Our boating holiday on the Kennet & Avon Canal

The Waterways Holidays team have just returned from their holiday afloat on the Kennet & Avon canal. We enjoyed our time so much we thought it would be nice to let you know how we got on!

Everyone receives tuition, even the staff at Waterways Holidays! So after receiving a detailed show through of the boat, handling tuition and lock instruction from Richard at Aldermaston Wharf, we set off on our weekend hire of 63ft narrowboat, ‘Crofton’.

Two Boats leaving a Lock
Two boats leaving a Lock

Narrowboat hire is fairly straight-forward, we spoke to many narrowboat owners, during our mini-adventure and the best advice we were given is to take everything slow; not to rush and to go at your own pace. We took some time out to take a few pictures along the way – hope you like them!

Each lock presented a slightly different challenge along the Kennet & Avon canal, being a little bit different to the others- brilliant for keeping kids entertained! One lock that was particularly memorable was the Monkey Marsh lock, one of only two surviving turf-sided lock’s built in the 1700’s.

Cruising on a boat is a very social way to travel. The crew all works as a team, whether you’re jumping off to set the next lock, opening a swing bridge or steering the boat. Families walking past on the tow path really enjoy the sight of a narrowboat on the waters, everyone is really friendly!

A holiday on the canals is unique way to explore surroundings, whether somewhere completely new or a chance to rediscover your local countryside. There is so much wildlife to spot from the boat; we were able to see deer, rabbits, herons and lots of birds of prey such as red kites, it really feels like your cruising along with nature.

As well as navigating through the countryside, by Saturday afternoon we were in Newbury town centre. You cruise right through the town and come to a lock next to the beautiful St Nicholas church, which has been the spiritual centre of Newbury for over 900 years. Here you can stop off and get any supplies you may need, have a bite to eat and mosey around the shops if you fancy! There is also a market running on Saturdays, selling a variety cheeses.

View from Newbury Lock
View from Newbury Lock

On our last night of our Waterways voyage we decided to venture into Thatcham for a meal out at a pub, just a stone’s throw away from the canal. The Swan, a converted stable house, had a bustling atmosphere, friendly staff and a ‘pub grub’ menu. There were a selection of local brews available and the pub itself was decorated with vintage posters.

On our arrival back to the marina, we discovered a quaint country house that had been converted into a Café and Souvenir shop. The Aldermaston Visitor Centre, located on the canal next to the marina itself, served a selection of café treats and lots of little souvenirs with some information about the canal’s history upstairs.  Seated outside on the benches, relaxing in the sun next the water- A perfect way to end our holiday along the Kennet & Avon canal.

Aldermaston Wharf is located close to Reading on the picturesque Kennet and Avon Canal, which runs from Reading city centre to Bristol.  If you would like to have a look at our holidays along the Kennet & Avon, or any stretch of the UK Canals, why not have a look at our website or give us a call at 01252 339026. For our latest spring offers just click here.