Canal boat holidays are great for families, offering the chance to set off on an adventure together out in the open air, learning how to work the locks and speak the boating lingo, as well as spotting wildlife, exploring traffic-free towpaths and visiting waterside attractions along the way.
To celebrate the coming Easter holidays, we’ve published our top five narrowboat holiday destinations for Easter 2023:
1. Join the annual Easter Boat Gathering at Ellesmere Port
Over the Easter Weekend (7-10 April), the National Waterways Museum at Ellesmere Port in Cheshire celebrates the start of the Summer boating season with a large boat gathering, live music, workshop tours, historic boats and museum activities. From our canal boat hire base at Bunbury on the Shropshire Union Canal in Cheshire, it takes 10 hours to reach Ellesmere Port – perfect for a week afloat. The journey, which takes you through the Ancient City of Chester, travels 21 miles and passes through 12 locks.
2. Navigate to the old mill town of Hebden Bridge, home of ‘Happy Valley’
On a short break from Sowerby Bridge, you can travel along the Rochdale Canal to Hebden Bridge, made famous by the hit BBC drama ‘Happy Valley’. The journey to Hebden travels seven miles, passes through 10 locks and takes around 5.5 hours. On the way, the route passes through Mytholmroyd, birthplace of Ted Hughes. Once at Hebden Bridge, yous can choose from a series of scenic waymarked walks, and a great variety of shops, cafes, restaurants and pubs.
3. See the Tiger Who Came To Tea at Theatre Royal Bath
From our narrowboat hire base at Hilperton in Wiltshire, you can travel gently along the beautiful Kennet & Avon Canal to the edge of Bath. The journey there and back travels 25 miles, passing through six locks (three each way) and takes around 13 cruising hours. Along the way, the route passes through the historic town of Bradford on Avon with its fascinating 14th century Tithe Barn. And over the beautiful Avoncliff and Dundas Bath stone aqueducts. At Sydney Wharf, boaters can moor up and take a 15-minute walk into Bath City Centre to visit a choice of attractions, including the The Tiger Who Came To Tea at Theatre Royal Bath, 9-10 April.
4. Stop off at the World’s biggest Cadbury shop
You can travel lock-free to Birmingham in just five hours from our Tardebigge base on the Worcester & Birmingham Canal, stopping off along the way for handmade Easter eggs at Cadbury World. With more canals than Venice, you can travel right into the heart of the City of Birmingham, where there are over-night moorings at Gas Street Basin. There’s plenty for families to see and do, including a visit to the National Sea Life Centre at Brindleyplace or the Planetarium at Birmingham’s Science Museum Thinktank.
5. Float across ‘The Stream in the Sky’ to Llangollen
From our base at Chirk on the Llangollen Canal, the pretty town of Llangollen on the edge of the Berwyn Mountains can be reached on a short break. Along the way, you’ll cross the UNESCO World Heritage Status Pontcysyllte Aqueduct, towering 38 metres above the Dee Valley. On reaching Llangollen, you can enjoy visiting the town’s independent shops, pubs and restaurants, as well as its Steam Railway and Horseshoe Falls.