Take to the water this summer for some holiday fun afloat with Drifters Waterway Holidays and choose from over 500 boats from 35 locations.
From lazing on the Llangollen to bobbing through Bath, Britain’s 3,000 mile canal and river network offers the fastest way to slow down.
And there are plenty of exciting family attractions to visit along the way, including the Sea Life Centre in Birmingham, SS Great Britain in Bristol, Waterworld near Stoke on Trent and Sir Titus Salt’s model town at Saltaire.
Canal boat holidays are fantastic for families, offering the chance to:
*escape the hustle and bustle of everyday life and the school run and slow right down to four miles per hour;
*work together as a team to master navigation skills and operate the locks;
*learn the boating lingo – ‘windlass’, ‘winding hole’ and ’tiller’, to name but a few;
*spot wildlife, including the flashing blue of the kingfisher and ‘plop’ of the watervole;
*dust-off long neglected cards and board games for cosy onboard evening entertainment;
*explore mile upon mile of traffic-free towpaths by foot or by bike; and
*breathe in plenty of fresh air, resulting in a peaceful night’s sleep.
Here are some ideas for summer cruising.
***Bath and Bristol on the Kennet & Avon Canal…a short break from Drifters’ base on the Kennet & Avon Canal at Sydney Wharf in the centre of the beautiful World Heritage City of Bath could take you to historic Bradford on Avon, with its stunning Tithe Barn, used for many a costume drama film set. While a week’s cruise could take you east as far as the base of the awesome 29 lock Caen Hill flight at Devizes.
Alternatively, head west to Bristol’s Floating Harbour and visit Brunel’s masterpiece, the SS Great Britain, the new Blue Reef Aquarium, Bristol Zoo or one the city’s many galleries and museums. The journey can be done on a short break, with 16 hours of cruising and a total of 26 locks to negotiate there and back.
Summer Holiday breaks from Bath start at £650 for a short break and £930 for a week on a four berth boat.
Cruise through the scenic heartland of Worcestershire…a short break from Drifters’ base in the beautiful city of Worcester, where the River Severn meets the Worcester & Birmingham Canal, is the perfect place to begin a cruise along the new 21-mile Mid-Worcestershire Mini Ring. The newly restored Droitwich Junction and Barge canals, which were built to carry salt from Droitwich Spa, have created the only loop in Europe that can be completed in a long weekend. It takes around 16 hours to cruise the ring, negotiating 33 locks.
School Summer Holiday breaks from Worcester start at £740 for a short break and £1135 for a week on a four berth boat.
Visit the Peak District Afloat…from Drifters’ Peak District base at Etruria, on the junction of the Trent & Mersey and Caldon canals near Stoke on Trent, the Four Counties Ring is one of the most popular weekly breaks. Predominantly rural, it travels stretches of the Trent & Mersey, Staffs & Worcs and Shropshire Union canals. Its highlights include: the world famous 2670 metre long Harecastle Tunnel; Market Drayton home of gingerbread; the Wedgewood Visitor Centre; stunning views of the rolling Cheshire Plains; the Roman town of Middlewich; the Ski Centre, China Gardens and Waterworld at Etruria; Shugborough Hall; Churches Mansion; the wildlife haven of Tixall Wide; and the flight of 15 locks at Audlem. The beautiful and peaceful Caldon Canal is a popular destination for short breaks from Drifters’ Peak District base.
School Summer Holiday breaks from the Peak District start at £667 for a short break and £1026 for a week on a four berth boat.
Explore the Pennines Afloat…a short break from Drifters’ base at Sowerby Bridge, at the junction of the Calder & Hebble Navigation and Rochdale Canal in Yorkshire, could take you along the leafy Calder & Hebble Navigation to Hebden Bridge and Todmorden, navigating 20 miles and 32 locks. Hebden Bridge is an historic mill town nestled in a fork in the hills, with houses piled tier upon tier. Visit its excellent shops and take a walk up the valley to crags, trees and stunning views of the moors above. Todmorden boasts fine Victorian buildings, including the Town Hall and a lively market and offers many places to eat and drink.
A week’s trip from Sowerby Bridge could take you to the famous Bingley Five Rise of locks, via Leeds and Sir Titus Salt’s Italianate mills and model town at Saltaire, with its David Hockney Gallery.
School Summer Holiday breaks from Sowerby Bridge start at £650 for a short break and £1120 for a week on a four berth boat.
Lock free cruising & the bright lights of Birmingham…a short break from Tardebigge could take you along the Worcester & Birmingham Canal to Birmingham and back, with just ten hours cruising and no locks to negotiate. Stop off at the delicious Cadbury World then travel on to moorings in Gas Street Basin, close to the Sea Life Centre at Brindley Place, city centre museums and the Bullring and Mailbox shopping centres.
Summer Holiday breaks from Tardebigge start at £650 for a short break and £930 for a week on a four berth boat.
Visit the “Stream in the Sky”…Drifters’ base at Trevor on the Llangollen Canal offers the chance to experience one of the UK’s most stunning stretches of waterway and to navigate the awesome World Heritage Status Pontcysyllte Aqueduct – an incredible feat of engineering standing at over 38 metres high above the Dee Valley. You may be travelling at just four miles an hour, but with not even a hand rail on the south side of the aqueduct to obscure your views of the stunning Dee Valley 126ft below, you will literally feel like you are floating above the earth!
Summer Holiday breaks from Trevor start at £650 for a short break and £930 for a week on a four berth boat.
For more information about Drifters boating holidays call 0844 984 0322 or visit www.drifters.co.uk