Canal boat holidays are fantastic for families, offering the chance to set off on an adventure together out in the open air, learning how to work the locks and speak the boating lingo, as well as spotting wildlife, exploring traffic-free towpaths and visiting waterside attractions along the way.
Here are our top five destinations for Easter 2019:
- Glide through the Brecon Beacons – isolated from the main canal network, the beautiful Monmouth & Brecon Canal runs through the Brecon Beacons National Park. Stretching 35 miles from Brecon to Cwmbran, this peaceful waterway, with very few locks, offers canal boat holiday-makers incredible mountain views, dark skies perfect for star-gazing and a series of historic village pubs to visit along the way. On a short break from Drifters’ narrowboat hire base at Goytre Wharf, near Abergavenny, boaters can cruise lock-free to Llangynidr and back, passing the Lion Inn at Govilon and the Bridge End Inn at Llangattock. On a week’s break, boaters can travel on to Brecon, passing through Talybont-on-Usk with its popular White Hart Inn.
- Take in a show at the Egg theatre in Bath – on a short break from our canal boat hire base at Bradford on Avon in Wiltshire, boaters can travel gently along the beautiful Kennet & Avon Canal for nine miles, reaching moorings Bath Top Lock in around six hours, with just one lock to pass through. From there, it’s a short walk to Georgian Bath’s City Centre attractions, including the Roman Baths and the Theatre Royal’s award-winning egg theatre. Before returning to base, boaters need to travel through Bath Top Lock and the next lock in the flight to turn their boat around between locks 11 and 12.
- Visit the World’s biggest Cadbury shop at Cadbury World – perfect for beginners, boaters can travel lock-free to Birmingham in just five hours from our canal boat hire base at Tardebigge on the Worcester & Birmingham Canal, stopping off along the way to find handmade Easter eggs in the World’s biggest Cadbury shop at Cadbury World. With more canals than Venice, boaters can travel right into the heart of the City of Birmingham, where over-night moorings are available at Gas Street Basin, close to Brindleyplace with plenty for families to see and do, including penguin feeding at the National Sea Life Centre and star gazing in the Planetarium at Birmingham’s Science Museum Thinktank.
- Visit Skipton and its medieval castle – on a short break (three or four nights) from Drifters’ canal boat hire base at Barnoldswick, boaters can head east along the Leeds & Liverpool Canal to Skipton and back, travelling a total of 26 miles, through 30 locks, in around 20 hours. This breath-taking route winds along the contours of the side of Airedale, with extensive views of sheep country – farmhouses, barns, stone walls and the occasional village or town. Once in Skipton, boaters can moor in the centre of the town, visit shops and restaurants and explore the 900-year old Skipton Castle, one of the most complete and best preserved medieval castles in England, and its extensive woodlands. On a week’s break, boaters can travel on along the side of the Aire Valley to Bingley.
- Float across ‘The Stream in the Sky’ – from our canal boat hire base at Chirk on the beautiful Llangollen Canal in North Wales, the pretty Eisteddford town of Llangollen on the edge of the Berwyn Mountains can be reached on a short break, with the awesome World Heritage Status Pontcysyllte Aqueduct to travel across along the way. Standing at over 38 metres high above the Dee Valley, this incredible 300-metre long structure consists of a cast iron trough supported by 18 enormous pillars. With not even a hand rail on the south side of the aqueduct to obscure the stunning views of the valley below, canal boaters literally feel like they are floating above the earth. On reaching Llangollen, nestled in the hills, boaters can enjoy visiting the town’s independent shops, pubs and restaurants, as well as its Steam Railway and Horseshoe Falls. On a week’s break, boaters can also travel east to Ellesmere and Whitchurch.