Visit the Stratford-Upon-Avon Literary Festival by Canal Boat

With visitor moorings right in the centre of town, Drifters’ base at Wootton Wawen, near Henley-in-Arden, offers the chance to visit the 2012 Stratford-Upon-Avon Literary Festival by canal boat.

Headline speakers at this year’s event, taking place 22 April to 7 May, include Andrew Motion, Carol Ann Duffy, Iain Banks, Jeremy Paxman, PD James, Jenni Murray and Simon Armitage.

Stratford is just a six-hour cruise along the beautiful Stratford-Upon-Avon Canal from Drifters’ canal boat hire base at Wootton Wawen.  The town offers canal boat holiday-makers a diverse range of shops and restaurants, quaint side streets and beautiful open parklands along the River Avon.

As well as visiting the town’s annual Literary Festival, boaters can moor up and take time to explore the Shakespeare scene, including the famous Swan Theatre, Shakespeare’s Birthplace and Anne Hathaway’s Cottage.

During the time of the Festival, a week’s narrowboat holiday for four people starts at £615 and short breaks are available from £431.  For more information about Drifters canal boat holidays call 0844 984 0322.

For Festival tickets call 01789 207100.

 

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SUMMER HOLIDAY BOATING

Take to the water this summer for some holiday fun afloat with Drifters Waterway Holidays and choose from over 500 boats from 35 locations.

From lazing on the Llangollen to bobbing through Bath, Britain’s 3,000 mile canal and river network offers the fastest way to slow down.

And there are plenty of exciting family attractions to visit along the way, including the Sea Life Centre in Birmingham, SS Great Britain in Bristol, Waterworld near Stoke on Trent and Sir Titus Salt’s model town at Saltaire.

Canal boat holidays are fantastic for families, offering the chance to:

*escape the hustle and bustle of everyday life and the school run and slow right down to four miles per hour;

*work together as a team to master navigation skills and operate the locks;

*learn the boating lingo – ‘windlass’, ‘winding hole’ and ’tiller’, to name but a few;

*spot wildlife, including the flashing blue of the kingfisher and ‘plop’ of the watervole;

*dust-off long neglected cards and board games for cosy onboard evening entertainment;

*explore mile upon mile of traffic-free towpaths by foot or by bike; and

*breathe in plenty of fresh air, resulting in a peaceful night’s sleep.

Here are some ideas for summer cruising.

***Bath and Bristol on the Kennet & Avon Canal…a short break from Drifters’ base on the Kennet & Avon Canal at Sydney Wharf in the centre of the beautiful World Heritage City of Bath could take you to historic Bradford on Avon, with its stunning Tithe Barn, used for many a costume drama film set.  While a week’s cruise could take you east as far as the base of the awesome 29 lock Caen Hill flight at Devizes.

Alternatively, head west to Bristol’s Floating Harbour and visit Brunel’s masterpiece, the SS Great Britain, the new Blue Reef Aquarium, Bristol Zoo or one the city’s many galleries and museums.  The journey can be done on a short break, with 16 hours of cruising and a total of 26 locks to negotiate there and back.

Summer Holiday breaks from Bath start at £650 for a short break and £930 for a week on a four berth boat.

Cruise through the scenic heartland of Worcestershirea short break from Drifters’ base in the beautiful city of Worcester, where the River Severn meets the Worcester & Birmingham Canal, is the perfect place to begin a cruise along the new 21-mile Mid-Worcestershire Mini Ring.  The newly restored Droitwich Junction and Barge canals, which were built to carry salt from Droitwich Spa, have created the only loop in Europe that can be completed in a long weekend.  It takes around 16 hours to cruise the ring, negotiating 33 locks.

School Summer Holiday breaks from Worcester start at £740 for a short break and £1135 for a week on a four berth boat.

Visit the Peak District Afloatfrom Drifters’ Peak District base at Etruria, on the junction of the Trent & Mersey and Caldon canals near Stoke on Trent, the Four Counties Ring is one of the most popular weekly breaks.  Predominantly rural, it travels stretches of the Trent & Mersey, Staffs & Worcs and Shropshire Union canals.  Its highlights include: the world famous 2670 metre long Harecastle Tunnel; Market Drayton home of gingerbread; the Wedgewood Visitor Centre; stunning views of the rolling Cheshire Plains; the Roman town of Middlewich; the Ski Centre, China Gardens and Waterworld at Etruria; Shugborough Hall; Churches Mansion; the wildlife haven of Tixall Wide; and the flight of 15 locks at Audlem.  The beautiful and peaceful Caldon Canal is a popular destination for short breaks from Drifters’ Peak District base.

School Summer Holiday breaks from the Peak District start at £667 for a short break and £1026 for a week on a four berth boat.

Explore the Pennines Afloata short break from Drifters’ base at Sowerby Bridge, at the junction of the Calder & Hebble Navigation and Rochdale Canal in Yorkshire, could take you along the leafy Calder & Hebble Navigation to Hebden Bridge and Todmorden, navigating 20 miles and 32 locks.  Hebden Bridge is an historic mill town nestled in a fork in the hills, with houses piled tier upon tier.  Visit its excellent shops and take a walk up the valley to crags, trees and stunning views of the moors above.  Todmorden boasts fine Victorian buildings, including the Town Hall and a lively market and offers many places to eat and drink.

A week’s trip from Sowerby Bridge could take you to the famous Bingley Five Rise of locks, via Leeds and Sir Titus Salt’s Italianate mills and model town at Saltaire, with its David Hockney Gallery.

School Summer Holiday breaks from Sowerby Bridge start at £650 for a short break and £1120 for a week on a four berth boat.

Lock free cruising & the bright lights of Birminghama short break from Tardebigge could take you along the Worcester & Birmingham Canal to Birmingham and back, with just ten hours cruising and no locks to negotiate.  Stop off at the delicious Cadbury World then travel on to moorings in Gas Street Basin, close to the Sea Life Centre at Brindley Place, city centre museums and the Bullring and Mailbox shopping centres.

Summer Holiday breaks from Tardebigge start at £650 for a short break and £930 for a week on a four berth boat.

Visit the “Stream in the Sky”…Drifters’ base at Trevor on the Llangollen Canal offers the chance to experience one of the UK’s most stunning stretches of waterway and to navigate the awesome World Heritage Status Pontcysyllte Aqueduct – an incredible feat of engineering standing at over 38 metres high above the Dee Valley.  You may be travelling at just four miles an hour, but with not even a hand rail on the south side of the aqueduct to obscure your views of the stunning Dee Valley 126ft below, you will literally feel like you are floating above the earth!

Summer Holiday breaks from Trevor start at £650 for a short break and £930 for a week on a four berth boat.

For more information about Drifters boating holidays call 0844 984 0322 or visit www.drifters.co.uk

 

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ENJOY THE JUBILEE WEEKEND AFLOAT

…from Gun salutes at Edinburgh Castle to picnics in the park in Bath, Britain’s waterside towns are hosting a variety of events to celebrate The Queen’s Diamond Jubilee

Drifters Waterway Holidays (www.drifters.co.uk) is offering some fantastic UK breaks on our peaceful inland waterway network over the extended bank holiday weekend for the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee (2-5 June 2012).

Many of our waterside towns and cities will be hosting special Diamond Jubilee events, so why not join in the celebrations afloat.

Canal boat holidays are great for families, offering the chance to work the locks together, navigate tunnels, learn the boating lingo, spot wildlife, sample family-friendly waterside pubs and explore mile upon mile of traffic-free towpaths.

Drifters members (www.drifters.co.uk) offer the choice of over 500 boats from 35 bases across the country.  All its operators provide hirers with life jackets and boat steering tuition.  Bikes can be stored on the roof of the boat and dogs are welcome aboard most hire boats.

Here are some ideas for a Diamond Jubilee Weekend afloat:

***Visit Bath by canal and join in the Queen’s Jubilee Picnic in the Park…from Drifters’ base in the historic town of Bradford on Avon on the Kennet & Avon Canal, the beautiful World Heritage City of Bath is just over seven hours cruise away.  Visitor moorings are available in the heart of the City, providing the perfect base to enjoy all that Bath has to offer, including free celebrations taking place in the City’s Victoria Park on 5 June.  The Queen’s Jubilee Picnic in the Park will feature performances from the Bath Philharmonic Orchestra and ABBA tribute act Bjorn Again.  Other special Jubilee celebrations in Bath include limited edition Teddy Bears on sale at the Highgrove Shop and a special exhibition of stage and film costume celebrating the history of British Rulers at the Fashion Museum.

Short breaks from Bradford on Avon over the Diamond Jubilee Weekend start at £590, weekly cruises from £840.

***Travel to Worcester to pick up some commemorative china…Drifters’ base at Stoke Prior on the Worcester & Birmingham Canal is an eight-hour cruise from the beautiful Cathedral City of Worcester.  The Cathedral City is set to host a series of events marking the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee, including music and fireworks in Brinton Park from 7pm on 4 June.  You could also visit Worcester’s fascinating Porcelain Museum, with collections dating back to 1751, and pick up some of Royal Worcester’s stunning Queen’s Diamond Jubilee collection as a souvenir.  And Stoke Prior has a four-berth boat named ‘Elizabeth’ to help you get into the spirit of things!

Short breaks from Drifters’ base at Stoke Prior over the Diamond Jubilee Weekend start at £700, weekly cruises from £1030.

***Hear the guns salute at Edinburgh Castle…Drifters’ base at Falkirk on the Union Canal is a day and a half’s peaceful cruise away from Edinburgh.  Visitor moorings are available at Edinburgh Quay, just a five-minute walk from Princes Street.  A series of events to mark the Jubilee are planned in Edinburgh, including a gun salute by the 105th Regiment Royal Artillery at Edinburgh Castle at 12 noon on Saturday 2 June, marking the Anniversary of The Queen’s Coronation and a Beacon lighting event on Monday 4 June.

Short breaks from Drifters’ Falkirk base over the Diamond Jubilee Weekend start at £1000, weekly cruises from £1535.

***Jubilee Celebrations at Abingdon’s Abbey Gardens…from Drifters’ base on the River Thames at Eynsham near Oxford, Abingdon is approximately just a day’s cruise away.  Abingdon is planning a series of events to mark the Diamond Jubilee, including a Dance Festival on Saturday 2 June, Proms in the Park on Sunday 3 June and a Beacon lighting event on Monday 4 June.

Short breaks from Drifters’ Oxford base over the Diamond Jubilee Weekend start at £590, weekly cruises from £840.

***Visit the Royal Pageant at Windsor, 10-13 May…Drifters’ base at Aldermaston on the Kennet & Avon Canal in West Berkshire is offering 10 per cent off one and two week breaks starting on 5 May to celebrate the Royal Pageant taking place at Windsor, 10-13 May 2012.  Aldermaston is a three-day cruise from Windsor, with 21 locks to negotiate along the way.  The Diamond Jubilee Pageant will take place in the grounds of Windsor Castle over three days.  The event aims to take spectators on a “journey around the world” and will feature 500 horses and 800 performers, in military and equestrian displays.

Short breaks from Drifters’ Aldermaston base in May start at £600, weekly cruises from £920.

For more information about Drifters boating holidays call 0844 984 0322 or visit www.drifters.co.uk

 

Drifters Day Boats

Day boats are a great option for those thinking of a waterway holiday but wanting a taster session first, or for people just looking for peaceful day out on the water.

Drifters offers day boat hire at a number of its bases, from as little as £11 per person.

Boats are equipped with cutlery, crockery and a kettle so boaters can enjoy a picnic afloat or head for a waterside pub.  Most day boats also have a toilet, cooker and fridge.  Full tuition is included.

Here’s a list of Drifters’ day boat hire centres:

  • Visit ‘The Stream in the Sky’ – from the Drifters’ base at Trevor on the Llangollen Canal in North Wales it’s just 20 minutes cruising to the awesome Pontcysyllte Aqueduct.  At over 38 metres high (126ft) and 305 metres long (1000 ft), the World Heritage Status Aqueduct offers a fantastic waterway adventure.  You may be travelling at just four miles an hour, but with not even a hand rail on the south side of the aqueduct to obscure your views of the stunning Dee Valley 126ft below, you will literally feel like you are floating above the earth!  Day boat hire for up to 10 people from Trevor costs £110 Monday to Friday and £140 at weekends/bank holidays.
  • Take a cruise in Bath – from Drifters’ base at Sydney Wharf in the World Heritage City of Bath you can sample a scenic cruise on one of Britain’s most popular waterways, the Kennet & Avon Canal.  Head east to Bathampton and make the historic George Inn, a vision of Olde England and once a 12th century monastery, your lunchtime destination.  Day boat hire for up ten people from Bath costs £120 on a weekday and £165 at weekends/bank holidays.
  • Wend your way through Wiltshire – from Drifters’ base at Hilperton Marina in Wiltshire, also on the Kennet & Avon, cruise east through unspoilt countryside to Seend where you’ll find The Barge Inn or head West to Bradford on Avon and the Cross Guns pub at Avoncliffe Aqueduct.  Prices here are £105 midweek and £130 at weekends/bank holidays for boats which carry up to eight people.
  • Experience the rural North Oxford Canal – from Drifters’ base at Stretton-under-Fosse near Rugby, cruise north through open farmland to the pretty village of Ansty with its pottery and its well known Rose & Castle pub.  Or head south and travel through quiet woodland, through Newbold Tunnel to the village of Newbold with several pubs to choose from.  Day boat hire from Rugby starts at £130 for a boat for eight on a weekday, £170 at weekends and on bank holidays.  Or try a boat for 12 for £150 on weekdays and £190 at weekends/bank holidays.
  • Glide through the Brecon Beacons – from Drifters’ base at Goytre Wharf on the beautiful Monmouth & Brecon Canal near Abergavenny, enjoy beautiful countryside and diverse scenery and cruise to the Horse & Jockey pub with children’s play area in less than three hours.  Goytre means ‘place in the woods’ and the wharf was once used to supply coal to the nearby estate.  You can find out more about the history of the wharf through interactive displays on site.  Day hire for a boat for 12 starts at £90 for a weekday, £115 for a weekend/bank holiday.
  • Explore Shakespeare’s country – from Drifters’ base at Wootton Wawen on the Stratford Canal near Stratford Upon Avon, you can choose between an easy day cruising to Wilcote and back (2.5 hours each way), or a more challenging cruise to Lowsenford and back, negotiating a total of 16 locks, with the opportunity to stop for an hour at the Fleur de Lis pub (3.5 hours each way).  A day boat for ten people from Wootton Wawen costs £99 on weekdays, £120 at weekends & bank holidays.
  • Staffordshire delights – from Drifters’ base at Great Haywood on the Staffs & Worcs Canal near Stafford, the recommended day boat cruise is a six hour journey to the historic market town of Rugeley and back through several locks, past Shrugborough Hall and over an aqueduct.  There are many pubs to choose from in Rugeley itself or stop enroute at Bridge 70 at the delightful Wolseley Arms in Wolseley Bridge.  Day boat hire from Great Haywood for ten people is £99 on weekdays and £120 at weekends & bank holidays.
  • Sightseeing along ‘The Shroppie’ – from Drifters’ base at Bunbury on the Shropshire Union near Crewe cruise south past Barbridge and Nantwich to Baddington Bridge.  With no locks to negotiate and plenty of pubs enroute, it’s a delightful way to spend the day afloat.  Day boat from for ten people from Bunbury is £99 on weekdays and £120 at weekends & bank holidays.
  • Visit rural Worcestershire – from Drifters’ base at Tardebigge on the Worcs & Birmingham Canal near Bromsgrove, cruise north to Kings Norton Junction, a pretty rural route with pubs along the way including The Crown at Alvechurch and the Hopwood House at Hopwood.  The route is lock three but three tunnels form part of the navigation.  Day boat hire for ten people from Tardebigge is £99 on weekdays and £120 on weekends & bank holidays.
  • Enjoy the beautiful Leicestershire countryside – from Drifters’ base at North Kilworth on the Leicester Line of the Grand Union Canal near Welford, cruise north to the top of the impressive Foxton Locks staircase with stunning views of the surrounding Leicestershire countryside and Foxton Locks pub.  Or, if you’ve packed a picnic, you could head south through a totally rural and peaceful section of the network.  Day hire from North Kilworth for ten people costs £110 on weekdays and £140 at weekends & bank holidays.

 

The East Anglian Fen District

For a totally different experience, Drifters are offering boating holidays from a brand new base this year in the East Anglian Fens. At Ely, on the River Great Ouse, there is now the chance to sample some new waters.

The River Great Ouse is navigable from Bedford to Denver, and passes many delightful towns and villages. For example, Godmanchester with its exquisite Chinese Bridge, Ely with its unique and wonderful cathedral, and Hemingford Grey church has a story to tell involving hurricanes.

The tributaries of the Great Ouse are also wonderful places to visit.

Brandon Creek passes through completely unspoilt countryside, far from any roads, and the wildlife is correspondingly special.

Cambridge has a wonderful array of old colleges and other buildings to see and is easily accessible by way of the River Cam.

These are all quiet cruises, with few other boats to be seen, but travelling through lovely pristine countryside punctuated by lovely old water mills and historic villages.

Bedford is a bustling town at the head of navigation, and well worth a visit, as are St. Neots and Huntingdon.

As these waters are all rivers rather than canals, locks are less frequent, but there are pubs and villages scattered along the banks at regular intervals.

At Ely, the unique wooden lantern tower of the cathedral is not to be missed at the start or end of your holiday.

Public transport is available to Ely, which is on a direct line from London, despite being at the heart of the Fens.

Ely, who name mean ‘Isle’, stands out from the surrounding landscape and was once home to the Fen Tigers, fiercely independent residents of this part of East Anglia. Now, the locals are much more friendly.

Posted in boating holidays Short breaks by rob52. Comments Off on The East Anglian Fen District

Canal and River Trust

Creating a new waterways charity

The calm waters of our inland waterways are currently experiencing their biggest shake-up for 60 years, as the UK Government prepares to entrust the waterways of England and Wales to the nation.

From April 2012, a new charity, the Canal & River Trust will take on the guardianship of not just British Waterways’ 2,200 miles of canals, rivers, docks and reservoirs, but also the waterways, museums and archives of The Waterways Trust.  Subject to funding the Government intends to transfer a further 600 miles of rivers from the Environment Agency to the new Trust in 2015.

The Canal & River Trust will be a new, independent guardian of the historic waterways of England and Wales and will hold the waterways in trust for the nation in perpetuity.  The new body is backed by waterway supporters and businesses.  It will give local people a greater role in the running of their local canal or river, and a chance to put the funding of the network on a more stable footing.  This can only be a good thing for the many millions of people who enjoy holidaying on our inland waterways, live on or next to a canal or river or regularly walk or run on a towpath..

The Canal & River Trust will be backed through a long-term contract with Government and a major property endowment.  Excitingly it will also be able to grow new sources of income such as donations and legacies, with 100% of voluntary income being ploughed back into improvements on the canal bank.

There is still much to be done between now and April next year, and the Transition Trustees are deep in negotiation with Government to ensure the new Trust is given a viable funding package from the start.  All in all, these are exciting times for the waterways and a chance to build a really bright future.

In the last century the hire boat industry was at the forefront of the rehabilitation of our wonderful waterways, from national disgrace to national treasure.  The countless individuals and families who have discovered canal boating – the ‘fastest way of slowing down’ – have helped to give the waterways a new lease of life and made them what they are today.  We all look forward to the playing our part in the next chapter of the waterways remarkable history.

 

Cruise the canals over Christmas


…frosty towpaths, cosy fires and traditional pubs make the canals a festive destination

Britain’s canals can offer a great antidote to the hustle and bustle of Christmas.  A number of Drifters’ (www.drifters.co.uk) canal boat hire bases offer winter cruising giving people the chance to crank-up the on-board heating, light the stove, stop-off at cosy country pubs with roaring log fires and wake up to frosty towpaths and crisp clean air.

Today’s canals boats are fully equipped with all the essential mod cons, including central heating, hot water, TV, DVD players, showers and flushing toilets, so whatever the weather, it’s always nice and cosy on board.

As its low season, not only are the canals even more peaceful than usual, but boat hire prices are cheaper than in the summer.

Whether it’s a cosy boat for two or jolly boat for six, celebrating Christmas or New Year afloat offers a great getaway.  And it’s free to moor almost anywhere on the network, so a canal boat could provide the perfect place to lay your head after enjoying new year celebrations in waterside towns and villages like Bath, Chester, Devizes, Bradford on Avon, Stratford upon Avon, Braunston, Banbury and Ellesmere.

Here’s a list of Drifters bases offering winter cruising:

  • Visit historic Stratford Upon Avon…Short breaks from Drifters’ base at Wootton Wawen on the Stratford Canal in Warwickshire, not far from Henley-in-Arden, can take you to historic Stratford and back, with its famous theatre and pubs a plenty.  While a week’s cruise can easily take you on to Warwick and back, cruising through the heart of rural England and Shakespeare’s country.  Or head north into the cosmopolitan City of Birmingham with its fantastic shops and restaurants.  Take a boat for four from Wootton Wawen for Christmas week for £895 (23-30 Dec) or for just the weekend for £575 (24-27 Dec).  Take a boat for six for Christmas week for £1,195 (23-30 Dec) or a boat for six for £837 (23-26 Dec).  Take a romantic boat for two for £895 for a week (24-31 Dec) or £627 for short break (24-27 Dec).  A boat for four over New Year starts at £895 (26 Dec to 2 Jan) and a boat for six is £1,195 (26 Dec to 2 Jan).  A boat for two is £895 (27 Dec to 3 Jan).  Mid week breaks are also available.
  • Travel to Bath along the Kennet & Avon Canal...stretching 86 miles from Bath to Reading, the beautiful Kennet & Avon Canal travels through the southern tip of the Cotswolds, the stunning Wiltshire countryside and West Berkshire’s Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty.  Drifters’ base in the historic town of Bradford on Avon is currently offering 20% off winter cruising.  A short break could take you east to the bottom of the Caen Hill Flight at Devizes and back, while a week’s cruise gives time to navigate the marathon of locks!  Or head west to the World Heritage City of Bath with lovely country pubs to enjoy along the way, including the George Inn at Bathampton.  Once a 12th-century monastery, this watering hole is packed with character and boasts priest holes, low ceilings, creaking beams and real fires to snuggle up to.  The Cross Guns at Avoncliffe, one of Wiltshire’s oldest and most popular pubs, has panoramic views of the foothills of the Cotswolds and John Rennie’s Avoncliffe Aqueduct, plus a large central inglenook fireplace in the same style as those at Hampton Court.  Take a week’s cruise over Christmas on a boat for six from Bradford on Avon for £1,120 (23-30 December) or a short break for £800 (23-26 Dec).  Or take a boat for four for a week for £796 (24-31 Dec) or a short break for £560 (24-27 Dec).  Take a boat for six over New Year for £1,120 (26 Dec to 2 Jan) or a boat for four for £856 (26 Dec to 2 Jan).
  • Wending through Worcestershire…A week’s cruise from Tardebigge on the Worcester & Birmingham Canal near Bromsgrove can take you to Warwick and its fascinating castle or to Worcester and its magnificent cathedral.  Or cruise the Stourport Ring, one of the most popular circular routes and mix rural idyll with city lights.  The journey will take you to three cities – the newly recognised City of Wolverhampton, industrial Birmingham, including Brindley Place, Gas Street Basin and Broad Street at the heart of its rejuvenated waterfront and the ancient City of Worcester.  On a short break, take a lock free journey to the City of Birmingham and back or keep it rural and head to the pretty village of Lapworth with its highly recommended Navigation Inn.  Take a short Christmas break on a romantic boat for two from Tardebigge for £627 or a boat for four for a week for £975 (24-31 Dec).  A short break on a boat for four over Christmas is £683 (24-27 Dec), a week on a boat for six is £1,195 (24-31 Dec).  A boat for four over New Year is £975 (27 Dec to 3 Jan) and a boat for six is £1,195 (27 Dec to 3 Jan).  Mid week breaks are also available.
  • The Llangollen Canal in North Walesthe beautiful 46-mile Llangollen Canal is one of the most popular on the inland waterway network, and navigating the awe-inspiring 1000ft, 19-arch long World Heritage Status Pontcysyllte Aqueduct, soaring 126ft high above the rushing waters of the River Dee is tantamount to free flight.  From Drifters’ hire base at Trevor, right next to the aqueduct, a short break to Ellesmere and back, offers the chance to explore the Vale of Llangollen and the Shropshire Lake District.  Pubs to enjoy along the way include The Bridge Inn at Chirk, AKA ‘The last pub in England’ with glorious views and numerous fire places, and The Narrow Boat Inn at Whittington, visited by Hollywood legends Harrison Ford and Calista Flockhart, as part of their canal boat holiday on the Llangollen in 2004.  Take a boat for four over the Christmas week for £895 (24-31 Dec) or just for the weekend for £627 (24-27 Dec).  Take a boat for six over the Christmas week for £1,060 (24-31 Dec) or just for the weekend for £742 (24-27 Dec). Take a boat for four over New Year for £895 (27 Dec to 3 Jan) or a boat for six for £1,195 (26 Dec to 2 Jan).
  • Cruise the Shropshire Union Canal from Bunbury…offers a number of routes, including a short break to the ancient City of Chester and back along the Shropshire Union Canal.  Alternatively, head south to the Llangollen Canal and historic Whitchurch.  A week’s cruise could take you to Llangollen and back, via the awesome Pontcysyllte Aqueduct or tackle the Four Counties Ring, including 96 locks and the world famous 2670 metre long Harecastle Tunnel. Take a boat for six from Bunbury for Christmas week for £1,100 (23-30 Dec) or just for the weekend for £770 (23-26 Dec).  Or hire a romantic boat for two for a week for £820 (24-31 Dec) or just for the weekend for £574 (24-27 Dec).  Take a boat for six over New Year for £1,100 (26 Dec to 2 Jan) or a boat for two for £820 (27 Dec to 3 Jan).  A short Christmas break on a boat for six is £770 (24-27 Dec).  Take a boat for four over New Year for £975 (26 Dec to 2 Jan) or a boat for two for £895 (27 Dec to 3 Jan).  A boat for six over New Year is £1,100 (27 Dec to 3 Jan).
  • Explore the Potteries in Staffordshire…Drifters’ base at Great Haywood at the junction of the Staffs & Worcs and Trent & Mersey canals in Staffordshire offers a huge array of routes.  On a week’s cruise, head north on the Trent & Mersey and join the pretty Caldon Canal to Froghall or travel to historic Market Drayton, home of the gingerbread man along the Shropshire Union.  For a cruising challenge, tackle the Four Counties Ring, taking in 94 locks and the world famous 2670 metre long Harecastle Tunnel along the way.  On a short break, head to historic Stone or to pretty Fradley at the junction of the Trent & Mersey and Coventry canals.  Take a short break over Christmas on a boat for four for £683 (23-26 Dec) or a week for £975 (23-30 Dec).  Take a romantic boat for two for £627 (24-27 Dec) or a jolly boat for six for £1,100 (24-31 Dec).
  • The Oxford Canal at Rugby…A week’s break from Drifters’ base at Stretton-under-Fosse near Rugby could take you to historic Warwick and back along the Grand Union Canal, via Braunston and Napton Junctions, with plenty of time to visit the Regency centre of Lemington Spa and Warwick with its castle and lovely antique shops.  The journey takes a total of 30 hours cruising, with 26 locks along the way.  Or head south along the beautiful Oxford Canal, one of England’s most peaceful waterways which meanders slowly through classic scenery, much of which hasn’t changed for centuries.  A week can easily take you as far as the historic town of Banbury and back, cruising a total of 40 hours and negotiating 25 locks.  Take a romantic boat for two for a week for £715, a boat for four for £1,145 or a boat for six for £1,295 (24-31 Dec).

For more information about Drifters boating holidays call 0844 984 0322 or visit www.drifters.co.uk

 

Posted in boating boating holidays canal boat holidays narrowboat holidays by rob52. Comments Off on Cruise the canals over Christmas

Take a Canal Boat Holiday this Halloween

Reputedly playing host to hundreds of ghosts, with bats and frogs aplenty, creepy tunnels, spooky locks, misty towpaths and thousands of historic buildings along the way, Britain’s 200-year old canal network provides the perfect backdrop for a haunting Halloween afloat.

Drifters Waterway Holidays offers over 500 boats from 35 bases across the country (www.drifters.co.uk).

Here are a few of the spookiest places to go:

  • The Shropshire Union Canal is said to be Britain’s most haunted canal with five ghosts along its length, including ‘The Monkey Man’ at Bridge 39 near Norbury.  The hideous black, shaggy coated being is said to be the ghost of a boatman drowned there in the 19th century.  And at Betton Cutting near Market Drayton a shrieking spectre has been seen and heard.  See if you can spot them by heading north from Drifters’ base at Brewood on the Shropshire Union Canal in Staffordshire near Stafford.  A short break for four costs £454 (28-31 October).
  • Get the chills in Chester by visiting the city’s old Northgate where the canal was dug into part of the town’s moat and a Roman centurion can sometimes be seen guarding the entrance to the city.  You can also visit Chester’s The King’s Inn, an old coaching inn believed to be haunted by three separate spirits. Hire a boat from Drifters’ base at Bunbury on the Shropshire Union Canal in Cheshire and you can easily make it to Chester and back on a short break, cruising for a total of 14 hours and negotiating 18 locks.  Try a boat for four from just £396 or a boat for six for £487 (28-31 October).
  • Blisworth Tunnel on the Grand Union Canal in Northamptonshire has spooked a number of boaters over the years.  At 3,076 yards (2.81km) it’s one of the longest on the canal system.  When construction began in 1793, the tunnel was a major feat of engineering.  Teams of navvies worked with picks and shovels for three years until they hit quicksand and the tunnel collapsed, killing 14 men.  A new route for the tunnel was found and it finally opened on 25 March 1805.  Over the years, a number of boaters travelling through the tunnel have reported seeing lights and a fork in the waterways.  But the tunnel runs straight through the hill so people have seen the flicker of candlelight at the spot where the first tunnel would have intersected with the main canal tunnel, showing the ghostly navvies are still working there!  Hire a boat from Drifters’ popular base at Gayton on the Grand Union Canal close to the Blisworth Tunnel and travel to Crick and back on a short break, which includes a trip through the tunnel.  A boat for six for the Halloween weekend costs £665 (28-31 October).
  • At the Union Canal tunnel at Falkirk in Scotland, two walkers and their dogs were terrified by an apparition of a man who had been lured to the tunnel in the 1940s and viciously murdered after he had been unable to pay his gambling debt.  And there are plenty of ghostly goings on in the historic city of Edinburgh, including the ghost of the Great Lafayette at Edinburgh Festival Theatre, a magician who was killed in fire there.  From the Drifters hire boat base at Falkirk, you can travel the 32 rural and peaceful miles to Edinburgh along the Union Canal in just two leisurely days, arriving at Edinburgh Quay, just five minutes walk from Princes Street.  Take a boat for four from Falkirk for £536 (28-31 Oct) or a boat for six for £665 (28-31 Oct).
  • The Trent & Mersey Canal’s Harecastle Tunnel at Kidsgrove is said to be home to a shrieking boggart – the ghost of Kit Crewbucket who was murdered and whose headless corpse was dumped in the canal.  Hire a boat for four from Drifter’s base at Stoke on Trent on the Trent & Mersey Canal in Staffordshire for £523 (28-31 Oct).
  • The Llangollen Canal in Wrexham is haunted by an eerie figure that can sometimes be seen on moonlit nights gliding along the towpath by the incredible Pontcysyllte Aqueduct, a UNESCO World Heritage site.  Hire a boat for four for a week from Drifters’ base at Trevor, right next to the Aqueduct for £670 (28 Oct to 4 Nov) or £469 for short break (28-31 Oct).
  • At 3.25 miles long, The spooky Standedge Tunnel in Yorkshire is the longest, highest and deepest canal on the UK canal system and certainly not for the feint hearted!  Take a boat for a week from Drifters’ base at Sowerby Bridge on the leafy Calder & Hebble Navigation in West Yorkshire and cruise through the stunning Calder Valley, then onto the Huddersfield Broad Canal to Huddersfield. There you can moor the boat and switch to a train for a scenic rail trip to Marsden and the Standedge Tunnel Visitor Centre which is running special haunted Halloween boat trips (22-30 October). A boat for six for a week from Sowerby Bridge costs £890 (28 Oct to 3 Nov).

For more information about Drifters boating holidays call 0844 984 0322 or visit www.drifters.co.uk

 

A short break canal holiday in Yorkshire

canal boat holiday in Yorkshire

Short break on Yorkshire canals

This trip gives you time for walks, the pub or simply to sit and unwind – canal boat holidays are like that – they let you make the choice..

The cruise takes you on the Rochdale Canal, from Sowerby Bridge to Hebden Bridge & Todmorden.

On day one, you arrive in the historic canal basin at Sowerby Bridge to take over your Tourist Board graded boat. After a detailed briefing, a member of staff will take you up through the first three locks, including the deepest one in the country. You then sail off along the side of the valley, through two more locks, to Mytholmroyd, where you moor for the night. Here you have two pubs with food, an upmarket café and convenience stores.

Next morning, travel on to Hebden Bridge. This old mill town nestles in a fork in the hills, houses piled tier upon tier. Hebden is the original plastic-bag-free town, and has not succumbed to a big supermarket, so has an amazing variety of shops, cafes, restaurants and pubs. It’s full of
surprises – everything from horsey clothing to hand-made pottery, and not one but two bookshops. Keep on cruising through the town and gradually wind up the valley, with woods, crags and the Calder running alongside, and views of the moors high above. Pause perhaps at the Stubbing Wharf pub, but keep going in order to reach Todmorden, a town that can’t decide  whether it’s in Yorkshire or Lancashire, famous for wool or cotton. Moor at the Fielden Wharf visitor moorings below Lock 19, just beside one pub (though you don’t have to neglect the other pubs, restaurants and the busy market). Don’t miss the Town Hall and many other fine Victorian – and much older – buildings, all dominated by a curving railway viaduct.

Next day, you turn the boat below Lock 19 and head back to Luddenden Foot (where there is a good pub and Indian restaurant). The valley looks quite different on the way down, and you’ll
see things you missed on the way up.

For the final morning, you need to get up early to be at the top lock for 8am, then cruise gently back to base.

 

DRIFTERS DISCOUNTS SUMMER HOLIDAYS

DRIFTERS DISCOUNTS SUMMER HOLIDAYS

…Drifters Waterway Holidays is now is offering 15 per cent off all its July and August bookings, giving people the chance take to the water for less this Summer and enjoy some holiday fun afloat.  From lazing on the Llangollen to cruising through the Capital, Britain’s canals offer the fastest way to slow down and a great family holiday. www.drifters.co.uk T 0844 984 0322

Drifters offer the choice of over 500 boats from 35 bases across the country.  Here are some ideas for Summer holiday cruising.

Visit London by boat and cruise through the heart of the Capital…a short break from Drifters’ new base at Willow Tree Marina, near Greenford in West London could take you along the Grand Union Paddington Arm and on to the Regent’s Canal at Little Venice.  This historic canal takes you right through the Capital, past London Zoo and Regent’s Park, through Camden and on to Limehouse Basin.  Here boaters can lock onto the River Thames and complete the London Ring, or stick to the canals and cruise past the Olympic Park on the River Lee.

Try a short break on a boat for four from Willow Tree (5-8 August or 8-12 August 2011) for £583, saving £103.  A boat for four for a week (8-15 August) would cost £896, saving £159.

Explore crags and historic towns in Yorkshirea short break from Sowerby Bridge could take you along the leafy Calder & Hebble Navigation to Hebden Bridge and Todmorden, navigating 20 miles and 32 locks.  Hebden Bridge is an historic mill town nestled in a fork in the hills, with house piled tier upon tier.  Visit its excellent shops and take a walk up the valley to crags, trees and stunning views of the moors above.  Todmorden boasts fine Victorian buildings, including the Town Hall and a lively market.  It offers many places to eat and drink.

Try a short break on a romantic boat for two (5-8 August) from Sowerby Bridge for £386, saving £69 or a week (6-13 August) for £879, saving £156.

Glide along the Grand Union Canal…Drifters’ base at Gayton on the Grand Union Canal in Northamptonshire is one of the most popular in the country.  Not only is it easy to get to located just minutes away from junction 15a of the M1, but it also offers a great variety of cruising routes for boaters, whether novices or experienced navigators.

A short break (four nights) could take you south to Fenny Stratford and back, cruising through miles of delightful countryside and negotiating a total of 18 locks.  On the way you’ll pass through the picturesque village of Stoke Bruerne, with its friendly waterside pubs and fascinating Canal Museum housed in an old corn mill.

Try a short break on a boat for five (8-12 August) for £806, saving £143 or a week on a boat for four (6-13 August) for £1241, saving £219.

Enjoy a trip to the theatre in historic Stratford-Upon-Avonrunning from Birmingham’s suburbia to Shakespeare’s Stratford in 25 picturesque miles, the Stratford-upon-Avon Canal is a delightful waterway.  Drifters’ base at Wootton Wawen is just a six-hour cruise from Shakespeare’s birthplace at Stratford, with 17 locks to negotiate along the way.  Town centre moorings offer the ideal base for exploring the town’s pubs, restaurants, historic sites and the chance to take in a show at the famous Swan Theatre.

Try a short break on a boat for six (13-16 August) from Wootton Wawen for £705, saving £125 or a week for six (13-20 August) for £1007, saving £178.

Visit the “Stream in the Sky”…Drifters’ base at Trevor on the Llangollen Canal offers the chance to experience one of the UK’s most stunning stretches of waterway and to navigate the awesome World Heritage Status Pontcysyllte Aqueduct – an incredible feat of engineering standing at over 38 metres high above the Dee Valley.

Try a short break on a boat for six from Trevor (19-22 August) for £934, saving £165 or week on a boat for six from Trevor (19-26 August) for £1334, saving £236.

For more information about Drifters boating holidays call 0844 984 0322 or visit www.drifters.co.uk