See Pontcysyllte Aqueduct Illuminated

To celebrate the launch of the new charity to run the waterways in England and Wales – The Canal & River Trust (Glandwr Cymru) – Wrexham County Borough Council is hosting a light and music spectacular at the World Heritage Status Pontcysyllte Aqueduct on Thursday 12 July 2012.

The World famous Pontcysyllte Aqueduct will be illuminated from 9pm till 11pm and a free community concert with will take place from 7pm to 10.30pm on the football pitch below Pontcysyllte Aqueduct.

Drifters canal boat hire base at Trevor Basin is right next to Pontcysyllte Aqueduct, nicknamed the ‘Stream in the Sky’, which carries the Llangollen Canal 126ft high above the River Dee.  From here narrowboat holiday-makers can travel along the beautiful Llangollen Canal to Ellesmere, Llangollen or Whitchurch and back on a short break.  Or to Wrenbury and Barbridge on a week’s canal boat holiday.

Trevor Basin is just a ten minute walk from the ‘Underneath the Arches’ event and offers free parking.

For more information about the ‘Underneath the Arches’ event call 01978 292537 or visit

For more information about the Canal & River Trust visit

Posted in canal boat holidays Llangollen Canal narrowboat holidays by rob52. Comments Off on See Pontcysyllte Aqueduct Illuminated

Hotel boats on the canals

Hotel boating offers all the benefits of a relaxing cruise on Britain’s beautiful inland waterways, with the catering and navigating chores taken out of it.

It’s the perfect antidote to busy jobs and frenetic lives, plus a great opportunity to make new friends.

There are a variety hotel canal boat holidays to choose from, including traditional narrowboat pair Snipe & Taurus, which offer 4-star floating accommodation for up to nine guests at a time.

Narrowboat holidays with Snipe & Taurus vary from four to ten night stays.  Prices vary depending on the length of the trip but a single cabin starts from £400 for four nights, and a double en-suite from £425 per person for four nights.

This year, the boats began their season with a seven-night trip from Warwick to Stourport and have since visited Chester, Manchester, Liverpool, Stoke-on-Trent, Coventry, Market Harborough and Burton on Trent.

Next they will head to Warwick, Henley, Banbury, Worcester and Stratford upon Avon, as well as London.  Their last trip this season will explore the Warwickshire Ring, departing 6 October for ten days.

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.  Holidaymakers 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.”

For more information on Snipe & Taurus visit, email or call Corinne and Neil on 079 2121 4414.

Hotel boat Periwinkle, which takes just three passengers, offers mostly seven night cruises at £710 per person per cruise.

Gill and Steve Cookson, the husband and wife team who own and operate the boat, explain: “We are enjoying our eleventh hotel boating season.  Our canal boat holidays really are the fastest way to slow down and 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!“

For more information about hotel boat Periwinkle visit, email or call 07747 017263.

Traditional narrowboat pair Duke & Duchess offer a hotel boat service for up to eight people.

All trips are for seven nights and prices are fixed for the whole season, with £680 per person charged for en-suite cabins and £640 for standard cabins.

Owner/operator David Owen 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!”

For more information visit, email or call 07711 836441.

Links to all these and other hotel boat websites can be found on the Drifters website or call the Drifters booking office on 0845 984 0322 for contacts and ideas.

The boats take between two and 22 passengers and are all fully skippered and crewed offering delicious food and comfortable beds

Posted in boating holidays canal boat holidays hotel boat holidays Short breaks by rob52. Comments Off on Hotel boats on the canals

Pennine One-way trips – available all season

Drifters offers new one-way canal boat holidays

Drifters Waterway Holiday bases at Stretton on the North Oxford Canal near Rugby and Stockton on the Grand Union Canal close to Braunston have teamed up to offer some new one-way trips in June and July.

The collaboration gives narrowboat holiday-makers the chance to see more of the canals in Warwickshire on a short break and provides an alternative to the traditional “out and back” short break holiday.

A one-way break from Stockton to Stretton (or vice versa) takes boaters along the Grand Union and North Oxford canals via Napton, Braunston and Hillmorton, with plenty of historic pubs to sample along the way.  It takes around nine hours to cruise between the bases.

Canal boat hire prices from Stretton in June and July start at £715 for a short break on a five-berth boat, rising to £1130 for a nine-berth boat.  Prices include fuel, damage waiver and transfer between bases.

One-way narrowboat holidays are also available across the boating season from Drifters’ northern bases at Foulridge in Lancashire, Ashton-under-Lyne in Greater Manchester and Sowerby Bridge in Yorkshire, giving holiday-makers the chance to cross the Pennines by canal boat.

Canal boat hirers can choose a variety of seven and 14-night one way routes, including:

  • Sowerby Bridge to Foulridge via Leeds (7 nights, 82 miles, 79 locks, 45 hours) – travelling across the backbone of England and through the heart of West Riding;
  • Sowerby Bridge to Foulridge via Manchester (14 nights, 107 miles, 169 locks, 85 hours via Huddersfield or 14 nights, 100 miles, 136 locks, 65 hours via Rochdale);
  • Sowerby Bridge to Ashton-under-Lyne by the Huddersfield (7 nights, 33 miles, 97 locks, 40 hours) travelling down the Calder Valley to Brighouse, up the Broad Canal to Huddersfield, on to the Huddersfield Narrow to its dramatic passage under the moors through Standedge Tunnel, the longest and highest in Britain; and
  • Sowerby Bridge to Ashton-under-Lyne by the Rochdale (7 nights, 38 miles, 100 locks, 36 hours), crossing the summit to Littleborough and descending through town and country to the centre of Manchester.

2012 canal boat holiday prices for Drifters’ Yorkshire bases start at £645 (including fuel) for a week on a three-berth boat.


Posted in boating holidays canal boat holidays narrowboat hire narrowboat holidays Short breaks by rob52. Comments Off on Pennine One-way trips – available all season

Visit the Llangollen Eisteddfod by Canal Boat

The 66th Llangollen International Musical Eisteddfod, one of the world’s most inspirational cultural festivals, takes place from 3-8 July 2012 and is easily accessible from the Llangollen Canal.

So why not combine a canal boat holiday with a trip to the Eisteddfod?

The Eisteddfod has been staged at Llangollen since 1947.  Each year over 4,000 performers from across the globe head to the beautiful little Welsh town to take part in a unique event combining competition, performance and international peace and friendship.

Around 25 different competitions celebrate song, music and dance, climaxing with the presitigous ‘Choir of the World’ where winning choirs compete for the Pavarotti Trophy.

Drifters offers narrowboat holidays from a number of bases within easy reach of Llangollen, including Trevor, just a two-hour cruise away, Chirk four hours away and Whitchurch around ten hours away.

Canal boat hire from these bases in July starts at £525 for a short break and £745 for a week’s narrowboat holiday.


Posted in canal boat holidays narrowboat hire narrowboat holidays by rob52. Comments Off on Visit the Llangollen Eisteddfod by Canal Boat

Drifters attends Braunston Historic Boat Rally

Drifters canal boat hire operator Rose Narrowboats will be at the 2012 Braunston Historic Narrowboat Rally & Canal Festival (23-24 June) showcasing its 60ft long, eight-berth boat Cascade.

Over 80 historic boats will gather at this year’s Historic Boat Rally, held annually at Braunston Marina.

The event, which raises money for the canals and local causes, will include: boat parades; trade exhibitors; live music; morris dancing; boat horse demonstrations; waterway artists; food and drink; a real ale beer tent; and evening entertainment on the Saturday.

Rose Narrowboats offers 20 self-drive boats for narrowboat holidays from its base on the North Oxford Canal at Stretton-Under-Fosse near Rugby.

Cascade is built along traditional lines externally with a light, airy interior and a cruiser stern.  Designed to sleep up to eight people, she has a well laid out galley with side doors for extra ventilation on warm days, a centre cabin which can offer either two singles or a double bed, a convertible dinette in the saloon, two cabins each with two bunks and wash basins at the stern, a shower room with a toilet, plus a separate toilet at the rear.

2012 hire prices start for Cascade start at £695 for a short break and £1065 for a week’s canal boat holiday.

Other Drifters’ bases close to Braunston, include Stockton, Gayton and Rugby.


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Visit an Edinburgh Festival by Canal Boat

Edinburgh, the world’s Festival City, is a delightful 12 hour cruise along the Union Canal from Drifters’ base at Falkirk.

Once in Edinburgh, there are centrally located moorings in Edinburgh Quay, just a five-minute walk from Princes Street.

So why not take a canal boat holiday this summer and enjoy an Edinburgh Festival at the same time?

Events take place across the summer, including the Edinburgh International Film Festival (20 June to 1 July), the Edinburgh Festival Fringe (3-27 August) and the Edinburgh International Festival (9 August to 2 September).

As well as festivals, Edinburgh offers fantastic shops and restaurants, and a host of terrific attractions, including Edinburgh Castle, The Real Mary Kings Close, Lyceum Theatre, Botanical Gardens, Edinburgh Zoo and the Scottish National Gallery.

From the Drifters canal boat hire base next to the Falkirk Wheel, you can travel the 32 rural miles to Edinburgh in just two leisurely days.  The Union Canal only has three locks as it mainly uses aqueducts and tunnels to pass over valleys and through hills.

The Scottish Lowland canals were restored to celebrate the new Millennium and their centrepiece, the incredible Falkirk Wheel boat lift, connects the Forth & Clyde and Union canals, lifting boats 115ft high (equivalent to eight double decker buses).

Journeying from Falkirk, narrowboat holiday-makers soon enter the calming surrounds of open countryside and picturesque woodland.  Things to look out for along the way include: the Antonine Wall; the Avon, Almond and Slateford Aqueducts; the Falkirk Tunnel; the Laughin’ Greetin bridge at Glen Village, famous for its carved faces on the keystones; and the pretty villages of Linlithgow and Ratho.

Narrowboat hire from Drifters’ base at Falkirk starts from £534 for a short break on a five berth boat or £821 for a week’s holiday.


Posted in boating holidays canal boat holidays canal holidays Scotland narrowboat hire narrowboat holidays Short breaks by rob52. Comments Off on Visit an Edinburgh Festival by Canal Boat

Enjoy the Breacon Beacons Afloat

The beautiful Monmouthshire & Brecon Canal, which celebrated its bicentenary this year, meanders its way through the Brecon Beacons National Park for 36 miles, offering a fantastic canal boat holiday.

Isolated from the main canal network, the canal is quieter than others and arguably one of the most picturesque, with diverse scenery and glorious views of the Brecon Beacons.

Clinging to the mountainside, the canal follows the River Usk, from the historic market town of Brecon to the new town of Cwmbran.

There are plenty of places to stop off along the way on your narrowboat holiday, including: Crickhowell with its 13th century castle, excellent food and shopping; Abergavenny, known as the ‘Gateway to Wales’, with its medieval castle, town hall, market, theatre, pubs and shops; and Talybont Reservoir for bird watching, trout fishing and easy walks to the waterfalls at Blaen y Glyn.

Canal boat hire from Drifters’ base at Goytre Wharf on the Mon & Brec Canal near Abergavenny starts at £580 for a short break on a five berth boat or £885 for a week’s holiday.

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Visit Warwick Castle by Canal Boat

Warwick Castle, said to host ‘Britain’s Greatest Mediaeval experience’, is close the Grand Union Canal and easily accessible on a canal boat holiday from Drifters’ bases at Stockton, Napton, Rugby, Tardebigge, Stoke Prior and Stretton.

The Castle, with a history dating back almost 1,100 years, offers a fantastic day out with stunning towers and ramparts to climb, 60 acres of rolling landscaped gardens to explore, Trebuchet firing demonstrations, birds of prey displays, the Castle Dungeon – highlighting some of the darkest, bloodiest and most frightening times in history, the Princess Tower, Merlin Dragon Tower, Great Hall, Georgian State Rooms, Castle Chapel and Kingmaker tour – bringing to life the Earl of Warwick’s preparations for the Battle of Barnet in 1471.

Warwick Castle also hosts a series of special events, including jousting displays, mediaeval banquets and concerts.

The historic market town of Warwick boasts numerous fine mediaeval timber framed buildings, the beautiful Collegiate Church of St Mary, St John’s Museum housed in a Jacobean mansion, a number of military museums, Warwick Racecourse, a variety of shops, cafes and restaurants and a series of attractive parks and gardens.

Warwick can easily be reached on a short break narrowboat holiday from Drifters’ base at Stockton, with seven hours of cruising and 12 locks to negotiate along the way.

Or visit Warwick by boat as part of a week’s tour of Warwickshire’s beautiful waterways, travelling the 101-mile long Warwickshire Ring.

Short breaks from Drifters’ canal boat hire base at Stockton start at £330, including fuel, weekly breaks from £470.

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Visit Saltaire & The Hockney Gallery by canal boat

You can easily reach Sir Titus Salt’s fascinating model town at Saltaire in West Yorkshire on a week’s narrowboat holiday from Drifters’ base at Sowerby Bridge.

Saltaire, a UNESCO World Heritage Site on the Leeds & Liverpool Canal near Bradford, was founded by Sir Titus Salt, a leading industrialist in the woollen industry in 1851.

Salt, a visionary who wanted his workforce to be healthier, happier and more productive, moved his five mills to the new green site away from the overcrowded town centre of Bradford, housing them in beautiful Italianate buildings.  He built neat stone houses for his workers with community facilities including wash-houses, a hospital, an institution for recreation and education with a library, reading room, concert hall, billiard room, science laboratory and gymnasium.  He also built a village school for the children of the workers, almshouses, allotments, a park and a boathouse.

Today, the extraordinary town of Saltaire is a popular tourist destination with guided walks, events, shops, restaurants, cafes and galleries, including the wonderful David Hockney Gallery.  A special exhibition of Hockney’s three 27-foot-long pictures of Bessingby Road, Bridlington is on display this summer at Salts Mill, plus other Yorkshire landscapes and recent portraits of his family and friends.

As well as visiting Saltaire, on your week’s canal boat holiday from Sowerby Bridge you could also visit: the new Barbara Hepworth Museum at Wakefield; the Stanley Ferry Aqueduct (like a miniature Sydney Harbour Bridge); Leeds and its regenerated waterfront; and the Bingley Five Rise of locks, one of the Seven Wonders of the Waterways.

Canal boat hire from Drifters’ base at Sowerby Bridge starts at £515 for a week, £335 for a short break.

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A two hundred year old canal

It is quite hard for us to imagine what life must have been like two hundred years ago. There were few roads – only muddy tracks. No railways, either. So, when the Industrial Revolution started, the real problem facing those who wanted to take advantage of it was how to move the raw materials from where they were extracted from the ground to the rapidly-growing industrial centres. The answer presented itself in the form of canals.

In Wales, in what is now the Brecon Beacons National Park, limestone was brought from the hills by horse tramway to the canal to be processed in kilns then loaded onto boats for transport to the docks at Newport.

Now, just 200 years later, this canal is celebrating its bicentenary and is still in use, but for a very different purpose. Today, the canal finds itself at the centre of a National Park, and is used exclusively for pleasure by narrowboats.

The canal, now known as the Monmouth & Brecon Canal, is a great place to take a canal boat holiday. The canal runs for almost all of its length through the Brecon Beacons National Park, with wonderful views over the valley of the River Usk and the peaks of the Beacons and the Black Mountains.

It’s not a long canal, and there are relatively few locks, so it can hardly be beaten for a relaxing, scenic boating holiday. Drifters have a hire boat base at Goytre, near Pontypool, from which you can hire a narrowboat any time from March to October, and it is one of our most popular holiday bases.

There will be celebrations at various points along the canal this year to mark the bicentenary, but it will be just as pretty next year.

As well as winding its way through a magnificent landscape, the canal is tree-lined for much of its length, so it is very green and there are banks of wild flowers in many places. Because this canal runs mainly through unspoilt countryside, there is always plenty of wildlife, including herons fishing in the canal and red kites soaring overhead.

All our canals can be described as scenic, but it would be hard to find one to rival the Monmouth & Brecon for sheer wonderful beauty. It never disappoints, and many people return to it time and again as the best place to unwind on holiday.

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