The Cheshire Ring

Ring Stats

Distance
102 miles
Locks
92
Hours
approx. 55hrs

Celebrate the re-opening of the Trent & Mersey Canal following the canal breach last year, and go on a boating holiday on the Cheshire Ring.  This two week cruising ring takes your boat crew onto several canals, floating through Cheshire countryside, and the Peak National Forests, past the Anderton Boat Lift and through Manchester City.

Which Canals make up the Cheshire Ring?

  • Bridgewater Canal
  • Ashton Canal
  • Rochdale Canal
  • Macclesfield Canal
  • Trent & Mersey Canal

    Anderton Boat Lift

    Anderton Boat Lift

Although not the most lock heavy ring route, we would recommend two weeks to navigate to allow time for exploring the various attractions on route.

Commencing on the Trent & Mersey Canal you can choose to travel south, and complete the Cheshire Locks first before navigating onto the Macclesfield Canal, or you can choose to cruise north onto the Bridgewater Canal cruise into Manchester City.

We will start by cruising south and stopping off for a quick detour onto the River Weaver via the Anderton Boat Lift. A very popular attraction on the waterways, built by Edwin Clark in 1875, an amazing piece of engineering which lifts your hire boat over 60ft from the Canal onto the River running alongside. This is something not to be missed if you have the time, a unique Victorian experience, giving the whole crew a chance to take a tour through iconic British history.

Cruising down the Trent & Mersey Canal you will pass several towns such as Middlewich and Sandbach, this area is home to an impressive collection of garden landscapes and historic halls, such as Little Moreton Hall, one of the most famous Tudor Halls in England. Cruising Cheshire, you can expect to see salt mountains along the waterways on the Trent  & Mersey Canal, remains from the Roman salt sites.  Passing these you will reach the Cheshire Locks before navigating onto the Macclesfield Canal.  The Cheshire Locks are a flight of 26 locks dating back to the 1770′s. The lock flights, often called ‘Heartbreak Hill’ raise the canal to the Summit Level at Kidsgrove through the Cheshire Plains.

Rural Trent & Mersey Canal

Rural Trent & Mersey Canal

Joining onto the Macclesfield Canal travelling North you begin to run near the Peak District National Parks, enjoying quite a lot of lock free cruising, once past the Bosley Locks of twelve. The canal will lead you past the Gawsworth Mill and Paradise Mill Museum where you can stop to see experts demonstrating the process of weaving on the traditional handlooms, and then into Macclesfield town centre, here you will find plenty to see and do with various eateries and the Macclesfield Silk Museum & Heritage Centre. Leaving the town centre after spending the evening you will benefit from 4 hours or so of lock free cruising.

Cruising into Manchester you will float past Marple, a cobbled stone village with the marple locks and aqueduct, running alongside the River Goyt. There are plenty of pubs if you wish to stop off here for a spot of lunch before commencing onto the Ashton Canal to reach Manchester. Manchester City Centre has plenty to offer if you have time to spend the afternoon off your hire boat. Home to a selection of eateries and interesting shops, you can dine out here, spend time shopping or exploring Manchester’s rich Heritage, before returning to you canal boat hire. After departing Manchester, your hire boat will make its descent to the Trent & Mersey Canal via the Bridgewater Canal, built for the transportation of coal during the Industrial Revolution.  The navigation is completely lock free, so perfect for catching up your cruising, especially if you have spent a touch too long exploring the sites!

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Summer Norfolk Broads boating holidays

Enjoy a peaceful break on the southern waterways of the Norfolk Broads this summer and save up to £150.00 off a Broads boating holiday. The southern rivers offer a rich mix of attractions, with something for everyone to enjoy. Relax and unwind, meandering past weeping willow trees and a variety of wildlife tending to their nests in the reed beds, and discover Norwich city centre, offering a rich mix of heritage, shopping opportunities and eateries.

Explore the variety of boating attractions on offer on the southern Broads waterways including Suffolk’s seaside town, Lowestoft, visiting the sandy beaches, Victorian seaside gardens and restaurants. Discover Oulton Broads by boat, popular for those who enjoy water sports, including sailing, canoeing and rowing adventures. If you have some spare time, explore the many heritage buildings and castles, including Norwich Castle, built by the Normans 900 years ago, now home to a collection of fine art and archaeology.

Views of the River Waveney

Views of the River Waveney

This summer, you can save up to £150.00 off holidays between the 1st June and the 30th August, applicable to seven night and four night breaks. This discount applies to two motor cruisers ‘Jay’ and ‘Kingfisher’, ideal holiday cruisers for a family group or friends. Enjoy the relaxed pace of Britain’s magical waterland, starting your holiday at the village of Chedgrave on the River Chet.

Hire boat 'Jay'

Hire boat ‘Jay’ on the Norfolk Broads

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Picture above by Evelyn Simak [CC-BY-SA-2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

Summer boating holidays on the Grand Union Canal

This summer, enjoy the picturesque Grand Union Canal on a traditional narrowboat from Braunston and take advantage of savings of up to £75.00 off your boating holiday when booked by the 30th April 2013.

Cruising options are plentiful from the marina. You can take your hire boat east along the Grand Union Canal, navigating the Braunston & Blisworth Tunnels, before arriving at the Canal Museum at Stoke Bruerne. Cruising this stretch of the waterway you can expect to enjoy views of the woods of Brockhall Park which give way to plenty of picturesque fields and farmlands. You can also head north after the Braunston Tunnel and take your traditional narrowboat to the Foxton Locks for an active holiday on the Northampton section of the Grand Union Canal.

On a seven night holiday you can take the family boating west of the marina, working the flights of locks leading to Warwick before spending a relaxed day exploring the many attractions at Warwick Castle. Or choose to relax and unwind, cruising the picturesque South Oxford Canal. Join this canal south of Napton junction and cruise through rolling countryside, following the hedgerows alongside the towpath, which provide a safe haven for an abundance of wildlife. Passing Napton on Hill, the canal begins to meander, weaving your hire boat past stone villages such as Fenny Compton, Wormleighton and Cropredy.

Narrowboats from Braunston

Narrowboats from Braunston

The Braunston marina offers a selection of boating holiday routes suitable for novices and experienced boaters alike. For an example of the narrowboats on offer from this location, 50ft hire boat ‘Clent, a four berth semi traditional narrowboat is available for the seven nights starting on the 27th July, 3rd August and 13th August 2013. The discounted hire charge of £1,160.00 includes a £75.00 discount when booked by the 30th April 2013.

Traditional Hire Boat 'Clent'

Traditional Hire Boat ‘Clent’

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Crick Boat Show 2013

The 2013 Crick Boat Show & Waterways Festival takes place over the May Bank Holiday weekend – 25th to 27th May. The festivities will be held at Crick Marina, with the main hub of activity occuring south of the famous Foxton Locks on the Leicester Section of the Grand Union Canal. The Crick Boat Show, located in the heart of England, offers holiday goers the chance to combine a narrowboat holiday with a host of canal boating festivities!

Tickets can be purchased in advance online on Crick Boat Show’s offical website, saving up to 29 per cent on gate prices. Family tickets (two adults and two children aged 5-16) are £24 if bought in advance or £32 on the gate. Entry is free for under 5’s on all three show days and all children (16 or under) go free on the Monday (27 May).

Enjoy half price moorings at the Crick Boat Show when you book your boating holiday with Waterways Holidays! The moorings are online just outside Crick Marina with a bridge across the canal directly into the Show Site. The normal mooring price is £1.86 per foot.

Attractions and exhibitions include:

  • Special guest Julia Bradbury will be opening the ceremony on the 25th May
  • Traditional fun fair for the children including rides such as the carousel, lighthouse slip and swing boats
  • Punch and Judy show
  • Live bands throughout the day and evening
  • Food and drink stalls, including real ale bars
  • Boating marquees & exhibitions
  • Selection of historic boats, and ‘best boat in show’
  • Campsite entertainment
Crick Boat Show

The Crick Boat Show

To visit the Crick Boat Show over a weekend, you can hire a narrowboat from North Kilworth or Braunston. Alternatively over a seven night break, you can give yourself a longer cruise to Crick, starting from Stockton, Napton, Hillmorton, Rugby, Gayton, Clifton on Dunsmore, Stretton under Fosse or Market Harborough.

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Picture above by David Merrett from Daventry, England (Crick Boat Show Uploaded by Oxyman) [CC-BY-2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

The River Wey & Godalming Navigations

The River Wey & Godalming Navigations runs from Godalming to Weybridge, just below Shepperton Lock, where the navigation meets the River Thames. The Wey Valley offers a rich source of interest and natural beauty, the meandering waterway follows the yellow fields on the North Downs and passes under the dappled shade of willow trees. These navigations have provided commercial transport and leisure boats twenty miles of waterway connecting Surrey Villages like Godalming, Send, Farnham and Ripley with the bustling River Thames to London for over 350 years.

St Catherines Cut - River Wey

St Catherine’s Cut on the River Wey

Cruising north from our marina at Farncombe village you can expect to meander through pretty countryside, passing Mill houses, meadows and St Catherine’s Hill, before arriving at Guildford’s centre within approximately an hour’s cruise. Here you’ll find a selection of classic pubs on the waterfront. Alternatively you can moor just outside Debenhams and cross Town Bridge to the bottom of the main high street where you can choose from several other restaurants, the cinema, theatre and shopping facilities.

Leaving Guildford behind, you pass a series of parks and gardens, including Loseley Park and Sutton Place Gardens. There are a selection of excellent walks in the area, including the North Downs Way which stretches from Farnham to Dover. The scenery becomes more rural, with an abundance of fields of cattle and woodlands. Passing Send village to Pyrford village from Guildford takes approximately three to four hours by boat, meandering through the countryside. Here you will find a waterfront pub next to the Pyrford Lock, if you are looking to stop for the night.

On a short break you can expect to experience the full River Wey & Godalming Navigations, turning in the winding hole just south of Weybridge. Alternatively cruising for seven nights will allow you to continue your cruise past Weybridge onto the River Thames navigating to Windsor, visiting the Windsor Castle or cruising to Hampton Court and returning down the picturesque River Wey.

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To speak directly to one of our friendly team at Waterways Holidays Ltd, call us on 01252 796400, open 7 days a week.

Easter Savings on canal boat holidays in Warwickshire

Cruise through the pretty Warwickshire countryside this spring and enjoy savings of up to £100.00 off selected boats from our Stockton and Warwick marinas. Savings are applicable to Easter holiday bookings, a perfect get away for the family during the school holidays.
Seven night cruising options include visiting Warwick Castle and navigating the famous Hatton Flight of locks or cruising east towards Gayton through the Braunston and Blisworth Tunnels.

Book four berth, five star graded hire boat ‘Molly May’ for a midweek break commencing 1st April 2013 for an all inclusive price of £635.00 (saving £50.00)

Hire Boat 'Molly May'

Hire Boat ‘Molly May’

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School holiday savings on Cheshire narrowboat holidays

Cruise the Cheshire Plains and enjoys savings of up to 20% on all narrowboats hired from the base at Congleton on the Macclesfield Canal.

20% saving apply to holidays completed before 01 June 2013. For example, a week’s hire during the Easter holidays (30 March to 15 April 2013) on ‘Bosley’ – 44ft narrowboat sleeping four – now costs £696 (saving £173). Or a short break holidays are reduced to £472 (saving £117).

Hire Boat - 'Hazelhurst'

Hire Boat – ‘Hazelhurst’

Alternatively, families looking further ahead to the school summer holidays can take advantage of a 15% saving on holidays completed between 26 July and 02 September.  With this offer, the discounted cost of seven nights’ hire of ‘Hazelhurst’ or ‘Bosley’ is £1020 (saving £179).  To take advantage of this special offer, book and pay a deposit by the 31st March 2013.

Heading South from the base at Congleton, families can cruise down the pretty Macclesfield Canal to Kidsgrove Junction, where you meet the Trent & Mersey Canal, here you will find the extraordinary Harecastle Tunnel (1.6625 miles in length). Passing through the tunnel you will pass through our famous ‘Potteries’ – so-called due to the area’s fame for pottery manufacture ever since the industrial revolution. Just after Stoke On Trent, turn left onto the peaceful and scenic Caldon Canal, with just a few locks on the way to it’s end at Froghall Wharf, you can take a taxi to Alton Towers, which is very close by and spend a day there (an excellent idea if you have children with you).

Alternatively you can cruise North of the marina to the Peak Forest Canal. This lovely, peaceful countryside route is a joy, with much added interest provided by the historic buildings and warehouses dotted along the canal, many of which have now been converted. Wind your way through old stone bridges and past green forested areas, open fields and immense mill buildings such as Goyt Mill at Marple and Clarence Mill at Bollington and the Hovis Mill at Macclesfield. The canal is well kept with plenty of character – a real pleasure. There are even a few locks and a couple of aqueducts thrown in!

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Canal Boat Festivals in Spring 2013

A canal boat holiday is a perfect spring getaway, feeding the ducklings and spotting the kingfishers in the reeds, with the sun shining and picturesque views. There are several boat festivals taking place across the canals to celebrate all things boating over the early May Bank Holiday weekend, offering plenty of family based activities and entertainment. Why not combine your boating holiday with a boat festival, and give the family an experience to remember.

Canalway Cavalcade at Little Venice on the Regents Canal:
A community based festival that has been arranged by the IWA since 1983. Located just off Edgeware Road in Central London, the event is free of charge and runs from Saturday the 4th May until Monday the 6th. Events include a selection of music and a boat procession on Sunday the 5th from 8pm. Over the weekend there will be a selection of stalls and trade shows, offering an opportunity for water lovers to take a look at the selection of boats moored at Little Venice. Other activities include morris dancers, a real ale bar, children’s activities, bands and plenty of snacks and food.

South Pennines Boat Club Rally on the Calder and Hebble Navigation:
A pirate themed rally running over the weekend from Saturday the 4th May on the Calder and Hebble Navigation. a perfect excuse to dress up for under 16’s, as there is a best dressed competition for the most convincing pirate, so come prepared! Other activities include a selection of stalls promoting local charities, entertainers hosting a variety of childrens games, an array of snacks including BBQ’s, live music, and a real ale bar.

droitwich-canals

Canal boat holiday on the Droitwich Canals

Vines Park Water Festival:
Celebrating the reopening of the Droitwich Canals in 2011. Vines Park will be celebrating its first festival following the grand opening of Droitwich Spa Canal, over the May bank holiday from the 3rd to 6th May, 10am – 4pm. Attractions include a large selection of canal boats and working boats as well as a collection of crafts, trade and information stalls open to the public.

Loughborough Canal and Boat Festival:
Enjoy the festival over Saturday the 4th May to Sunday the 5th, from 10.30 am until 5.30pm. This event has been being held annually since 1997, a selection of stalls and hundreds of boats will gather at the canal bank, the Wharf and Schwabisch Hall Way. Originally held as a protest rally to help save the Canal Wharf at Loughborough, which at the time was being threatened by a proposed planing idea to build an inner relief road.  After the success of the rally it has become an annual event celebrating the canal.

Hire-boat-Reflection-Norbury

Canal boat hire at Norbury

Norbury Canal Festival:
Promising to be bigger than ever this year! Entertainment includes a fun fair, a bouncy castle, face painting, clown and performers, an education tent and assorted stalls spread over the canal wharf and CRT yard; this festival offers a perfect family outing. Refreshments can be found in the stalls located in the Norbury Junction Inn gardens. There is a large marquee, offering a selection of live music on the saturday and sunday evening. You may be able to spot the very popular cheese boat moored in front of the Junction Inn.

Standedge Family Fun Day:
Visit Standedge Tunnel visitor centre on Sunday the 5th May, for a family activity day! On arrival you will be met with an array of arts and crafts stalls, a bouncy castle and petting zoo. You will also have the opportunity to take a canal boat through Britain’s longest, deepest and highest canal tunnel; Or just enjoy a snack on the canal tow path!

Click for more information and availability on all our canal boat holidays. To speak directly to one of our friendly team at Waterways Holidays Ltd, call us on 01252 796400, open 7 days a week.

Canal boating short breaks on the Ashby Canal

‘Carlton’ and ‘Measham’ are now available for short break hire on selected holidays in March 2013. Both hire boats are located on the picturesque Ashby Canal, offering a lock free cruise through rich forests and rural scenery, passing the field in which the Battle of Bosworth took place.

‘Carlton’ is perfect for small parties and couples with a fixed double cabin and easy chairs in the saloon. The boat (pictured below) is decorated to a high standard with light wood furnishing, providing a fresh and airy feel.

‘Measham’ offers a high level bunk in the back cabin, so perfect for families with small children looking for a weekend break on the UK waterways. A cruiser stern boat, there is plenty of seating at the front for all the family, whilst a seat at the rear offers a chance to relax if you are the skipper!

Canal Boat 'Carlton'

Canal Boat ‘Carlton’

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Brand new boats on the Norfolk Broads at Brundall

Just introduced to Waterways Holidays 2013 availability are four brand new sports and sedan cruisers located at Brundall on the River Yare, near Norwich on the Norfolk Broads.

‘Cadet’ is a perfect boat for couples with a fixed double cabin in the bow. This cruiser has a very contemporary feel, it is decorated to a high standard with a stylish light wood interior. There is a media centre with MP3 connectivity, flat screen TV and DVD player. Other mod cons include a bow thruster for easy manoeuvring, 240 volts and shore power hook up.

Brand New Sports Cruiser - 'Cadet'

Brand New Sports Cruiser – ‘Cadet’

‘Captain’ is ideal for small families or two couples with a fixed walk around double cabin and optional dinette double in the saloon. This modern cruiser offers a spacious contemporary saloon, with glass bi folding doors accessing the large rear sundeck with seating. Perfect for dining alfresco on those warm summer evenings and offering picturesque views of the Norfolk Broads whilst cruising.

Brand New Sports Cruiser - 'Captain '

Brand New Sports Cruiser – ‘Captain ‘

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