Canal Boat Holidays on the Welsh Canals

Wales is home to two navigable rural canals, the Monmouthshire & Brecon Canal and the Llangollen Canal. These canals are always a popular choice for people looking to holiday in the UK and both offer unique and awe-inspiring experiences.

Monmouthshire & Brecon Canal:

Monmouthshire & Brecon Canal

Dating back over two hundred years, this canal meanders through picturesque Welsh countryside from Pontypool to Brecon town centre, covering 36 miles and 6 locks.  The waterway cruises through the Brecon Beacons National Park so there is plenty of wildlife to spot such as kites, herons and kingfishers. Although the Mon & Brec canal is arguably one of the most unspoilt canals in Britain there are also plenty of canal-side pubs to stop at for your evening meal!

The canal offers a very tranquil and laid back boating holiday, ideal for beginners and experienced boaters alike. It’s a great canal to escape from the hustle and bustle of modern life, running along the River Usk and cruising through the peaceful woodland. The canal was originally an industrial motorway, transporting raw materials from nearby quarries by boat to Newport. Relics of the industrial revolution are still visible in many places, with old coal mines, lime kilns and abandoned tram line remains dotted along the waterways. There is also a more decorative historical artefact to visit at Cefn Brynich, a beautiful aqueduct dating from 1812.

Well worth a mention is the boat yard at Gilwern, north of Goytre Wharf. They have started a canal boat revolution by introducing electric boats to their fleet.  These super quiet electric motors can cover 18 miles in a single charge. Recharging is simple – there are lots of recharging points along the Canal, at which you can hook your boat up & simply switch the power on.

Llangollen Canal:

Pontcysyllte Aqueduct

There are also many treasures to experience on the Llangollen Canal, which crosses the border from Shropshire in England into Wales before finally terminating at Llangollen. The Pontcysyllte Aqueduct, the ‘Stream in the sky,’ passes over the River Dee valley, and is simply a must see if you are cruising this Welsh Canal. The aqueduct is a Grade I Listed structure and World Heritage site. It spans 1,000ft and is 125ft high, giving you the feeling that you’re travelling on a magic carpet ride.

You can also moor up and visit the Llangollen town centre, a little market town surrounded by the River Dee. The railway at Llangollen is a volunteer-run preserved railway, which even supplies taster sessions where you can learn to drive a traditional locomotive! The town is steeped in history and also has a castle ruin that has been abandoned since 1282, named ‘Dinas Bran’. Well worth the climb to check out the view of the attractive town.

You can easily cruise the entire length of either the Llangollen or Monmouthshire and Brecon Canal’s in a week break, a jam packed holiday perfect for all.

Check Availability for the Welsh Canals

Departing between which dates?
For how long?

Call 01252 796400 or click here to search live availability.

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.

Spring Inspirations for Norfolk Broads Boating Holidays

Known as ‘Britain’s Magical Waterland’, spring on the Broads brings the promise of brighter evenings, atmospheric misty mornings and tranquil waters. There’s 125 miles of lock free cruising, which can be enjoyed from the comfort of a modern, well equipped motor cruiser, or a traditional Broads sailing yacht. Become the skipper of your own boat and cruise at your own pace. Explore the unspoilt villages along the river front or moor your boat for the afternoon to travel on foot along the many designated nature trails.

Swans and Geese at Wroxham Bridge

Swans and Geese at Wroxham Bridge

What sort of things can you experience by boat on the Broads?

There is so much for everyone on the Broads. As Britain’s largest nationally protected wetland, there is an abundance of wildlife around every corner. From cute ducklings to graceful Whooper Swans, a boating holiday is perfect for children and adults alike – so remember to take your camera!

For a great family day out, the Bure Valley Railway comes highly recommended. Moor your boat at Wroxham, the birthplace of boat hire on the Broads, and it’s just a 10 minute walk to board your train.

Horsey Wind Pump near Hickling is a must see if you’re in the area. Climbing to the top offers breathtaking views over Horsey Mere. After mooring in Horsey Mere Staithe, take the 15 minute walk across the fields and sand dunes to discover miles of picturesque sandy beach, perfect for stretching the dog’s legs. In the evening you may even be lucky enough to spot seals relaxing on the shore front.

What sorts of people enjoy boating holidays?

Windmill at the River Thurne

Windpump at the River Thurne

 

Boating holidays are open to everyone with all levels of experience, including complete novices. No previous experience is required as full training is given on arrival when collecting your boat. The team at Waterways Holidays are all keen boaters and are more than happy to help with any queries to ensure your choice of boat is the right one to get the most from your holiday.

Boating is perfect for a safe and fun filled family holiday, with plenty to keep the children entertained. There are also plenty of opportunities for couples to share romantic moments under the vast blue Norfolk skies. Many boats are pet friendly so you can ensure that the whole family can holiday together!

For further details, 0845 127 1020 or www.waterwaysholidays.com/norfolkbroads.htm

Traditional boats & sailing yachts for hire on the UK Canals & Norfolk Broads

Hawkesbury

Unique skippered hire aboard 'Hawkesbury'

Don’t forget our traditional narrowboats, sailing yachts and motor cruisers for boating getaways!

UK Canals

Converted narrowboat: ‘Hawkesbury,’ cruising the Trent & Mersey Canal from 1937, is the last ‘Big Woolwich’ and former cargo carrying vessel. Available for skippered hire; you even get a “boat dog”!

This leaves you free to soak in the rural sites along the bank, taking the controls if and when you like.

Tug styled narrowboats: ‘Larch,’ from Middlewich and ‘Anjou’ from Whilton, traditional styled cargo carrying boats. These boats have a large flat decking section at the front- with a stowage area underneath.  The long flat front provides a perfect spot for all parties to enjoy, taking in the summer sun and picnicking off the boat.

Norfolk Broads

Motor Cruisers: ‘Merlin’ from Chedgrave and ‘Juliette’ from Martham: Traditional all wooded boats, particularly handy for those wanting to catch the rays whenever possible as they include  sunshine hatches over saloon and galley, collapsible side sections and a centre cockpit with all-weather protection.

Sailing Broads yachts: Available for Norfolk Broads boat hire is ‘Zoë’ from Horning, built in 1897. The only Victorian counter stern yacht on the Broads and exhilarating to sail. She sleeps two people, so ideal for a couple with a little yachting experience.

For further details, 0845 127 1020 or www.waterwaysholidays.com

Brand new boats for hire on the UK Canals & Norfolk Broads

Looking for something new for this year’s holiday?

Silver Darlings Collage

'Silver Darlings'

Why not book one of our brand new luxury boats, available for canal boating holidays & boating on the Norfolk Broads?

UK Canals

‘Silver Darlings’ was new to the base at Clifton-on-Dunsmore in the summer 2010. She’s a semi-traditional narrowboat located on the North Oxford Canal. Her interior is kitted out with light wood furnishings & quality upholstery. Facilities include a flat screen TV & DVD player, CD & radio player, wine cooler & spacious shower cubicle with body-jet shower.

This boat perfectly balances the traditional feel of a narrowboat with all the comforts needed for a modern traveller.

Norfolk Broads

‘Alpha Tornado’ is a new luxury Alpha 35 centre cockpit class cruiser, available on Norfolk Broads. She has power assisted steering and a reverse camera (for rear view.) This modern cruiser is fitted with both bow & stern thrusters to allow for much easier manoeuvring.

Also equipped with bow & stern thrusters is 35ft ‘Supreme Light.’ She is a spacious cruiser with a large en-suite rear cabin, & a satellite tracking dome to receive Freeview channels anywhere on the broads on a large LCD TV. She gives the illusion of being onboard a portable hotel suite!

With so much to enjoy in 2011, it is easy to spend a whole week or more on the UK canals & rivers on our brand new luxury boats. For further details, 0845 127 1020 or www.waterwaysholidays.com

Norfolk Broads & canal boat early booking offers!

There’s still time to grab a saving of up to 20% off your 2011 boating holiday when you book before 31st December 2010. Click here for details on current special offers.

Norfolk Broads Cruisers

Norfolk Broads boating holiday cruiser

Norfolk Broads boating holiday cruiser

Book a 2011 boating holiday before the 31st December 2010 & save up to 10% off hire price on a variety of modern cruisers sleeping up to 12 people. Save up to 10% when starting your holiday from Potter Heigham & Ludham, 5% when stating from Wroxham. Perfect to explore the whole of the Broads – the newest member of the UK National Parks family.

Over 125 miles of lock free waterway, this rural getaway offers the chance to fish, enjoy the wildlife and relax, wine and dine in riverside pubs and restaurants. Be sure to try the ‘Woodfordes’ local ales brewed at the ‘Fur & Feathers’, just a short walk from the overnight moorings at Salhouse Broad.

Narrowboat hire on UK Canals & Rivers

Save up to 20% on weekly & short break hire from a variety of bases across the UK. Cruising options include fantastic town & city breaks to Bath & Birmingham, as well as relaxing rural getaways & a variety of cruising rings. No experience necessary.

Unique Norfolk Broads sailing wherry charter

 

Traditional sailing wherry charter

Norfolk Broads Sailing Wherry, 'White Moth'

If you are looking for something entirely different for a few days away on a corporate team building exercise, special birthday, anniversary with friends and family or simply to enjoy the unique experience of sailing a traditional Norfolk Broads Wherry, why not charter ‘White Moth’ from Horning? She comes complete a fully qualified and experienced skipper and offers comfortable accommodation for up to 10 guests.

Commissioned in 1915 and entirely re-fitted by local craftsmen, she is one of the last examples of her kind, providing an idyllic means of experiencing the beautiful Norfolk Broads. Sailing this elegant craft is a unique way of enjoying the variety of wildlife and scenery, as well as providing an insight into how the Edwardians spent their time on the Broads. A skipper and local guide is in charge of the day-to-day running of the craft (self-contained crew quarters are situated in the forepeak) and you may sail the boat just as much or as little as you wish. The Wherry sleeps up to ten guests in three double cabins and two double settee berths.

Opulently furnished saloon with full-size dining table. Galley with four burner hob, grill, oven and large fridge for self catering. Each cabin has a wash hand basin with hot and cold water. Two separate toilet/shower compartments and central heating.

For further details, 0845 127 1020 or www.waterwaysholidays.com

New for 2011: the perfect honeymoon boating holiday

Boating honeymoon through the Yorkshire Dales

Boating honeymoon through the Yorkshire Dales

Brand new for 2011 and ideal for honeymooners, Cambridge is a luxurious 44ft narrowboat sleeping two, based at Sowerby Bridge in Yorkshire.

Guests receive a complimentary bottle of champagne on arrival and the boat features a double bed, bath with shower, fitted galley with cooker and microwave, a comfortable saloon with colour TV and DVD player, plus radiator central heating.

Sowerby Bridge is situated at the junction of the Rochdale Canal and the Calder and Hebble Navigation and is ideally located for exploring the Pennine Canals with highlights en route including romantic crags and hills, moorland walks, stone-built towns and welcoming pubs.

Available between March and October, a week’s hire ranges between £570 and £1035 inclusive of fuel, bed linen, car parking, boat licence and tuition on arrival (including locks), plus one well behaved pet is welcome free of charge.

Accessible & wheelchair friendly boating holidays

Widebeam canal boat

Bruce Trust accessible widebeam canal boat with wheelchair access.

There are a number of charitable trusts and organisations that specialise in the provision of self-drive canal boats with special adaptation to facilitate wheelchair access or to allow crew with mobility difficulties the possibility to enjoy a shared holiday with friend and families.

UK Canals & Rivers

The list below provides the websites for groups and organisations that offer narrowboats and widebeam boats for hire which have been specifically adapted to accomodate those with limited access or mobility:

Accessible Boating Association – two boats on Basingstoke Canal
Bruce Charitable Trust has a fleet of four specially constructed broad-beamed boats on the Kennet and Avon Canal, available for hire by groups including the disabled. Two bases.
Canal Boat Project – (on R. Stort in Harlow)
Coventry Rainbow Canal Trust – operates nb Lady Godiva, which is specially adapted for day trips or holidays for people of all ages with mental or physical disabilities.
Disabled Afloat Riverboats Trust – Thames, K&A, Yorkshire Ouse
Ethel Trust Community Barge (Thorne, n. of Doncaster, on Stainforth and Keadby Canal)
Lyneal Trust – nr. Ellesmere on Llangollen Canal; cottages also
National Community Boats Association – “… encourage and support community boating organisations within the UK …”
Peter Le Marchant Trust – (Loughborough, Leics.)
River Thames Boat Project – (River Thames, Kingston/Richmond/St Katharine Docks)
Rivertime Boat Trust – (River Thames between Windsor and Oxford)
Seagull Trust – free canal cruising (Scotland)
South Staffordshire Narrowboat Company – (Wolverhampton, West Mids.)
Stockport Canalboat Trust offers day trips and short holidays for people with disabilities around the canals of North West England.
Swansea Community Boat – (on the Tawe River Navigation in Swansea, Wales)
Waterways Experiences – charter for crewed or self steer one of 3 widebeam boats on the Grand Union Canal at Hemel Hempstead. Day or residential trips.
Willow Trust – (Saul Junction, on G&S)

Norfolk Broads

The list below provides the details for groups and organisations that offer cruisers for hire on the Norfolk Broads which have been specifically adapted to accomodate those with limited access or mobility:

Neatishead – River Ant – Nancy Oldfield Trust:

Motor cruising with wheelchair access, sailing, canoeing, and kayaking for all, whatever disabilities you may have.  Day activities, holidays and courses.

Tel: 01692 630572

Norwich – River Wensum – City Boats:

Two electric day boats, each takes eight people and has a hydraulic lift for wheelchairs.

Tel: 01603 701701

Ormesby Little Broad – Broads Authority:

Wheelyboat, with ramp for access, based at Eel’s Foot Inn at Ormesby St Michael.  Takes 4 people including one wheelchair user.

Tel: 01493 730342

Oulton Broad – River Waveney – Waveney Sailability:

Sailing club offering members with disabilities the opportunity to sail in specially adapted dinghies.

Tel: 01502 475228

If we have missed anyone out, please dont hesiate to add a comment and we will update all of our lists as soon as possible.

Thanks

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Grab a Twixmas canal boat holiday bargain!

For a Twixmas holiday with a difference, Waterways Holidays suggests exploring the canals and rivers of the UK with a stay on board a narrowboat.

 

A great way to get away between Christmas & the New Year

‘Avocet’ and ‘Dabchick’, for example, are both well equipped 55ft narrowboats sleeping six based at Hillmorton near Rugby in Warwickshire.

A choice of cruising routes is available from Hillmorton – including lock free cruising along the North Oxford and Ashby Canals or with locks along the South Oxford or Grand Union Canals.

Four nights’ hire – starting 27 December 10 – costs £750 inclusive of diesel, two bottles of gas, car parking, bed linen, cancellation protection and tuition on arrival.  Up to two well behaved pets are welcome – the first is free of charge, the second for a cost of £15.  0845 127 1020, www.waterwaysholidays.com

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