Canals of Northern England


North East England

Three canals cross the Pennines, each with its own character, but all showing the determination of two centuries ago to get goods moving across the hills and build prosperity. Today on your narrow boat holiday you can see history all around as you travel, but also how the West Riding is adapting to 21st century life.

To the north, the Leeds and Liverpool Canal passes through grand unspoilt Pennine scenery, and many waterway marvels such as the Bingley Five Rise locks.

The Rochdale Canal, in the middle, makes boaters marvel at its romantic scenery and stone-built towns as they climb towards the summit. At the far end is Manchester, with its busy new canalside life. 

The Huddersfield Narrow Canal, to the south, mixes wooded countryside, moorland views, and reminders of the textile industry, from weavers' cottages to giant mills reused for today's needs. It climbs towards the longest and highest canal tunnel in Britain. 

These three canals are linked on the Yorkshire side by river navigations. The Calder & Hebble is an old navigation, hidden in the trees. The Aire & Calder is a modern waterway which mixes growing pleasure traffic with environmentally friendly bulk transport.

Drifters bases at restored wharves in Sowerby Bridge and Barnoldswick give you ideal start points for exploring all the Pennine canals.

Click here for photos of the canals and waterways of the North East of England

North West England

In North West England, you could cruise the Cheshire Ring in a week - this offers a mix of rural and urban boating, including the south end of the Pennines, the Cheshire plains and the pretty Marple locks. 

To the west of Manchester, the crew can put their feet up on a thirty mile stretch with only one lock. Alternatively, a cruise to the historic city of Chester, with its Roman walls and zoo make a pleasant and varied holiday. 

Really relaxing and totally rural canals in this region include the Caldon and Macclesfield canals. Highlights close to these canals are Little Moreton Hall, a 15th century half-timbered building in the care of the National Trust, the Macclesfield Silk Museum and the enchanted Churnet Valley.

To the west of the area, the Shropshire Union Canal runs up to the Roman city of Chester with its famous zoo.


Click here for photographs of the canals and waterways of North West England

To find out more about the different holiday options available, please use our interactive map below.
 Start Points - Click on any start location to view all of the 'Local Routes' available

     Please use the Key to the left of the map to view recommended Attractions and Places of Interest



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