Take a Canal Boat Holiday this Easter


…and visit waterside attractions along the way, including Cadbury World, the Sea Life Centre at Brindley Place, National Garden Festival, SS Great Britain, Standedge Tunnel and Pontcysyllte Aqueduct.

Drifters is offering some fantastic UK family canal boat hire breaks on our beautiful inland waterway network at Easter, with prices starting at just £536 for a short break and £825 over the Easter weekend on a boat for four.

Canal boat holidays offer families the chance to set off on an adventure together – learning how to work the locks, navigate tunnels, speak the boating lingo, spot wildlife, explore mile upon mile of traffic-free towpaths and visit waterside attractions.

All our 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.

Many canalside attractions will be hosting special Easter events, so why not pack up and ship out for some Easter holiday fun afloat.

Here are some ideas for a family adventure afloat at Easter:

***Visit the Peak District and National Garden Festival Site…Drifters base at Stoke on Trent on the Trent & Mersey Canal is on the National Garden Festival Site with its exciting Water World, dry ski-slope, multi-screen cinema, ten pin bowling and shopping centre.

This canal boat hire base offers a huge variety of routes for both beginners and experienced boaters.

On a short break travel through the stunning Churnet Valley along the Caldon Canal and head to the Churnet Valley railway and the Black Lion Pub at Consall Forge.

On a week’s break, travel the 111 mile long Four Counties Ring, stopping off along the way at the Wedgewood Factory, Lord Lichfield’s historic working estate at Shugborough Hall and Churche’s Mansion – the stunning timber framed Elizabethan Mansion House in Nantwich.

Short breaks on a boat for four from Stoke on Trent over Easter start at £536, weekly hire from £825.

***Visit the home of Cadbury’s Chocolate and the bright lights of Birmingham…Boaters can travel lock-free to Birmingham in just five hours from Drifters’ base at Tardebigge, stopping off along the way to sample the delights of Cadbury World.

With more canals than Venice, there’s no better way to travel into Birmingham City Centre where over-night moorings are available in Gas Street Basin, close to Brindley Place.

There’s plenty for families to see and do in Birmingham, including a visit to the Sea Life Centre at Brindley Place, shopping at the Mailbox and Bullring or take in a show at one of the City’s theatres, museums or art galleries.

Short breaks on a boat for four from Tardebigge over Easter start at £595, weekly breaks from £855.

***Visit Bath and Bristol on the Kennet & Avon Canal…a short break from Sydney Wharf in the centre of the beautiful World Heritage City of Bath could take narrowboat holiday-makers to historic Bradford on Avon, with its stunning Tithe Barn, used for many a costume drama film set.

Or hirers can head west to Bristol’s Floating Harbour and visit Brunel’s masterpiece – the SS Great Britain and the new Blue Reef Aquarium.  The journey to Bristol takes eight hours, passing through 13 locks.

Easter short breaks on a boat for four from Bath start at £680, weekly cruises from £970.

***Travel across the Stream in the Sky…At over 38 metres high and 305 metres long, the awesome Pontcysyllte Aqueduct (AKA ‘The Stream in the Sky’) on the Llangollen Canal in North Wales, is an incredible feat of engineering and offers the canal boat ride of your life!

Even though boats travel at just four miles an hour, with not even a hand rail on the south side of the aqueduct to obscure panoramic views of the stunning Dee Valley below, boaters literally feels like they are floating above the earth.

And travelling along the Llangollen Canal offers the chance to experience one of the UK’s most stunning stretches of waterway, explore Shropshire’s mini lakes teeming with wildlife, visit historic Chirk Castle and ride the Llangollen Steam Railway.

Short breaks on a boat for four from Trevor at Easter start from £590, weekly cruises from £840.

***Visit the Pennines afloat, the incredible Standedge Tunnel and Selby Abbey…Hire a boat for a week from Sowerby Bridge on the leafy Calder & Hebble Navigation in Yorkshire and cruise through the stunning Calder Valley, then onto the Huddersfield Broad to Huddersfield.

Once in Huddersfield, narrowboat holiday-makers can moor their boat and switch to a train for a short but scenic rail trip to Marsden and the Standedge Tunnel Visitor Centre.

At 3.25miles long, Standedge is the highest, longest and deepest canal on the UK canal system.  An engineering marvel, carved through hard millstone grit, the tunnel runs beneath the Pennines from Marsden in Yorkshire to Diggle in Lancashire.  Navigating the tunnel is a specialist one-way trip for experienced boaters only but the visitor centre at Marsden offers fantastic guided boat trips in a glass topped boat.

Once back on board their hire boat in Huddersfield, boaters can head back down to the Calder & Hebble to the ancient town of Selby, with its beautiful abbey and vibrant Monday market, before heading back to Sowerby Bridge.

Short breaks on a boat for four from Sowerby Bridge over Easter start at £590, weekly hire from £910.

***Explore the Grand Union Canal in Northamptonshire…Drifters’ base at Gayton on the Grand Union Canal in Northamptonshire is one of the most popular in the country.  Not only is it centrally located and easy to get to (it’s 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 boaters south to Fenny Stratford and back, cruising through miles of delightful countryside.  On the way canal boat holiday-makers pass through the picturesque village of Stoke Bruerne, with its friendly waterside pubs and fascinating Canal Museum housed in an old corn mill.

On a week’s cruise, boaters can travel to the historic town of Market Harborough and back via the Foxton staircase of locks, with wonderful views of the Leicestershire countryside and the chance to find out about the intriguing Foxton Inclined Plane boat lift which once operated there.

Short breaks on a boat for four from Gayton over Easter start at £655, weekly breaks from £995.

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


For Drifters press enquiries contact Debbie Walker on 01628 635831/077486 40577 walker.debbie@sky.com