it’s perfect for those wanting to escape the city. It is also a good choice for those of you wanting to bring along your four-legged friends, as there are lots of walks and dog-friendly pubs along the canal, or within easy reach. The Basingstoke Canal Centre in Mytchett is a great place to moor up for a spot of lunch, here there is a canal cafe serving hot and cold foods. There is also a visitor’s centre, which offers you the chance to learn about the canal’s history and purchase a souvenir from the gift shop!

The canal has been named as a Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI) due to the different species of dragonflies and damselflies that are found in the area. A total of 25 species out of 39 inhabit the canal and may be seen during the course of your narrowboat holiday. A diverse range of other wildlife can be spotted along the canal; it’s great for keen bird-watchers as you may get to spot herons, kingfishers and different varieties of grebes. Deer, badgers and foxes also have habitats along the towpath. The Basingstoke Canal also hosts the largest congregation of hibernating natterer bats in the UK (over 12,500!) in the Greywell tunnel. The tunnel is situated on the Basingstoke Canal, north of our base; it is not navigable due to a roof collapse in 1932.

‘Madam Butterfly’- a wheelchair accessible boat on the Basingstoke Canal

Notable features along the Basingstoke Canal include Odiham Castle (King John’s Castle) which is north of the base. The castle runs adjacent to the canal; it is believed to host the ruins of the only octagonal keep in England. Other features include concrete pillboxes- small defensive structures for soldiers used to keep an approaching army at bay. Canal defences along the canal are not limited to pillboxes- in the Crookham area there is a set of 14 dragons teeth, these concrete square-pyramidal structures were used as anti- tank defence in WWII. The Basingstoke Canal is home to the Deepcut lock-flight, 14 evenly spaced locks appear one after the other giving boaters a fun challenge! Passage through the flight does have to be pre-booked and can only be completed in weekly breaks or longer.

To enjoy all that the tranquil Basingstoke Canal has to offer, choose ‘Basingstoke’ from our waterway drop-down list: We are also able to offer accessible boating holidays from Odiham, give us a call on 01252 796400 to discuss your options.

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Boating holiday routes: The River Avon


The picturesque River Avon meanders its way through attractive Warwickshire and Gloucestershire countryside, providing boaters with plenty of opportunities to alight and explore some of the most historic towns and villages in the UK.



Tewkesbury, the characterful town with its medieval streets hosts beautiful Tudor, black and white half-timber buildings. The popular town is home to one of the top tourist attractions in Gloucestershire, Tewkesbury Abbey is almost 900 years old and features a Norman tower, stained glass windows and an ornate 12th Century ceiling. Other attractions include the Heritage centre, town museum and a traditional high street, full of independent shops. Moor up at Tewkesbury Marina for a short walk into the village centre. A good place for a spot of lunch is the Royal Hop Pole, with its historic architecture, and riverside pub garden.

The beautiful Vale of Evesham (11 hours cruise from Tewkesbury) also has some interesting attractions worth visiting along the way. The Bell Tower of Evesham Abbey is one of the only parts of the Abbey to survive the revolutionary Dissolution of the Monasteries in the 16th Century, where King Henry VIII disbanded the Catholic Monasteries, often demolishing the Abbeys and Cathedrals. Close by is the Almonry Museum and Heritage Centre, built in the 14th Century, where you can take a trip back in time viewing historic artefacts including Anglo-Saxon grave goods and Georgian clothing. Evesham is easily accessible from the River Avon, just moor up along the towpath for a nice walk into the town.



Last, but certainly not least is the medieval market town of Stratford-upon-Avon, a 7-hour cruise from Evesham. Home to William Shakespeare, the town’s attractions, as expected, are mostly focused on the famous poet and playwright’s life. Such attractions include Shakespeare’s birthplace on Henley Street and Anne Hathaway’s cottage, the beautiful thatched farmhouse with its stunning gardens is located a 1 mile walk from the centre of Stratford-upon-Avon, in nearby Shottery. Of course a trip to Stratford-upon-Avon wouldn’t be complete without a visit to the Royal Shakespeare Theatre, where you can moor up directly opposite!

To enjoy all that the River Avon has to offer, start your holiday from our bases at either Stratford-upon-Avon, Wootton Wawen, Worcester, or Pershore. Please note that if you start from Stratford-upon-Avon, Wootton Wawen or Worcester you will be required to purchase a licence to cruise on the River Avon. If you start from Pershore the licence fee is already included. To continue on and extend your holiday past the River Avon, if time permits, why not carry on past Tewkesbury onto the River Severn. Alternatively, if you have two weeks to spare and you are an experienced boater, why not try the Avon Ring at 109 miles and with 131 locks it’s not for the faint-hearted!


Moorings at Pershore

To search for boating holidays on the River Avon, search: and select ‘River Avon’ from the drop down menu. Alternatively give our team a call on 01252 796400 for friendly boating advice.

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Boating holiday routes: Cruising The Ashby Canal


The perfect choice for first time boaters or experienced boaters wanting a gentle holiday as the Ashby Canal is lock-free, enabling boaters to relax and enjoy the pretty scenery.  At 22 miles long, the unspoilt Ashby Canal passes through rural countryside with plenty of wildlife to keep you company.  The length of the Ashby Canal can be explored in a short break holiday over a weekend, or midweek break.


Cruising along the scenic Ashby Canal

Heading north from the base is a good option for those interested in history, around an hour from our base on the Ashby Canal you can reach Sutton Cheney. Only a 20 minute walk from here you can visit the place where Richard III died at the hands of Henry Tudor and follow the Bosworth Battlefield Circular Trail.  Alternatively, a little further on, you can moor up at the Shenton Aqueduct and take a 15 minute woodland walk to the Battle of Bosworth site and refresh yourself at their tearooms.

The pretty town of Market Bosworth can easily be reached from the Ashby Canal, a good place to stop for dinner as there are a few pubs and an Indian and Chinese restaurant. Further along the Ashby Canal, a 4 hour cruise from the base is the village of Shackerstone. Shackerstone is the home of the railway society; from here you can take a ride on a steam train and visit railway museum and Victorian tea room souvenir shop. If you do decide to go North from the base do remember to bring food provisions with you as there are only one or two farm stores along the canal, and the co-op at Market Bosworth (2.5 hours cruising).

To extend your short break once you’ve journeyed the length of the Ashby canal, cruise south past the base and off the Ashby Canal onto the Coventry Canal at Hawkesbury junction where you will encounter your first lock. From here you could cruise into the canal basin in the centre of Coventry and experience the city’s quirky bars and restaurants. If you fancy a challenge, why not cruise up to Atherstone and tackle the flight of 11 locks.


Coventry Canal Basin

Options for week long breaks or 10 night breaks from our base on the Ashby Canal are plentiful; choose from several out-and-back routes such as cruising to the popular canal-side village of Braunston and back. Alternatively, have a go at the Warwickshire ring and cruise through Warwick, Leamington Spa and into Gas Street Basin in the centre of Birmingham before returning to the base meandering through peaceful countryside.

*The Ashby Canal can also be explored from our bases at Clifton on Dunsmore, Rugby and Stretton-under-Fosse and Coventry.

To search for boating holidays on the Ashby Canal, search: and select ‘Ashby Canal’ from the drop down menu. Alternatively give our team a call on 01252 796400 for friendly boating advice.

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Festivities on the UK canals this Christmas

Snow on the Basingstoke Canal

Snow on the Basingstoke Canal

Christmas is a magical time of year to explore the UK waterways. With beautiful crisp mornings and cosy evenings by the solid fuel stove, winter-time cruising certainly has its appeals. There are plenty of attractions available to visit around Christmas time all over the UK, here’s a round-up of the best ones this year:



• Visit Warwick this Christmas break from our bases at Stockton or Warwick on the Grand Union Canal. Stop off and explore Hatton World’s Enchanted Christmas Kingdom, browse the Hatton Shopping Village’s boutique stalls to pick up some unusual gifts. A trip to Warwick wouldn’t be complete without a visit to Warwick Castle- this year hosting a range of Christmas events for adults and children alike, including story time with Santa and the Winter Birds of Prey Show.


• Birmingham has so many festive options you’ll be spoilt for choice! Not only do they host the infamous Frankfurt market annually (see more below), there’s also a Santa show and a pantomime at Cadbury World. Drayton Manor has a Christmas Tree Light Show, an indoor ice rink and a ride on the Polar Express on offer! How about a trip to visit Santa with a difference? Take a boat ride to visit him in his underground grotto in the Dudley tunnel! Moor up at Gas Street Basin in the centre of Birmingham, a five hour cruise from our Tardebigge base.


Moor up in the centre of Birmingham


• Visit the ancient city of Chester, a 7 hour cruise through the countryside from our base at Bunbury. Chester Cathedral is hosting the Christmas Tree Festival this year, along with carol services sung by the choir. The increasingly popular Lanterns at Chester Zoo event is back once again this year, take a walk on the illuminated trail through the enchanted gardens past life-sized animal lanterns! From Bunbury you can also visit Market Drayton- the home of gingerbread.

Christmas Markets

Birmingham Frankfurt Christmas Market- The largest authentic German market outside of Germany and Austria. Sample the bratwursts and glühwein (mulled wine) whilst browsing the stalls and searching for gifts. An easy cruise of just five hours down the Worcester & Birmingham Canal from our base at Tardebigge, just search ‘Birmingham’ in our city breaks drop-down.

Bath Christmas Market- An award winning Christmas market, with 170 wooden chalets selling festive goods lining the streets of Bath. As well as the market, Bath Abbey hosts a Christmas carol service and there’s an outdoor ice-rink and Santa’s Grotto to visit too! Look for Bath city breaks departing from Bradford on Avon or Claverton for a gentle cruise on the Kennet & Avon into Bath city centre.

Bath Christmas Market

Bath Christmas Market

Coventry Christmas Village- One for the foodies with food stalls featuring dishes from all over the world. The market also offers a wide selection of unique gifts, including leather accessories, toys and sweet treats! Coventry can be reached from a number of bases, including Rugby and Clifton-On-Dunsmore on the North Oxford Canal and Stoke Golding, via the Ashby Canal.

Please note that some routes may be affected by winter maintenance on the canals, we will advise you on planned stoppages and route restrictions.

To find your perfect Christmas break, search under city breaks and select your chosen destination from the drop-down menu on: Alternatively, give us a call on 01252 796400 for friendly advice.


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Brand new boats now available for 2017 holidays

Its getting to the time of year when boatyards start focusing on adding new additions to their fleet. Some are still currently under construction, but we do already have some available to book for your 2017 holiday.

We are also now offering holidays from Reedley, near Burnley on the Leeds & Liverpool canal. Wide beam boat ‘Vintage 001’ is available to hire from this location. At 10ft wide it adds that extra bit of comfort and luxury for your 2017 holiday. The saloon features a real fuel stove and a television with Freeview. Vintage sleeps up to 9 and all beds have memory foam mattresses.

Here is a brief introduction to each of the new arrivals:

'Blackdown' currently being built for the 2017 season

‘Blackdown’ currently being built for the 2017 season

‘Blackdown’ from Braunston is a 69ft narrowboat suitable for large groups and families. It offers 3 cabins and a make-up bed in the saloon with a flexible bed layout of either 4 doubles or 6 singles and a double.  ‘Blackdown’ features two bathrooms, a smooth-running, water-cooled diesel engine and sleeps up to 8.

‘Radagast’ (named for the brown wizard in the Hobbit) is a 55ft narrowboat that departs from our base at Beeston in Cheshire.  Sleeping up to four, with a flexible bed layout, it is suitable for families or small groups. Radagast has a cruiser-style deck with a safety rail at the stern.

With 3 new boats to choose from at our Stoke on Trent (Peak District) base you’ll be spoilt for choice. ‘Little Pea’ is a lovely luxury 50ft narrowboat for couples, but can accommodate up to five if necessary. Sister boats ‘Louisa’ and ‘Mrs B’ are 62ft and can sleep a maximum of 6, ideal for couples or families.

Katie Marie at Loughborough

Katie Marie at Loughborough

‘Katie Marie’, a new boat for 2016, is a comfortable smaller narrowboat located in Loughborough. Perfect for one or two couples with two double beds available, dressed in Egyptian cotton for a touch of luxury. The spacious cruiser stern allows for all of the party to sit together and take in the views along the waterways. Inside there is a solid fuel stove and Freeview television for cosy nights in.

‘Angharad’ is also currently being built for 2017 is ideally situated at Chirk on the Llangollen Canal. She is great for families looking to explore the Pontcysyllte Aqueduct and Horseshoe Falls. Sleeping up to 6, this 52ft cruiser stern will be fully equipped with all mod cons for a comfortable boating holiday.

To find out more about our brand new boats, call one of our friendly booking team on 01252 796 400, we are open 7 days a week, or search our website using the advanced option of ‘New Boat/Elite Boat’:

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Celebrate the 200th year of the UK’s longest canal from our new base at Reedley!


Leeds & Liverpool Canal

The Leeds & Liverpool Canal is a whopping 127 miles long and consists of 91 locks. It played a huge part in the industrial revolution and was the main method of transporting goods, most importantly coal. The canal links the two cities, with Liverpool to the West and Leeds to the East.

There is plenty to explore along this lovely canal, which meanders its way through beautiful open Pennine countryside and picturesque villages. Located in Burnley, our base at Reedley provides you with plenty of route options for an action-packed holiday, with so much to explore. There are many places of interest for you to discover along the Leeds & Liverpool Canal:

Bingley Five Rise– The steepest set of locks in Britain, with a total rise of 60ft! Arguably the most impressive feature on the Leeds & Liverpool Canal, the 5-rise staircase is supervised by a lock-keeper during daytime hours to see you through. Experience the Bingley Five Rise on a 7-night break departing from Reedley or Barnoldswick.

Foulridge Tunnel– Known for the story of Buttercup the cow, who fell into the canal in 1912 and swam the full length of the tunnel (1,500m), to be revived with brandy when she came out the other side. Travel through the long, dark tunnel is controlled by traffic lights as boats are only permitted to travel one at a time. Cruise through the tunnel on short breaks from Reedley or Barnoldswick or week long holidays from Riley Green.

Barrowford– Home of the Pendle Witches! Follow the spooky story of the infamous witches from Pendle Heritage Centre all the way to Lancaster Castle to visit the dungeons in which they were kept before they stood trial. The charming village of Barrowford is well known for its upmarket shops and independent, designer clothes stores; it even gets the occasional celebrity shopper. Barrowford is easily accessible from Reedley, Riley Green or Barnoldswick on a short break.

Keighley & Worth Valley Railway– Set in the heart of Brontë country is the railway featured in the 1970s film ‘The Railway Children’. Travel back in time and visit Oakworth station, the station used in the film and watch the vintage steam trains go by. You can even take a ride on the railway and go to the village of Haworth, where sisters Emily and Charlotte Brontë lived. Visit Keighley from our Reedley or Barnoldswick bases in a 7-night break.

Skipton Castle– Skipton Castle is one of the best preserved and most complete medieval castles in the UK, at over 900 years old it has survived a very turbulent history, including a 3-year siege in the Civil War. Explore the castle from dungeon to watchtower and then take a look around Skipton itself, make sure to sample some Yorkshire Dales ice cream back at the canal basin! Skipton can be reached in a short break from both Reedley and Barnoldswick.

To book your next boating holiday and explore what the Northern Canals have to offer, search our website: for live availability or give us a call on 01252 796400.

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Cosy canal boat winter holidays



Winter cruising on the Trent & Mersey Canal

Take a narrowboat holiday with a difference this winter and enjoy the canals in a unique setting. The scenery on the canals in the winter months is picture-perfect with frosty mornings, calm waterways and crispy towpaths. It’s not just the scenery that makes a winter canal boat holiday appealing, it’s a chance to slow down, with shorter cruising times of around 4 hours a day, there’s plenty of time to stop off and enjoy a nice pub meal by an open fire before making your way back to your cosy, floating home for the evening.


‘Bridie Bear’ Stove


Whatever the weather, you’ll be nice and warm on-board. All of our narrowboats have central heating and hot water; some even feature a stove heater for an extra-cosy winter break. With TV/DVD players on the majority of boats you can enjoy a nice evening snuggled up watching a film in front of the stove. Don’t forget to bring your warm winter clothing and make the most of what will be a memorable boating holiday!


Stove on ‘Edith Annie’

Search for availability on our website:, to enjoy a winter break with a stove heater, tick the ‘stove heater’ box under the search. Alternatively give us a call on 01252 796400.

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