Rural Retreats

Below are some sample ideas for Rural retreats on a Drifters Canal Boat Holiday.

Auchinstarry

Auchinstarry is on the Forth & Clyde Canal in North Lanarkshire in Scotland, near to the town of Kilsyth.  Auchinstarry is surrounded by picturesque countryside, with the Campsie Fells and Kilsyth Hills providing a stunning backdrop to the village. The nearby Dumbreck Nature Reserve offers opportunities for outdoor recreation and wildlife spotting, with walking trails winding through woodlands and wetlands.  The Boat House country pub is canalside at Auchinstarry Marina. You can reach Auchinstarry on a short break from Falkirk.

Audlem

The quintessential English village of Audlem is on the Shropshire Union Canal and is surrounded by beautiful Cheshire countryside.  One of the notable features of Audlem’s historic St James’ Church dates back to the 13th century.  Its striking tower is a prominent landmark in the village and can be seen from afar.  Audlem is also known for its picturesque streets lined with traditional black-and-white timbered buildings, many of which date back to the 17th and 18th centuries. The village has managed to retain much of its historic character, making it a popular destination for visitors seeking a glimpse into England’s past. The village offers a range of shops, cafes and pubs, including the canalside Shroppie Fly pub. You can reach Audlem on a short break from our Bunbury base.

Autherley

The charming village of Autherley is on the Staffordshire & Worcestershire Canal near Wolverhampton. Surrounded by beautiful Staffordshire countryside, Autherley is home to a Drifters canal boat hire base.  You can reach Autherley on a short break from Gailey or Brewood.

Bingley Five Rise Locks

Bingley canal Locks One of the Seven Wonders of the Waterways, the Bingley Five Rise Locks are on the Leeds & Liverpool Canal near Bradford in West Yorkshire. The Bingley staircase consists of five consecutive locks that are connected without intervening pounds, allowing boats to negotiate a total rise of 18 metres over a relatively short distance. The locks are in a picturesque location, surrounded by wooded hillsides and rolling countryside. The Bingley Three Rise Locks, another set of staircase locks close by, add to the scenic beauty of the area, providing visitors with ample opportunities for leisurely walks and photography.  You can reach the Bingley Five Rise Locks on a short break from Silsden.

Braunston

Braunston canal is a rural retreatThe Northamptonshire village of Braunston is in the heart of the canal network, where the Grand Union Canal meets the Oxford Canal.  Once a significant hub for canal traffic, the village has a long history dating back to Roman times. The village itself is situated on a hill, with stunning views of the surrounding landscape and canal networks.  Along the village High Street you’ll find a community café, a fish and chip shop, bakery, butchers, village stores and the historic Old Plough pub.  The Wheatsheaf Inn is on The Green in the heart of the village. The Admiral Nelson pub is at the bottom of the hill, alongside the Lock No.3 on the canal and a little further along Braunston Marina and The Boathouse pub. We have a canal boat hire base at Braunston and you can you reach Braunston on a short break from Napton and Stockton.

Brewood

The pretty Staffordshire village of Brewood on the Shropshire Union Canal is known for its historic charm and beautiful architecture.  Well-preserved Georgian and Victorian buildings line the village’s quaint streets. The village centre is particularly picturesque, with traditional black-and-white timber-framed houses, local shops and historic pubs, including The Oakley Arms and The Lesters Arms. Brewood’s St. Mary and St. Chad Church dates back to the 12th century and dominates the skyline with its distinctive spire. The village is surrounded by beautiful countryside, including nearby Brewood Chase, which offers scenic walking trails and opportunities for wildlife spotting. We have a base at Brewood and you can reach Brewood on a short break from Gailey.

Chirk

The village of Chirk on the Llangollen Canal straddles the border between England and Wales. Its medieval castle up on the hill dates back to the 13th century and is owned by The National Trust. Chirk is well known for its aqueduct and viaduct, both engineering marvels of their time which run alongside each other.  There’s a choice of places to eat and drink in Chirk, including The Bridge Inn at Chirk Bank and The Poachers Pocket pub.  We have a base at Chirk and you can reach Chirk on a short break from Trevor or Blackwater Meadow.

Christleton

The Cheshire village of Christleton is on the Shropshire Union Canal near Chester.  The village centre has a mixture of traditional timber-framed houses, stone cottages and elegant Georgian residences. St. James’ Church, with its distinctive tower and medieval origins, is a focal point of the village and adds to its architectural charm. Christleton has two pubs – The Cheshire Cat is canalside and the Ring ‘o’ Bells is in the village.  You can reach Christleton on a short break from Bunbury.

Crick

The pretty village of Crick is on the Grand Union Canal Leicester Line in Northamptonshire. Crick is surrounded by picturesque countryside and the village itself retains much of its rural charm, with traditional stone buildings and historic cottages lining its streets.  Crick is famous for its marina and annual Crick Boat Show.  Crick is home to The Wheatsheaf pub and Red Lion Inn, as well as a village shop and post office.  You can reach Crick on a short break from Braunston.

Cosgrove

The historic village of Cosgrove is on the Grand Union Canal near Milton Keynes. The village is home to traditional stone cottages and the historic Barley Mow pub, dating back to the 17th century. At the centre of the village a charming stone bridge crosses the canal and a little further south, the canal is carried nearly 11 metres high across the River Ouse by the impressive Iron Trunk Aqueduct.  You can reach Cosgrove on a short break from Gayton.

Foxton Locks

Foxton Locks on a rural retreat canal holiday

Foxton Locks is a famous flight of staircase locks on the Grand Union Canal surrounding by beautiful Leicestershire countryside.  The flight consists of ten locks arranged in two groups of five, allowing boats to navigate a steep incline of around 23 metres over a relatively short distance.  Foxton is also home to the Foxton Inclined Plane Museum, a historic boat lift that once bypassed the locks. The Foxton Locks Inn offers canalside dining and refreshment. You can reach Foxton on a week’s holiday from Braunston.

Fradley

The Trent & Mersey Canal meets the Coventry Canal at Fradley Junction in Staffordshire.  Fradley Junction is home to a Canal & River Trust visitor centre and Fradley Pool Nature Reserve, with woodland walks.  Places to eat and drink include the Swan Inn and the Laughing Duck Café.  You can reach Fradley on a short break from Great Haywood or Springwood Haven.

Gailey

The Staffordshire village of Gailey is on the Staffordshire & Worcestershire Canal near Penkridge. It’s surrounded by peaceful Staffordshire countryside and offers a peaceful escape from the hustle and bustle of urban life.  Gailey is home to The Spread Eagle pub and we have a canal boat hire base there.  You can reach Gailey on a short break from Great Haywood.

Gargrave

The historic village of Gargrave is on the Leeds & Liverpool Canal near Skipton in West Yorkshire.  Situated along the banks of the River Aire, Gargrave is known for its stunning countryside, historic charm, and proximity to the Yorkshire Dales National Park. The surrounding landscape is characterized by rolling hills, green pastures, and dry stone walls, typical of the Yorkshire Dales region. Gargrave has a rich history dating back to medieval times, and remnants of its past can be seen in its historic buildings and landmarks. The village church, St. Andrew’s Church dates back to the 12th century. Other historic buildings include traditional stone cottages, farmhouses and the remnants of a medieval corn mill.  The historic Masons Arms pub in Gargrave is described as ‘a proper Yorkshire pub’. You can reach Gargrave on a short break from our Silsden and Barnoldswick bases.

Great Haywood

The pretty village of Great Haywood is next to the junction of the Trent & Mersey and Staffordshire & Worcestershire canals in Staffordshire.  Great Haywood is surrounded by beautiful countryside and the village itself retains much of its rural charm, with traditional stone buildings, thatched cottages, and narrow lanes adding to its character.  The Canalside Farm Shop at Great Haywood is perfect for stocking up on local food.  The shop sells a variety of produce sourced from local farms, including homemade sausages, fruit, vegetables, free range eggs and baked products. And the National Trust’s Shugborough Hall 18th century mansion and estate is just outside the village.  We have a canal boat hire base at Great Haywood and you can reach Great Haywood on a week’s holiday from Stoke-on-Trent.

Goytre Wharf

Goytre Wharf is on the Monmouthshire & Brecon Canal in South Wales, near Abergavenny. Originally built in the early 19th century, Goytre Wharf was a bustling hub of activity during the height of the canal era. It served as a vital transportation link for goods such as coal, iron, and agricultural produce, connecting the industrial heartlands of South Wales with markets further afield. Today, the wharf has been restored and preserved as a heritage site, offering visitors a glimpse into the area’s industrial past.  Running through the Usk Valley and the Brecon Beacons National Park, the Monmouthshire & Brecon Canal is one of the most remote and beautiful canals on the network. Drifters has a canal boat hire base at Goytre Wharf.

Gnosall

The charming village of Gnosall is on the Shropshire Union Canal in Staffordshire. It’s surrounded by rolling fields, meandering streams and wooded areas. The village is mentioned in the Domesday Book of 1086 and its Church of St Lawrence dates back to the 12th century. It has a range of shops and places to eat, including the canalside Boat Inn and Navigation Inn. You can reach Gnosall on a short break from Brewood.

Hillmorton

The Warwickshire village of Hillmorton is on the North Oxford Canal near Rugby. The three locks at Hillmorton are the busiest on the UK canal network. Canal & River Trust Volunteer Lock Keepers help boaters negotiate the locks. Hillmorton has a number of historic buildings and a choice of pubs, including the Stag & Pheasant and the Waterside Inn. You can reach Hillmorton on a short break from Stockton, Braunston and Napton.

Kelmscott

The small village of Kelmscott is on the River Thames in Oxfordshire. The village is home to Kelmscott Manor, once the home of renowned British textile designer, writer and socialist William Morris. Morris was a leading figure in the Arts and Crafts Movement, and Kelmscott Manor and the surrounding countryside served as a source of inspiration for much of his work. Today, the manor is preserved as a museum and is open to the public, offering insight into Morris’s life and work.  The Plough pub in Kelmscott is described as ‘a quintessential Oxfordshire pub experience’. You can reach Kelmscott on a short break from our Oxford base.

Kintbury

The picturesque village of Kintbury is on the Kennet & Avon Canal in Berkshire.  Known for its scenic beauty and historic charm, the village was mentioned in the Domesday Book of 1086.  Its Grade I listed St Mary’s Church dates back to the 12th century.  Kintbury has a choice of places to eat, including The Dundas Arms Hotel. You can reach Kintbury on a week’s break from Aldermaston.

Packwood House, rural retreats canal holidaysLapworth

The Grand Union Canal meets the Stratford Canal in the historic Warwickshire village of Lapworth.  There’s a choice pubs, including The Boot Inn and The Navigation Inn, both on the Old Warwick Road.  There are two National Trust houses close by – Baddesley Clinton and Packwood House. You can reach Lapworth on a short break from Alvechurch or Wootton Wawen.

Long Itchington

The Warwickshire village of Long Itchington is on the Grand Union Canal near Leamington Spa.  Long Itchington boasts a rich history, with evidence of settlement dating back to Roman times. The village is dotted with historic buildings and landmarks, including St. James’ Church, dating back to the 12th century, and several well-preserved thatched cottages. Long Itchington is home to a good choice of pubs, including The Duck On The Pond and The Buck & Bell.  You can reach Long Itchington on a short break from Stockton or Napton.

Llangattock

Llangattock Limekilns on a rural canal holidayThe picturesque Welsh village of Llangattock has a rich history, stunning natural beauty and plenty of opportunities for outdoor adventure.  It’s on the Monmouthshire & Brecon Canal, which takes canal boat holiday-makers through the Brecon Beacons National Park.  Llangattock has a rich industrial heritage, with its limestone quarries once an important part of the region’s economy. Today Llangattock is home to The Vine Tree pub and Horseshoe Inn.  And it’s a popular destination for outdoor enthusiasts, offering hiking, mountain biking, rock climbing and other outdoor activities in the surrounding countryside. You can reach Llangattock on a short break from Goytre.

Llangynidr

Llangynidr is on the Monmouthshire & Brecon Canal in the River Usk Valley and in the Brecon Beacons National Park.  As well as being surrounded by beautiful countryside, Llangynidr is steeped in history, with evidence of human settlement dating back to ancient times. The village is home to several historic landmarks, including St. Cynidr’s Church, a medieval church dating back to the 13th century. The churchyard contains ancient yew trees and gravestones, adding to its atmospheric charm.  The village is home to The Coach & Horses Inn. You can reach Llangynidr on a short break from Goytre Wharf.

Mytholmroyd

Nestled in the beautiful Calder Valley in West Yorkshire, the village of Mytholmroyd is on the Rochdale Canal.  Mytholmroyd is famous for being the birthplace of the renowned poet and writer Ted Hughes who spent his formative years in the village, and his connection to the landscape and culture of the area is evident in much of his work. Historically, the village was a centre for textiles, with many mills and factories operating along the banks of the River Calder. The remnants of this industrial past can still be seen today in the form of old mill buildings and industrial architecture, although many have been repurposed into residential or commercial spaces. Mytholmryod is home to two historic pubs – The Dusty Miller and The Shoulder of Mutton. You can reach Mytholmroyd on a short break from Sowerby Bridge.

Napton

The Warwickshire village of Napton-on-the-Hill is next to Napton Junction, where the Grand Union Canal meets with the Oxford Canal.  Napton enjoys a stunning setting with panoramic views of the Warwickshire countryside. Napton mentioned in the Domesday Book and has a number of historic buildings, including the 12th-century Church of St. Lawrence.  Close to the canal a herd of water buffalo can often be seen grazing.  Napton Village Stores sells the farm’s Buffalo burgers, sausages, meatballs, steaks and ice cream.  They also sell veg boxes, homemade meals, cider and homemade cakes. We have a base at Napton and you can also reach it on a short break from Stockton and Braunston.

Norbury

The Staffordshire village of Norbury on the Shropshire Union Canal is known for its rural charm, rich history and stunning natural scenery. One of the village’s notable landmarks is Norbury Hall, a historic country house dating back to the 18th century.  It has a number of shops and places to eat, including the canalside Junction Inn. You can reach Norbury on a short break from Brewood or Gailey.

Oddingley

The small hamlet of Oddingley in Worcestershire is close to the Worcester & Birmingham Canal.  Some of its charming cottages and buildings date back to the medieval times, including an ancient half-timbered manor house.  Visitors can explore country lanes and rural footpaths.  You can reach Oddingley on a short break from Worcester or Stoke Prior.

Pewsey

The Wiltshire village of Pewsey is on the Kennet & Avon Canal in the picturesque Vale of Pewsey.  Surrounded by rolling hills and farmland, one of Pewsey’s notable landmarks is Pewsey White Horse carved into the chalk downs above the village.  There are a choice of pubs to visit in Pewsey, including the Royal Oak. You can reach Pewsey on a week’s holiday from Devizes.

Polesworth

The tranquil village of Polesworth is on the Coventry Canal in Warwickshire, near Tamworth.  Polesworth boasts several historic buildings and landmarks, reflecting its long history. Parts of the medieval Polesworth Abbey remain, as well as 17th-century almshouses and Polesworth Hall, a Grade II* listed building with Jacobean architecture. The River Anker flows through the village and there are walking trails and picnic areas at Polesworth Park.  There are two historic pubs in Polesworth – The Spread Eagle and The Royal Oak. You can reach Polesworth on a short break from Kings Orchard.

Pontcysyllte Aqueduct

Canal boat holiday

The magnificent Pontcysyllte Aqueduct on the Llangollen Canal in North Wales was awarded UNESCO World Heritage status in 2009.  Designed by Thomas Telford and completed in 1805, the 307-metre long Pontcysyllte Aqueduct carries the Llangollen Canal 38 metres above the River Dee Valley.  In addition to its engineering prowess, the Pontcysyllte Aqueduct is renowned for its breathtaking views and scenic surroundings. Visitors can walk or boat across the aqueduct, enjoying panoramic vistas of the River Dee Valley and the rolling hills of the Welsh countryside below. The Aqueduct Inn at Froncysyllte and The Pontcysyllte Chapel Team Room at Trevor are good places to stop for refreshments.  Our base at Trevor is next to the aqueduct and you can also reach it on a short break from Chirk and Blackwater Meadow.

Ratho

The picturesque village of Ratho is on the Union Canal in the Scottish lowlands near Edinburgh. It’s surrounded by beautiful countryside and provides opportunities for scenic walks and cycling. Ratho has a rich history with traditional stone buildings, narrow lanes and historic buildings, including Ratho House dating back to the 18th century. The canalside Bridge Inn at Ratho sources fresh produce locally.  You can reach Ratho on a short break from Falkirk.

Salwarpe

The Worcestershire village of Salwarpe is close to the Worcester & Birmingham Canal.  It’s surrounded by scenic countryside, rolling fields and wooded areas.  Its historic church dedicated to St Michael and All Angels dates back to medieval times and is a prominent landmark in the village. Salwarpe is a popular rural retreat for canal boat holiday-makers to stop off at when navigating the Droitwich Ring. You can reach Salwarpe on a short break from Worcester or Stoke Prior.

Stoke Bruerne

The peaceful village of Stoke Bruerne is on the Grand Union Canal in Northamptonshire. It’s home to the Canal & River Trust’s Canal Museum, with displays about the lives of the working boat people.  Stoke Bruerne is also famous for being at the southern portal of the 2,811 metres long Blisworth Tunnel, the third longest navigable canal tunnel in the UK.  The village is home to a row of picturesque canalside cottages, as well as the historic Boat Inn, which dates back to the 18th century and once served as a popular watering hole for canal workers and travellers. As well as a choice of pubs, there’s a village shop and café. There are woodland walking trails and a canalside nature reserve to explore. You can reach Stoke Bruerne on a short break from Gayton.

Stoke Golding

The village of Stoke Golding is on the Ashby Canal near Hinckley, surrounded by beautiful Leicestershire countryside.  Stoke Golding dates back to medieval times and has a wealth of architectural heritage, including traditional thatched cottages, timber-framed houses, and the medieval St Margaret’s Church, considered to be one of the most beautiful churches in England.  Stoke Golding has a choice of pubs, including the White Swan. You can reach Stoke Golding on a short break from Springwood Haven.

Stoke Prior

The Worcestershire village of Stoke Prior is on the Worcester & Birmingham Canal near Droitwich Spa. It’s part-way down the Tardebigge Flight of 30 locks, the longest in the country.  The village is home to St. Michael’s Church, a Grade II listed building dating back to the 12th century. Stoke Prior has a great choice of pubs, including The Navigation Inn, The Ewe & Lamb and the Queens Head.  We have a canal boat hire base at  Stoke Prior. and you can also reach it on a short break from Worcester .

Wilmcote

Beautiful gardens rural retreats canal boatingThe Warwickshire village of Wilmcote is close to the Stratford Canal, near Stratford-upon-Avon.  Wilmcote is home to the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust’s Mary Arden Farm, the childhood home of Shakespeare’s mother. This working farm offers visitors the chance to experience rural life as it would have been during Shakespeare’s era, with demonstrations of traditional farming techniques and activities. Wilmcote is also home to The Mary Arden Inn. You can reach Wilmcote on a short break from Wootton Wawen.

Wolvercote

The historic village of Wolvercote is on the River Thames and the Oxford Canal near Oxford. Surrounded by beautiful Oxfordshire countryside, Wolvercote is well known for its literary connections. Wolvercote’s riverside Trout Inn is featured in several episodes of the television adaptation of the Inspector Morse novels. You can reach Wolvercote on a short break from our Oxford base.

Wootton Rivers

This small village in the Vale of Pewsey in Wiltshire is on the Kennet & Avon Canal near Marlborough.  It’s on the edge of the Savernake Forest Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI), home to thousands of ancient trees. Wootton Rivers is home to the charming Royal Oak pub with a thatched roof, originally a coaching inn. You can reach Wootton Rivers on a week’s break from Devizes.

Wootton Wawen

This Warwickshire village near Stratford-upon-Avon has the Stratford Canal running through it.  There’s a choice of pubs, including the canalside Navigation Inn, and the Yew Tree Farm Shopping Village and café is a popular place for boaters to stock up on fresh food and local produce.  We have base at Wootton Wawen.  From there you can cruise south through the Warwickshire countryside to Stratford-upon-Avon or north through the remains of the Forest of Arden to Lapworth. We have a base at Wootton Wawen.

Wrenbury

The quaint village of Wrenbury is on the Llangollen Canal in Cheshire, near Nantwich. It’s surrounded by beautiful countryside with walking trails to explore nearby, including the South Cheshire Way.  St. Margaret’s Church, a Grade I listed building, is a prominent feature of Wrenbury’s skyline. Other notable landmarks include Wrenbury Hall, a stunning country house with roots tracing back to the 17th century.  And Wrenbury Mill, a reminder of the village’s industrial past and now home to The Dusty Miller pub.  We have a canal boat hire base at Wrenbury and you can reach Wrenbury on a short break from Bunbury, Whitchurch or Whixall.

Great British Canal Boating Holidays