Bank holiday boating rural retreats Llangollen Canal

Enjoy May bank holiday boating on the canals

The bank holidays in May offers the perfect excuse to plan a long weekend boating break on Britain’s peaceful inland waterways.  Prices start at £1,005 for a three night break on a boat for up to four people.

To celebrate the forthcoming bank holidays in May, including the Whitsun May bank holiday weekend (27-29 May), we’ve listed our Top 6 weekend breaks afloat:

1. Potter through the Shropshire countryside to Market Drayton

From our canal boat hire base at Brewood it takes around 10 hours to reach the historic market town of Market Drayton, home of the gingerbread man.  Cruising along the Shropshire Union Canal, you’ll pass through six locks and a series of deep cuttings full of trees and the sound of birdsong. There’s a choice of canalside pubs along the way, including the Junction Inn at Norbury and the Royal Oak at Gnosnall.

2. Drift through the Calder Valley to Hebden Bridge

On a weekend break from Sowerby Bridge in West Yorkshire, you can travel along the leafy Calder & Hebble Navigation to the old mill town of Hebden Bridge.  Climbing through woods, fields and small stone towns, the journey to Hebden Bridge covers seven miles, 10 locks and takes around five-and-a-half hours.  Once at Hebden, you can moor up to enjoy a choice of places to eat, as well as walks up to Heptonstall or Hardcastle Crags.

3. Glide along the Forth & Clyde to visit Glasgow

From Falkirk, it’s a peaceful nine-hour cruise along the Forth & Clyde Canal to the City of Glasgow.  The journey travels 22 miles and passes through five locks.  Beginning at the home of the magnificent Falkirk Wheel boat lift, the route passes through Auchinstarry. Then on through the River Kelvin Valley with magnificent views of the Campsie Fells above. And past the historic town of Kirkintillock.  Once at Glasgow, there are moorings at Applecross Street Basin, close to Glasgow’s many cultural centres, including the Hunterian Museum. 

4. Navigate to Bradford on Avon

From our narrowboat hire base at Devizes in Wiltshire, you can travel gently along the beautiful Kennet & Avon Canal to the historic town of Bradford on Avon.  There you’ll find a choice of independent shops, restaurants and cafes, and the fascinating 14th century Tithe Barn.  The journey travels 10 miles, passing through seven locks and takes around five-and-a-half hours.

5. Cruise to Warwick Castle and back

From Stockton, on the Grand Union Canal in Warwickshire, you can cruise to Warwick and back.  The journey there and back takes around 14 hours, and passes through 40 locks (20 each way), perfect for a long weekend away.  Overnight moorings are available close to Warwick Castle on the banks of the River Avon.

6. Float across ‘The Stream in the Sky’ to Ellesmere

Passing through stunning North Wales landscapes, the Llangollen Canal is one of the most popular navigations on the network.  The journey from our base at Trevor to Ellesmere takes around seven hours.  There are two locks and two tunnels to pass through, and two magnificent aqueducts to cross.  One of the aqueducts is the awesome UNESCO World Heritage status Pontcysyllte Aqueduct, also known as ‘The Stream in the Sky’. As you cross, you’ll experience incredible views of the Dee Valley 30 metres below.