Drifters offers day boat hire from 17 bases in England and Wales, offering the chance to enjoy a day afloat exploring the countryside over the May Half Term holiday. With prices starting from just £10 per person, it’s a great way to get family and friends together for a memorable day out.
Boats range in size and can accommodate between eight and 12 people. Full tuition is included so if you are new to narrow boating, you can get the hang of steering, mooring up and working the locks.
All Drifters’ day boats are equipped with cutlery, crockery and a kettle, and most also have a toilet, cooker and fridge. So you can plan a picnic afloat or stop off for lunch at a canalside pub along the way.
Here’s a guide to our Top 10 day boat destinations:
1. Staffordshire: Navigate through the countryside to Hopwas
From Kings Orchard Marina, on the Coventry Canal near Lichfield, you can cruise through the Staffordshire countryside to Bonehill Bridge and back. The route takes boaters through the villages 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 boats ‘Happy Days’ and electric boat ‘Perfect Day’ can take up to 10 people. 2023 prices start at £189.
2. Worcestershire: Glide through the remains of the Forest of Arden
On a day out from Tardebigge on the Worcester & Birmingham Canal near Bromsgrove, you can cruise north through the remains of the Forest of Arden to Kings Norton Junction. There’s a choice of pubs to moor at along the way, including the canalside Crown and Weighbridge pubs at Alvechurch. The route is lock-free but there are two tunnels to pass through, including Wast Hill Tunnel, which is nearly 2.5km long. *Day boat ‘Emma’ can carry up to 10 people. Weekday hire is £99, weekends & bank holidays £150.
3. Monmouthshire: Navigate to The Star Inn at Mamhillad in the Brecon Beacons
From Goytre Wharf on the beautiful Monmouthshire & Brecon Canal near Abergavenny, you can enjoy incredible mountain views. It takes around two-and-a-half-hours to cruise to moorings close to the popular Star pub at Mamhillad, a short walk from bridge 62. *Day boats ‘Robin’ and Rooster’ can carry up to eight people each. 2023 prices start from £189.
4. Warwickshire: Cruise along the Stratford Canal to The Mary Arden Inn at Wilmcote
From Wootton Wawen on the Stratford Canal near Stratford-Upon-Avon, you can head south to moorings close to the pretty village of Wilmcote to enjoy lunch at The Mary Arden Inn. The journey takes two-and-a-half hours each way, and crosses over the impressive Edstone Aqueduct with views across the Warwickshire countryside. *Day boats ‘Dolly’ and ‘Charlie’ can carry up to 10 people each. Prices start at £99 weekdays, £150 on weekends and bank holidays.
5. Wrexham: Travel across ‘The Stream in the Sky’
From Trevor on the Llangollen Canal in North Wales, it takes less than 20 minutes to reach the UNESCO World Heritage status Pontcysyllte Aqueduct. Standing at over 38 metres high above the Dee Valley, this incredible structure offers stunning views of the Dee Valley below. After cruising over the Aqueduct, there are two tunnels and another aqueduct to cross, before reaching the Bridge Inn at Chirk. *Day boats ‘Jacob’, ‘Daniel’ and ‘Lotty’ can carry up to 10 people each. Weekday hire starts at £120, £180 on weekends and bank holidays.
6. Staffordshire: Navigate through Cannock Chase to the Wolseley Arms
From our day boat hire base Great Haywood on the Trent & Mersey Canal near Stafford, you can cruise four miles, passing through two locks, to reach the historic market town of Rugeley. The journey, which takes around two hours, passes the through the Cannock Chase Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. It also passes the popular Wolseley Arms pub at Wolseley Bridge. *Day boats ‘Daphne’ and ‘Abi’ can carry up to 10 people each. Weekday hire starts at £99, £150 on weekends and bank holidays.
7. Wiltshire: Boat to Avoncliff Aqueduct and the Cross Guns pub
From Hilperton Marina on the Kennet & Avon Canal near Trowbridge, you can head west to the picturesque town of Bradford on Avon, home of the canalside Barge Inn. And on to Avoncliff Aqueduct for lunch at the Cross Guns. The journey to Avoncliff and back takes around six hours and there’s just one lock to pass through each way. *Day boat ‘Cheers’ can carry up to 10 people. 2023 prices start at £125.
8. Cheshire: Cruise along the Shropshire Union Canal to Bunbury
From our day boat hire base on the Shropshire Union Canal at Nantwich, you can cruise through the Cheshire countryside to Bunbury and back. The journey passes Hurleston Junction and Hurleston Reservoir, and later, the Barbridge Inn at Barbridge Junction. You can stop there for lunch, or continue on to Bunbury, home to the Dysart Arms and Nags Head pubs. The journey to Bunbury and back takes six hours and there are no locks. *Day boat ‘Jus-Today’ can carry up to 8 people. 2023 prices start at £150.
9. Northamptonshire: Cruise to the picturesque village of Napton-on-the-Hill
From our day boat hire centre at Braunston on the Grand Union Canal, you can cruise to the historic village of Napton-on-the-Hill. The journey, which takes around three hours, takes you through the Northamptonshire countryside and into Warwickshire. Once at Napton, day you can moor up and walk into the village where there’s a choice of pubs, including the Kings Head. *Day boat ‘Ouzel II’ can carry up to 12 people. Weekday prices are £150, £195 for weekends and bank holidays.
10. Shropshire: Cruise through the Shropshire Lake District to Ellesmere
From Whixall Marina, on the Prees Branch of the Llangollen Canal, you can reach the historic market town of Ellesmere. The journey takes around two-and-a-half hours, cruising through eight miles of beautiful countryside. You’ll pass Lyneal Moss and Colemere Country Park along the way. *Day boat ‘Julia’ can carry up to 10 people. Weekday hire is £99, weekends & bank holidays £150.
For more information about Drifters’ day boats go to https://www.drifters.co.uk/day-boats/