Yorkshire Canals Celebrated at Chelsea

Welcome to Yorkshire is marking its 10th birthday and 10th year at the RHS Chelsea Flower Show (21-25 May 2019) with a garden which aims to capture the beauty of the county’s canals and celebrate the drama of Yorkshire’s rich industrial heritage. 

Designed by Mark Gregory, the highlight of the 2019 Welcome to Yorkshire show garden will be an authentically built canal with flowing water and genuine canal lock gates. The design also includes a towpath and a lock keeper’s lodge with a colourful garden and vegetable patch.

Lock gates recently removed from a canal in Yorkshire have been donated by Canal & River Trust for the garden.  The Trust has teamed up with the tourism organisation for this year’s prestigious flower show to celebrate the county’s rich industrial heritage and the hundreds of miles of stunning waterways which run across the county.

Drifters offers the choice of 550 boats from 45 bases across the country, including two in Yorkshire.  From week-long one-way trips across the Pennines to short breaks to Hebden Bridge, Todmorden, East Marton and Skipton, Yorkshire’s beautiful network of waterways offers a wide range of holidays afloat.

2019 prices from Drifters’ Yorkshire bases start at £460 for a short break (three or four nights), £710 for a week on a boat for two people.

To celebrate Welcome to Yorkshire’s canal themed RHS Chelsea Flower Show garden, Drifters has put together its Top 6 Yorkshire canal boat holidays:

  1. Travel one-way across the Pennines – starting from Drifters’ base at Barnoldswick on the Leeds & Liverpool Canal near Skipton, this week-long holiday is truly one of the great canal journeys, taking canal boat holiday-makers across the backbone of England.  The scenery varies from the timeless calm of the Leeds & Liverpool Canal summit to the hubbub of the Leeds City Centre waterfront, and includes the Bingley Five Rise locks (one of the Seven Wonders of the Waterways), and the opportunity to visit Sir Titus Salt’s World Heritage Status model town at Saltaire.
  2. Visit Skipton and its medieval castle – on a short break (three or four nights) from Drifters’ base at Barnoldswick, boaters can head east along the Leeds & Liverpool Canal to Skipton and back (travelling a total of 26 miles, 30 locks, 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.
  3. Toddle to Todmorden and back for some stunning Pennine scenery – on a short break (three or four nights) from Drifters’ base at Sowerby Bridge, canal boat holiday-makers can travel to Todmorden and back along the Rochdale Canal (20 miles, 34 locks, 16 hours).  This historic town offers visitors fine Victorian architecture, plenty of pubs and restaurants, and a busy market.  Along the way, boaters pass through the beautiful Calder Valley village of Mytholmroyd, the birthplace of Ted Hughes, and   the old mill town of Hebden Bridge, nestled in a fork in the hills, with an amazing variety of shops, cafes, restaurants and pubs and a series of scenic waymarked walks. 
  4. Navigate to East Marton and back – starting from our canal boat hire base at Reedley on the Leeds & Liverpool Canal in Lancashire, boaters can travel north east along the Leeds & Liverpool Canal into North Yorkshire, passing through Nelson, Barrowford, Salterforth, Barnoldswick and Greenber Field along the way.  Once at East Marton, there’s a choice of canalside pubs and the canal connects to the Pennine Way just south of the village.  The journey there and back covers 47 miles, passes through 10 locks (five each way) and takes around 17½ hours to cruise.
  5. Journey to the Hepworth Wakefield – on a mid-week break from our narrowboat hire base at Sowerby Bridge, canal boat holiday-makers can travel to Wakefield and back to visit the fabulous Hepworth Wakefield Art Gallery (40 miles, 52 locks, 22 hours).  With canal boat moorings right outside, the Hepworth Wakefield is the largest purpose-built exhibition space outside London, offering visitors over 1,600 square metres of light-filled gallery spaces to explore.
  6. Navigate the South Pennine Ring – on a two-week break from our canal boat rental base at Sowerby Bridge, experienced boaters can cruise the epic South Pennine Ring circuit, travelling a total of 71 miles and passing through 197 locks in around 80 hours.  The route crosses the Pennines twice, and includes navigating through England’s longest and highest tunnel – the Standedge Tunnel which takes boaters through 3¼ miles of pitch dark.  This circuit takes boaters pass through Brighouse, Cooper Bridge, Huddersfield, Slaithwaite, Marsden, Stalybridge, Ashton, Manchester, Todmorden and Hebden Bridge.  It cruises parts of five canals – the Rochdale Canal, Calder & Hebble Navigation, Huddersfield Broad Canal, Huddersfield Narrow Canal and the Ashton Canal.