Flagships, a collection of small family-run hotel boat businesses, has published it 2013 journeys – offering the choice of over 75 narrowboat holidays.
Hotel boating on the canals offers all the benefits of a relaxing cruise on Britain’s beautiful inland waterways, with the catering and navigating chores taken out of it. Singletons, couples, families or groups of friends are welcome and it’s a great way to meet people.
Flagships operators are independently inspected by qualified Tourist Board inspectors.
They offer short breaks and seven-night canal boat holidays all across the country. Prices start at £665 for a week and £550 for a short break (five nights).
Visit London’s canals in the Spring with Snipe & Taurus
Traditional 70ft long narrowboat pair Snipe & Taurus, will begin their 2013 season with a seven-night trip from Warwick to Market Harborough along the Grand Union Canal, starting on 26 April. The journey will take in 52 miles of canal and 48 locks along the way.
Over the next six months they will visit Leighton Buzzard, London, Ware, Windsor, Hungerford, Bath, Devizes, Newbury, Oxford, Warwick, Stafford, Peak District, Manchester, Liverpool, Northwich, Chester, Brewood, Worcester, Stratford upon Avon, Birmingham and Coventry.
Their last cruise of the season will take them back to Warwick via the Ashby Canal and Leamington Spa, departing on 3 October from Coventry.
Owner Neil Thomsett explains: “Travelling at just four miles per hour, enjoying the wildlife, peaceful countryside and historic pubs and houses along the way, hotel boat passengers can’t help but change gear both mentally and physically. Holiday-makers can just sit back and watch the world go by or get active by helping to work the locks, steer the boat or walk along the towpath.
“All our cruises include transport to and from the nearest mainline railway station and car parking can be arranged at some of our departure/destination points. All meals and snacks are included as part of the cruise, plus soft drinks, teas and coffees.
“One of our favourite trips this year will be a visit to London’s canals in the Spring, travelling from metropolitan Little Venice to rural Ware, with overnight stops at the Docklands and Waltham Abbey.”
Snipe & Taurus offer comfortable accommodation for up to nine guests in five single, one twin and one double cabin. Snipe & Taurus cruises start at £695 for seven nights and £550 for five nights.
Pass through the Pennines with hotel boat Periwinkle
Periwinkle offers accommodation for just three passengers at a time. Her season starts on 3 April 2013 with a cruise from Barnoldswick to Manchester on the Leeds & Liverpool and Bridgewater canals.
From there she will visit Northwich, Chester, Llangollen, Nantwich, Birmingham, Stratford, Worcester, Kidderminster, Stone, Rugby, Warwick, Market Harborough, Burton on Trent, Congleton, Kidsgrove, Middlewich, the Peak District, Liverpool, Burnley, Leeds and Hebden Bridge. Their last cruise will leave Leeds on 10 October, arriving in Salterforth six days later.
Gill and Steve Cookson, the husband and wife team who own and operate the boat, explain: “Our holidays really are the fastest way to slow down. Our customers come from all over the world to enjoy a quieter pace of life on Britain’s beautiful inland waterways. We provide full board, including a four-course dinner each evening, plus comfortable beds and a lovely hot shower.
“One of the highlights this year will be our journeys through the Pennines in September and October, travelling along the Leeds & Liverpool Canal and through the Bingley Five Rise Locks, an incredible feat of engineering.
“We also offer walking holidays afloat. After organising your route and giving you a hearty breakfast, we will drop you off with a packed lunch, arranging a time and place to meet you later in the day.”
Hotel boat Periwinkle offers seven-night cruises at £730 per person per cruise and six-night cruises at £630.
Visit Royal Windsor afloat with Duke & Duchess
Traditional narrowboat pair Duke & Duchess offer a hotel boat service for up to eight people. For the 2013 season, owner David Owen and his family are offering 26 cruises, starting on 20 April with a seven-night cruise from Birmingham to Nantwich, along the Shropshire Union Canal.
From Nantwich they will visit Llangollen, Chester, Manchester, Stone, Stoke, Coventry, Leighton Buzzard, Little Venice, Windsor, Newbury, Bath, Oxford, Warwick, Droitwich, Northwich, Kidderminster, Birmingham and Stratford upon Avon. Their final cruise of the season will leave Stratford upon Avon on 12 October, arriving in Warwick five nights later.
David explains: “Hotel boats offer a perfectly relaxed chore-free way to discover the secrets of the canals. Our small moving hotel offers a friendly atmosphere with personal attention, wonderful company and delicious cuisine! The boats are a traditional 70 foot narrowboat pair, with the motor Duke towing the unpowered butty Duchess. Although built in the traditional style, they provide modern hotel comforts, plus the added bonus of ever changing views.
“This season we are looking forward to spending extra time on the beautiful Kennet & Avon Canal as well as exploring down river to the Bristol Floating Harbour. And we are looking forward to cruising up to Windsor in June, with spectacular views of the castle and the magnificent Great Park.”
Prices start at £640 for five nights and £665 for seven nights.