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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Click to search all our boating holidays on the UK Canals and Norfolk Broads.

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.


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.


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'

‘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 '

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Bath discounted narrowboat hire – last minute saving!

Last minute saver! Enjoy a saving of £244.00 on a seven night holiday on four berth narrowboat ‘Bath’. Located at Bradford on Avon on the Kennet and Avon Canal, the base is ideally situated for a cruise into the city of Bath – a World Heritage Site. Explore the Abbey, browse the high street shops and independant boutiques and relax in the famous Bath Spas

Saving applies to holidays starting between the 22nd February and 8th March 2013. Available at an all inclusive price of £675.00, a perfect last minute getaway.

Narrowboat on Kennet & Avon near Bath

Narrowboat on Kennet & Avon near Bath


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40% off last minute holidays from Clifton on Dunsmore!

We are offering 40% off boating holidays from Clifton on Dunsmore on the North Oxford Canal. Ideally located to offer a variety of UK Canal networks. You can choose to take advantage of the lock free Ashby Canal and cruise past the Battlefield of Bosworth or navigate onto the Coventry Canal and enjoy a city break.

Book a seven night break for the family or for a group of friends save 40% off last minute holidays available until the 29th March. Alternatively you can book a short break away and save up to 30% off a mid week or weekend break, offering an ideal last minute getaway.

Countryside cruising in Warwickshire

Countryside cruising in Warwickshire

Search for up to 40% off last minute holidays:

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New boating holiday location – Henley on Thames

Our brand new base at Henley on Thames offers boaters a chance to cruise the famous Royal River and experience the heart of the Thames Valley.

The River Thames boasts a variety of attractions suitable for all the family. Visit the historic royal palaces, theme parks and Michelin starred riverside restaurants. The marina is within cruising distance of Oxford and Royal Windsor as well as well-known riverside towns such as Sonning, Wallingford, Bray and Marlow.

LinLinssen at Henley on Thames

Linssen at Henley on Thames

From Henley on Thames we can now offer a brand new Linssen 34.9 Grand Sturdy Class cruiser. This cruiser offers a luxury get away afloat for experienced boaters.  Sleeping six in two spacious double cabins and one double sofa bed, this magnificent new boat ‘Jacqueline’ also includes features such as two bathrooms – each with toilet and shower – external steering position, bow thruster, swimming platform, central heating and wonderful views from the saloon.

Linssen Saloon

Linssen Saloon

The cost of a week’s hire of Jacqueline starts from £1,500, rising to £2,500 in peak season inclusive of gas for cooking, bed linen, towels, car parking for two cars and instruction on arrival.  

Search for holidays on the Brand New Linssen, ‘Jacqueline’:

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Click for more boating holidays on the River Thames, or on the Southern England Canals and Rivers.

15% off Easter boating on the Norfolk Broads from Wroxham

We are now offering 15% off Norfolk Broads boating holidays from Wroxham on the River Bure. Book an Easter break for the family or for a group of friends, with discounted holidays available between the 29th March and the 13th April 2013. This offer expires on the 28th February 2013 – so not long left!

Norfolk Broads Boat Hire - 15% discount

Hire Boat ‘Lullaby’ on the Norfolk Broads

Search for 15% off Easter boating from Wroxham:

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Brand new search facility on Waterways Holidays website

Since launching the new Waterways Holidays website in January, we’ve been busy upgrading our boating holiday search so that you can now check thousands of holidays using a brand new advanced search facility to find exactly the right holiday for you.

waterways holidays web search

Waterways Holidays advanced search results page


The new advanced search options include a filter to:


  • only show boats available for a specific start day
  • search by the style of Norfolk Broads cruiser using the ‘Broads Cruiser Extra Options’
  • find pet friendly or pet free boats
  • see our brand new, high spec boats on both the canals and Norfolk Broads
  • find only those boats with a special offer
  • search traditional canal boats available with a solid fuel stove on board
  • show boats with more than one toilet and/or shower – great for large groups
  • search only boats that show all inclusive prices
  • find boats offering 240 volts

If you’re looking for sailing yachts on the Norfolk Broads, you can search on our sailing holidays page to view traditional gaff rigs, bermudan rigs or yachts with showers onboard.

Top Tip – If you have performed a filtered search and would like to return to the original search, leave the boxes blank and press the ‘apply selected filters’ button to return to your original holiday search!

We hope you enjoy the new features and welcome any feedback. Once you have submitted an online boating holiday booking enquiry, we will endeavour to ring you back within 24 hours to go through the boating holiday details and offer friendly advice before you confirm your holiday.

Click to search all Canal Boat Holidays availability or to search for Norfolk Broads Boat Hire. To speak directly to one of our friendly team at Waterways Holidays Ltd, call us on 01252 796400, open 7 days a week.

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Cruising Routes from Devizes on the Kennet & Avon Canal

NEW for 2013, Waterways Holidays features canal boating holidays near Devizes on the picturesque Kennet and Avon Canal.

Cruising west from the marina:

Bradford-on-Avon – 5 hours by boat
A historic market town, there is a variety of interesting historic architecture dating from the Saxon period right through to the Industrial Revolution. Bradford on Avon is brimming with independant shops, including a selection of gift shops and tea rooms. You will find there are a couple of pubs on the water front, providing a convenient place to moor.
What to see: The 14th-century Tithe Barn and early 11th-century Saxon Church of St Lawrence.

Bath Valley – a picturesque section of the Kennet & Avon canal, situated between Bradford-on-Avon and Bath. Cruise through the hillside lined with forest,  across the valley via the Aqueducts of Dundas and Avoncliff.
What to see: Dundas Aqueducts and Claverton pumping station.

Bath City Views

Bath City Views

Bath – 10 hours by boat
An attractive city with cobbled streets, stone buildings and a breath taking Abbey. The streets boast lots of shops, eateries and historic buildings. The city is overlooked by the steep hillsides lined with houses and dotted with fields. You can moor your hire boat either above the top lock and walk down into Bath, or navigate the six locks into Bath and moor below Pultney Bridge.
What to see: Roman Baths, the Abbey Church of Saint Peter & Saint Paul and an open bus tour of Bath

Bristol – 19 hours by boat
A major sea port associated with the exploration and trade with the new world. Walk along the floating harbour, which houses a selection of eateries, gallerys and bars. A great place to shop or explore the history of the port. Experience ‘The Matthew’, a replica of John Cabot’s 1497 ship that discovered Newfoundland.
What to see: The SS Great Britain, moored in the docks and John Wesleys Chapel, the oldest Methodist building in the world.

Cruising east of the marina:

Caen Hill Locks – if you are looking for an energetic start to your canal boat holiday, the Caen Hill locks will not dissappoint! 29 locks, bundled into three flights, raise your hire boat 237 ft in two miles. A marvel of canal engineering, created by John Rennie in the early 19th century. These locks can take between 5-6 hours to complete.

Devizes – 5-6 hours by boat
A medieval market town with a strong historic connection. There are several Norman Churches located in the town and a weekly market that can be dated back to 1609. The town is an easy walk down the towpath from the end of the Caen Hill locks.
What to see: the site of the 12th century castle and the surrounding medieval streets & buildings, Kennet & Avon Canal Trust Museum.

Newbury Moorings

Newbury Moorings

Newbury – 25 hours by boat
The main high street is easily accessible by boat and has plenty of thatched shops and market stalls, perfect for stocking up with boating holiday provisions. There is a pub situated next to bridge no. 60, or walk into town for a greater selection.

Reading – 33 hours by boat
The waterway runs right through the hub of Reading, with a selection of large eateries situated on the waterfront. You can moor away from the main town at  the Abbey Ruins. Explore the Oracle shopping centre, spend the evening taking advantage of the nightlife, or take a walk down the winding streets off the main hub of Reading to find some independant shops and cafes.
What to see: Reading Abbey ruins

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If you would like any further information regarding boating holidays in Southern England, boating holidays on the Thames or canal boat hire on the Kennet and Avon Canal, you can call one of our friendly boating team on 01252 796 400.