Dawn, a team member at Waterways Holidays took her family to France in May to enjoy a boating experience with a different flavour on the canals and rivers of Burgundy. She has been kind enough to share her holiday experience with us in her travel log: After many years of boating on the UK canals, we decided it was time to try something different and enjoy a boating holiday in Europe, but with so many waterways across Portugal, France and Germany to choose from where to start! After some discussion, we decided on beautiful Burgundy in the heart of France. We ...
Beat the back-to-school blues by booking a boating holiday in the October half term. With options on both the Norfolk Broads and the UK canals available, there are plenty of locations to choose from. Boating holidays in autumn give you the chance to experience the UK waters in a completely different light; with the sun still shining (hopefully) it’s a far more peaceful time to explore the waterways and cosy water-side pubs along the way. [caption id="attachment_4891" align="aligncenter" width="495"] Middlewich in Autumn[/caption] With plenty of events to keep the kids occupied, the Broads is the place to be for an action-packed holiday. ...
[caption id="attachment_4847" align="aligncenter" width="495"] Scottish Lowlands[/caption] A boating holiday on the Scottish canals gives you the opportunity to explore and meander your way along both the Forth & Clyde Canal and the Union Canal, linked together by the impressive Falkirk Wheel. The once derelict canals have been wonderfully restored and have opened up some of the most beautiful waterways in the United Kingdom for you to discover, with some fascinating attractions along the way. The Falkirk Wheel The Falkirk Wheel is conveniently located at our Falkirk base, situated between Edinburgh and Glasgow. It is an ideal starting point for your Scottish canal holiday. ...
The canals in Wales host some of the most beautiful scenery on all of the waterways in the UK. With either the north of Wales or the south available to choose from, the Llangollen and the Monmouthshire & Brecon Canal both have a lot to offer on your boating holiday. [caption id="attachment_4832" align="aligncenter" width="495"] Pontcysylle Aqueduct, Llangollen Canal[/caption] The Llangollen Canal Located aross the Welsh and Shropshire borders, the Llangollen canal is the host of the Pontcysyllte Aqueduct nicknamed ‘the stream in the sky’ and the smaller Chirk Aqueduct. The Pontcysyllte Aqueduct is the highest and longest in the world, carrying an ...
Fancy a boating holiday with that extra bit of added luxury? The widebeam boat ‘Larkspur’ is perfect for a family or friends holiday, sleeping up to 6 people, with an extra 4ft of width compared to traditional narrowboats; it’s like being on a quaint, floating holiday cottage. [caption id="attachment_4812" align="aligncenter" width="495"] Luxury widebeam boat saloon area[/caption] Located on the beautiful Kennet and Avon Canal, in Bathampton, there are plenty of locations to explore on your holiday. Take a trip into the picturesque city of Bath, a city steeped in history, famous for its architecture and home to the original Roman Baths. Or for ...
In this year when HRH Queen Elizabeth celebrates her 90th Birthday, the Norfolk Broads hire yacht 'Zoe' is celebrating her 120th. year! [caption id="attachment_4799" align="aligncenter" width="489"] 'Zoe' celebrates 120 years making her the UK's oldest working hire boat[/caption] Built in 1896 by Ernest Collins of Wroxham as a lugsail rigged counter stern hire yacht, she was originally named 'Jubilee' in honour of Queen Victoria's Diamond Jubilee. She appeared in the very first Broads holiday hire boat brochure published over 100 years ago and is now thought to be the oldest self steer holiday hire boat available anywhere in the UK. After many pre-war ...
Looking for a bit of inspiration for your next UK holiday? We’ve looked at some of the top attractions either on, or very close to the waterways all over England. Whether you’re after a relaxing, scenic holiday or one packed full of adventure- there’s something for everyone on the UK waterways. The Anderton Boat Lift Situated in the North of England is the Anderton Boat lift. An impressive structure, located on the banks of the River Weaver in Cheshire. Built to lift cargo boats from the river below, to the Trent and Mersey Canal above, the lift went under major restoration in ...
Here at Waterways holidays we thought it would be helpful for those of you considering your first boating holiday to put a few frequently asked questions together. Previous experience is not required so a boating holiday is an exciting, fun option to consider when choosing your holiday. It is a perfect way to discover the British countryside at a slow and relaxing pace, taking in the scenery as you cruise along. [caption id="attachment_4741" align="aligncenter" width="495"] Canalside Pub[/caption] How many people can you fit on a narrow boat? 12 people is the maximum number allowed on a hire boat, this includes infants. Can you go boating ...
If you are thinking about trying your first family boating holiday, the Norfolk Broads is a great location to get afloat. Consisting of a series of rivers and open Broads (connected lakes) the Broads extend from North Norfolk all the way down to the Suffolk borders, offering you 125 miles of easy lock free cruising. With stunning scenery, beautiful thatched waterside cottages, a good choice of waterside pubs, an abundance of wildlife and a rich history, the Broads is a truly unique holiday destination. [caption id="attachment_4718" align="aligncenter" width="495"] Boating on the Norfolk Broads in Coltishall[/caption] As the newest of the UK's family ...
A boating holiday is a unique way to discover Shakespeare’s Stratford, courtesy of Waterways Holidays. The River Avon joins the Stratford-upon-Avon Canal at Bancroft Basin in the very heart of the town, close to the RSC’s Swan Theatre which has productions throughout the season. Bancroft Basin is also within walking distance of Shakespeare’s Birthplace, the Schoolroom where he was taught to write as well as New Place (his home in later life) and Holy Trinity Church where he is buried. Anne Hathaway’s Cottage is a short bus ride or 30 minute walk from the Avon, and Mary Arden’s Farm lies ...
Brand new wheel chair accessible canal boat, named ‘Beatrice,’ is now available to hire from Hillmorton Marina on the North Oxford Canal just south of Rugby. The 53ft canal boat can be hired for short breaks over the mid-week and weekend and full week from Monday or Friday.
Special features include:
The boat is laid out so that you can use the lift in the stern to enter the saloon and galley, pass through the large wet room and bathroom and into the cabin with large double in the forward cabin. Using the ramp to access the boat’s rear deck, this area has been heighened so that the skipper can see to the front of the boat for steering, with a wheel, if required. Some cooking facilities and windows are lowered on board for ease of use. There is a spacious work top with hinge to allow access to the wet room and front cabin with one large double bed and a wardrobe.
The location offers multiple route options including navigating up to the Ashby Canal for lock free cruising, or if you prefer you can cruise south and experience the locks on the Grand Union Canal or South Oxford Canal.
Our journey began at Napton and having booked a very comfortable Duchess 4 narrowboat from there we decided to travel South down the lower half of the Oxford Canal which stretches between Napton and the historic university City of Oxford. This particular waterway is renowned for it’s quiet and very rural surroundings, mostly farmland or woods, and for the abundance of lift bridges along the route – the vast majority of which are left open so that you can pass through them undisturbed. The sound of birdsong fills the air and ducks and moorhens mother tiny chicks which trail along after them on the canal.
On our first day we cruised from Napton to the small village of Fenny Compton, which has a canalside pub called ‘The Wharf’. Between the two villages is a flight of nine narrow locks, taking very little time to fill up, the first of which is manned by a lock-keeper who will very kindly shows you the ropes. After the locks, the route is lock-free all the way past Fenny Compton and down to Claydon and follows the winding contours of the land, with some reasonably tight bends and some rather narrow bits where there used to be old tunnels or lift bridges that are no more. The Wharf has two watering points to enable you to re-fill your water tank if you wish to. The pub has a restaurant but also has a takeaway menu for people who wish to eat on their boats instead (breakfast is served there from 10am).
From Fenny Compton we travelled first of all to Cropredy, which is a very attractive, traditional English village with some lovely old cottages, an historic church, a ‘general stores’ and two pubs – The Red Lion and the Brasenose Arms, which is rather well-known for it’s fabulous Sunday Roast. From Cropredy we cruised down to Banbury through 3 well-spaced-out locks (a couple of which were quite stiff to turn), past Tooley’s Historic Boatyard into the centre of the town where there is a lift-bridge to open following by a heavy lock, which you will be required to work with quite an audience of spectators. There are numerous narrowboats moored up in the town centre itself, so you must travel very slowly past them to avoid disturbing the occupants. We moored up after the second bridge, where we could easily walk to a large ‘well-known supermarket’ for provisions. There are lots of shops, restaurants and tea shops to visit in Banbury and attractions including a medieval church, a theatre, gallery and museum.
The next day we set off for Aynho, which took us through another 4 locks (including a diamond-shaped lock) and 10 lift bridges (all open) each separated by pretty countryside, fields of cows and sheep, and pretty cottages with their flourishing Summer gardens. The canal meanders lazily along with cattle and their calves kneeling down to drink from the water nearby. Aynho is a very small village with a boatyard and a pub. The boatyard offers basic provisions and has a water point. The pub – ‘The Great Western Arms’ – is very well known for it’s excellent food and was awarded Best Pub of the Year in 2011.
From Aynho, we planned to travel down past Upper Heyford and Lower Heyford to Gibraltar where we would stop for the night before continuing to Thrupp. There are just 3 locks to do between Aynho and Lower Heyford, but as you approach the village, there is a chain lift bridge – where you pull a chain down to lift the bridge up – which was quite heavy to keep open. When the lift bridge is down, a road leads directly into the village which was lovely, with thatched cottages and a 17th Century inn called The Bell, which was full of character. Stopping at the boatyard at Lower Heyford to say hello to friends, we decided to walk up to the shops in the next village and on the way, got an extraordinary view of the very stately Rousham House (c1635).
From Lower Heyford there were just three more locks until we reached Gibraltar. There are lots of ‘live-aboard’ boaters around this area and once again you need to slow right down as you pass them, which adds to your journey time. The rain started just as we moored up and we donned our raincoats and wellies to walk to the nearby Rock of Gibraltar pub.
On the next morning, travelling South again towards Thrupp, we found that there were red boards out at the locks, warning us that the River Cherwell (which made up part of our route to Thrupp) was high and flowing fast. We found it quite daunting as we made our way to the first turning point (winding hole) just down the River and decided not to proceed to Thrupp after all.
However, our return journey was very enjoyable once again, travelling through the tranquil countryside, surrounded by cows, sheep and wildflowers; winding our way around the canal and through the open lift bridges. On our last evening, there was no room outside The Folly Inn at Napton (which looked very welcoming) so we stopped at The Bridge instead. The menu sounded very nice, so we had a starter, just to keep us going until dinner on the boat, then in the morning we slowly trundled back to Napton Marina to return our boat, having very much enjoyed our peaceful and idyllic surroundings as we travelled along the South Oxford Canal.
Applicable for holidays taken before the 24th August 2012!
This special offer includes every aspect of your boating holiday costs including: 50% off your collision damage waiver fee, 50% off your fuel deposit, 50% off car parking and 50% off your first pet!
As an example of what’s available, Evening Light is a well equipped three to five berth cruiser, which is reduced to a hire charge of £498.00 (saving £498.00!) for a weekly hire in July/August. This foward steering cruiser features a split sliding canopy with light spacious saloon and a fixed double in the aft cabin.
Potter Heigham marina is situated on the Northern Broads on the River Thurne within easy cruising distance of nearby villages, including Horning, Stalham and Wroxham with so much to do and see on the 125 miles of lock free waterway, there is something for all the family! A perfect boating break with an amazing summer saver!
applicable for holidays taken in July and August!
Selected hire boats from Horning are equipped with modern features such as solar panels, LED lighting, sprung mattresses, shore power hook up and bow & stern thrusters. Brand new boats also have eco hulls which reduce the wash and improve fuel efficiency. Sun decks are also a new feature on some of our dual steering boats.
As an example of what’s available, Platinum Emblem 1 is a well equipped six berth cruiser, which is reduced to £1,272.00 (saving £224.00) for a weekly hire in August. She features LED lighting, satellite tv, shore power hook up and bow & stern thrusters. Platinum Emblem also benefits from a large forward cabin with walk around double bed and a spacious galley area leading to outside seating at the rear.
Horning marina is situated on the Northern Broads within easy cruising distance of nearby villages, including Potter Heigham, Stalham and Wroxham with ‘Roys of Wroxham’ village store. A perfect family holiday at a reduced summer price!
The Rochdale Canal, Calder & Hebble navigations combined with the Leeds and Liverpool Canal form the Pennine Canals. These canals span across the rolling countryside from the coastline and connect Northern Cities via the waterways. The Rochdale Canal navigation was built after the Calder & Hebble, and formed at the historic basin at Sowerby Bridge, which is where our marina is situated.
Cruising east from the basin on the Rochdale Canal for a weekend boating holiday you can reach Hebden Bridge and Todmorden before turning your hire boat around to return to the marina. To reach these towns you can expect to experience a tunnel navigation followed by operating the deepest locks in the country, Tuel Lane Lock. After this exciting descent, the canal gradually leads you up through the fields and past cobbled houses of Hebden Bridge. Mooring here you can explore Hebden by foot, originally a small mill town, which produced woollen goods. The town is full of literary history populated by those looking for artist inspiration within the Yorkshire Pennine views. Departing the mill town you and your hire boat will wind through the forests and countryside views to Todmorden, situated in a connection of three deep valleys. The area is perfect for trekking, bird watching and horse riding. Todmorden is full of impressive Victorian architecture and a wealth of independent shops.
For the longer holidays, on the return trip why not continue East past the Sowerby Bridge marina onto the Calder and Hebble. This will take to you Brighouse with plentiful pubs for the afternoon and mooring spaces in the town, this in an ideal place to stop for an afternoon meal and relax by the canal side.
For experienced and active hirers, there is a one way option on selected boats from Sowerby Bridge to Foulridge via Leeds on a one week holiday or Manchester for a two week holiday. Transfers will be arranged upon your arrival to return you to your car following your one way adventure!
To speak directly to one of our friendly team at Waterways Holidays Ltd, call us on 01252 796400, open 7 days a week.
We have recently added a new one way hire option for short breaks in Warwickshire for selected July holidays. This is a great opportunity to hire a boat from Stockton or Stretton-under-Fosse marinas and travel along the Grand Union Canal and and the Oxford Canal. No need to turn around at a suitable winding hole. This option is perfect for those looking for a fairly laid back short break canal boating holiday in Central England.
One week prior to your arrival the marina will call you to inform you of your start location, a mini surprise for your narrowboat hire adventure!
Day One: Step on board after a welcome from the Stockton Marina from 2.30pm. Once settled, an experienced instructor will come aboard to give you tuition and teach you about boat handling. Once comfortable you can depart and cruise in your hire boat to at least the top of the three locks at Calcutt. Here you can moor for a first evening on board your narrowboat or travel a short distance to a pub called ‘The Bridge’.
Day Two: You can choose to visit Napton or Braunston. Napton is accessible via turning in the winding hole opposite the Bridge Inn or there is another turning point – just before the bottom of the Napton lock flight.
Braunston is accessible by lunchtime – well worth mooring here as there is much to see being a major canal centre. You can call it a day here and spend the afternoon and evening dining out at one of the pubs or you can return to your hire boat to cruise another few hours and arrie at Hillmorton.
Day Three: Making you way to the Stretton Marina either stopping in the marina, or if you have reached Hillmorton the night before you can cruise past the marina as far as Ansty just short of Coventry city. The Rose and Castle is a good place to spend the evening.
Day Four: Returning to the marina for a 9am return. Once you have handed the boat over to the marina at Stretton, a minibus will be waiting to return you and your possessions to your car.
Taking place from Wednesday 27th June for five days, the Henley Royal Regatta attracts thousands of visitors to the River Thames annually as one of the most popular Regatta events. This year will be no exception following the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee Celebrations.
First held in 1839, the events have expanded from a one day event to five, with 20 rowing events leading to the prize giving commencing from 4.30 pm on Sunday. Through out the five days a series of head to head events taking place for 0ne mile, 550 yards, racing two abreast.
The Regatta enclosure will be constructed just downstream, offering the public seating areas and a covered restaurant with an outside dining area. (You would need to buy a ticket for admission to the Regatta enclosure.) Mooring at the Regatta is now fully booked for this years Royal Henley Regatta but you can moor just outside the Marina at Caversham next to the River and Rowing Museum you are just 5 minutes walk across the Bridge to Henley.
Why not book hire boat ‘Gina’ for a midweek break and immerse yourself in the Henley Regatta atmosphere! This boat situated at Caversham offers hirers the opportunity to moor at the River and Rowing Museum at Henley and walk to the Spectators enclosure.
Dating back over 10 years the historic boat rally will take place on the Grand Union Canal starting in the village with plenty of evening entertainment. Admission is free to the rally but all donations will be given to canal and local services charities.
Saturday morning will be kicked off with guest star ‘Gayle Hunnicutt’ from the 1972 film ‘Running Scared’. The production was filmed on location at Braunston, taking advantage of the canal and marina.
Processions then take to the water with well over 80 historic vessels taking part and providing commentary as they cruise down the canal. On land is a real ale beer tent, food stalls, exhibitions, waterways artists, boat horse demonstrations, morris dancing, theatrical productions, live music from bands and an open air Songs of Praise church service for the Sunday ceremony.
Why not get involved by taking to the waters yourself to experience a traditional canal boat holiday. You can moor and watch the rally pass by or simply stop off at Braunston village and get immersed in the Boat Show atmosphere, join the festivities and learn more about the UK historic canal boats that were once integral to the revolution of Britain.
The Norfolk Broads offer such a wide variety of activities ranging from children’s theme parks and zoos, to nature trails and historical sight-seeing to high street shopping and fine dining. There is so much available for holiday makers on boating holidays on the Norfolk Broads, either by the water or setting off to explore by foot.
For holidaymakers looking to experience something unique in the UK with no locks to navigate, wide open waters with beautiful vast skies, and activities galore, this is the family holiday to choose.
Heres a selection of the family friendly activities and sight-seeing opportunities for you, and their accessibility from the Waters in the Northern Broads.
Location: Horning Road, Norwich.
A magical world adventure park set in the midst of woodland. Full of family centred activities, allowing children and adults alike to let their imaginations run wild.
Nearest mooring opportunities: Horning on the River Bure and a short taxi journey to the park.
Location: Tunstead Road, Hoveton.
Full of activities, such as craft shops and workshops for the children, mini golf course and children’s funfair and a farm area with farm animals.
Nearest mooring opportunities: Moor at Wroxham on the River Bure. There is a regular bus service from Roys to the Barns and return.
Location: Great Yarmouth
Seafront amusement Park, with traditional fun attractions and some modern high-octane rides for the thrill seekers.
Nearest mooring opportunities: Mooring up at Acle village or just before and get a taxi to Great Yarmouth.
Fairhaven Woodland and Water Garden
Location: School Road, South Walsham.
Providing woodland walks, gardens and pet friendly walking grounds with picturesque scenery, an area bustling with wildlife.
Nearest Mooring opportunities: 15 minute walk or short taxi journey from South Walsham Broad on the River Bure.
Ranworth Nature trail
Location: Ranworth near Horning
Footpath trail off the Ranworth Broad with a selection of short and longer walks available, navigating by boat to the Broad, where the reeds and woodland provide habitats for a variety of wildlife, leading to a floating Wildlife conservation centre.
Nearest Mooring opportunities: Ranworth Broad on the River Bure.
Hoveton Hall Gardens
15 acre garden with seasonal foliage, a must see for the avid gardeners and with children adventure trails you’ll be sure to keep the children entertained. Onsite is a tea room and opportunities to take a selection of plants and seeds back to your hire boat.
Nearest Mooring opportunities: Wroxham on the River Bure.
Just cruising on a Norfolk Broads boating holiday, the flat landscapes offers expansive scenery with so much wildlife to spot, an abundance of windpumps and historic churches and Abbeys. Experience the essence of Norfolk.
Potter Heigham marina special offer: FREE PARKING for one car and first pet travels FREE on pet friendly boats. Plus FUEL PRICE CAP, pay no more than the fuel deposit. Book by 25/06/12.
Wroxham marina special offer: 20% DISCOUNT for holidays dates between the 14 – 27 June 2012.
Horning marina special offer: 25% DISCOUNT for all June 2012 Holidays.
A ring route that requires two weeks to navigate, an extension of the previous Lapworth Ring post- more suited for those looking for a longer UK boating holiday.
Which Canals are part of the Black Country Ring?
The Black Country Ring encompasses the Cannock Chase woodland, a medieval royal hunting forest, with wild deer still roaming this SSSI. The star attraction is the Black Country Museum established in 1975 and covering 26 acres. The museum celebrates the Black Country area’s traditions with over 50 authentic shops and houses, allowing you to step back in time and appreciate the historic way of life.
Starting at Autherley Junction on the Staffordshire & Worcestershire Canal, cruising north towards Stafford centre, the first two hours of cruising will be lock free to ease you into steering the boat and taking in the Staffordshire countryside. At Gailey the locks begin, starting with a flight of four. Penkridge is situated on the left, a traditional market town, with important Staffordshire heritage derived from the collegiate church, which still dominates the sky views.
North from Penkridge is Stafford town centre, a perfect place to stop for the night to eat out and experience the local culture, with its mixture of wooden beamed and contemporary architecture. Victoria Park is also located in this town, equipped with a new play area for the children, a sensory garden and riverside walks are also available here. From Stafford, you charter the waters towards the Trent & Mersey Canal, passing Tixall Wide at Great Haywood (info on the Four Counties Ring post.)
Cruising down the Trent & Mersey Canal, we recommend stopping off near Rugeley and making your way to Cannock Chase if you have a little time to explore. There’s so much to do and see here, including Chasewater Country Park, where you can do varied walks along the water, pony trekking, wildlife centre, Go Ape outdoor climbing centre, Chasewater Railway, Silverblades Ice Rink and a small theatre, to name a few! Not to mention taking advantage of the great Staffordshire scenery.
From Rugeley to Tamworth the waterways are virtually lock free, allowing you to make up some time if you spend a little longer than expected sampling the many activities! At Tamworth you will find Drayton Manor Family Theme Park, packed with lots of family friendly roller coaster rides, a couple of restaurants and a conservation area. Mooring up near Watling Street at Fazeley Junction on the Coventry Canal, providing you with some choice of whether you’d prefer to eat out at a nearby pub Indian or Chinese!
From Fazeley Junction, you are approximately 8 hours cruising to Aston Locks near Gas Street Basin. From here you can choose either to navigate the extended section of this ring, through Lapworth (click for Lapworth Ring article) or cruise through the Birmingham navigations for a shorter route. We recommend a 7 night holiday minimum to complete the ring, perfect for those with a little previous experience to soak in the Staffordshire countryside and Birmingham City Centre.
Here is a visual illustration of the Black Country route without the extended Lapworth section.