Day boat hire on Britain’s peaceful network of inland waterways is a great way to celebrate Mother’s Day.
You can enjoy slow time together, watching out for Spring wildlife and blossom on the trees. And you can pack a picnic or stop off for lunch at a canalside pub along the way.
Drifters offers day boat hire from 17 boat yards across England and Wales. Prices start from less than £10 per person.
Full tuition is included, so it’s a great way to get the hang of navigating the canals. All our day boats are equipped with cutlery, crockery and a kettle. Most also have a toilet, cooker and fridge.
Here’s a guide to our Top 11 day boat destinations for Mums in 2020:
- Cruise through the Staffordshire countryside for a pub lunch at Hopwas. From our new day boat hire centre at Kings Orchard, you can cruise through the countryside to Bonehill Bridge. The route takes you through the villages of Huddlesford, Whittington and Hopwas. At Hopwas there are two pubs to choose from, the Tame Otter and the Red Lion. The journey to Bonehill and back takes five and a half hours and there are no locks.
***Day boat ‘Happy Days’ can take up to 10 people. 2021 prices start at £137.
- Boat through the Berkshire countryside to The Spring Inn. From our day boat hire base at Aldermaston, you can cruise to Tyle Mill Lock and back. The journey travels two miles and passes through three locks. It takes around one and a half hours. From there, it’s a short walk to the popular Spring Inn gastropub in Sulhamstead.
***‘Hey Day’ can carry up to 10 people. 2021 prices start at £129 per day.
- Explore Shakespeare’s country. From Wootton Wawen on the Stratford Canal, you can head south to the pretty village of Wilmcote. Here you can enjoy lunch at The Mary Arden Inn or visit the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust’s Mary Arden’s Farm. The journey takes two-and-a-half hours each way. It takes you across the impressive Edstone Aqueduct, with beautiful views of the Warwickshire countryside. ***Day boats ‘Dolly’ and ‘Charlie’ take up to 10 people each. 2021 prices per boat are £99 weekdays, £150 on weekends and bank holidays.
- Cruise through the countryside to Hillmorton. From our day boat hire base at Braunston, it takes three hours to reach the canalside village of Hillmorton. The journey travels seven miles of the North Oxford Canal. There are lovely views of the countryside to enjoy along the way. At Hillmorton there’s a choice of pubs – the canalside Old Royal Oak or the Stag & Pheasant in the village.
***Day boat ‘Ouzel II’ can carry up to 12 people. Weekday hire is £140, and £175 on weekends and bank holidays.
- Travel across ‘The Stream in the Sky’ in North Wales. From our base at Trevor on the Llangollen Canal, it takes 20 minutes to reach the World Heritage Status Pontcysyllte Aqueduct. Standing at over 38 metres high, this incredible structure offers boaters stunning views of the Dee Valley below. After cruising over the Pontcysyllte Aqueduct, there are two tunnels to pass through. Plus another magnificent aqueduct at Chirk. In total, it takes around two-and-a-half hours to reach the Poacher’s Pocket pub at Glendrid.
***Day boats ‘Jacob’, ‘Daniel’ and ‘Lotty’ take up to 10 people each. 2021 prices per boat are £120 weekdays, £180 on weekends and bank holidays.
- Cruise along the Grand Union Canal to Stoke Bruerne. From our day boat centre at Gayton near Northampton, it takes an hour to reach the pretty village of Stoke Bruerne. Along the way, you’ll pass through the 2,795-metre long Blisworth Tunnel. Stoke Bruerne is home to Canal Museum, where stories, films and collections provide a fascinating look at the history of our canals. And there are plenty of places to eat, including the Boat Inn, Navigation Inn and the Museum’s Waterside Café.
***‘Daylark’ can carry up to 12 people. 2021 prices start at £129.
- Glide through the Brecon Beacons. Cruise from Goytre Wharf on the Monmouth & Brecon Canal to enjoy incredible mountain views. From there, it takes two-and-a-half-hours to reach the village of Mamhillad. You’ll find the popular Star pub a short walk from bridge 62.
***‘Rooster’ can carry up to eight people. 2021 day boat hire prices start at £139.
- Travel along the Kennet & Avon Canal to Bradford on Avon. From Hilperton Marina near Trowbridge, you can head west to the picturesque town of Bradford on Avon. This historic town on the edge of the Cotswolds has a great choice of pubs, independent cafes and restaurants, including the canalside Barge Inn.
***‘Cheers’ can carry up to 10 people. 2021 day hire starts at £122.
- Travel through leafy rural Worcestershire. From Tardebigge near Bromsgrove, you can cruise north to Kings Norton Junction, passing through the remains of the Forest of Arden. Historic pubs along the way include the family-friendly Hopwood House at Hopwood. There are no locks, but there are two tunnels to pass through, including the 2493-metre long Wast Hill Tunnel.
***Day boat ‘Emma’ can carry up to 10 people. 2021 weekday hire is £99, weekends & bank holidays are £150.
- Cruise through the Shropshire countryside to Whitchurch. On a day afloat from our day boat hire base at Whixall in Shropshire, you can reach the historic market town of Whitchurch. The lock-free journey, which takes just under two hours, travels six miles of the Llangollen Canal. Once at Whitchurch, you can moor up to explore the town. Here there are independent shops, way-marked circular walks and a choice of places to eat.
***Day boat ‘Julia’ can take up to 10 people. 2021 prices are £99 on a weekday, £150 on weekends and bank holidays.
- Travel along the Trent & Mersey Canal to Rugeley. From Drifters’ boat yard at Great Haywood near Stafford, you can cruise to the market town of Rugeley. This four mile journey passes through two locks, and takes around two hours. Along the way, you’ll pass the National Trust’s Shugborough Estate. Plus the Staffordshire Wildlife Trust’s Wolseley Centre and Cannock Chase Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty.
***Day boats ‘Daphne’ and ‘Abi’ can carry up to 10 people each. Weekday hire from Great Haywood is £99, £150 on weekends and bank holidays.