Britain’s 3,000-mile network of inland waterways meanders through some of our best-loved countryside, including woodlands and forest remains.
To celebrate the beautiful Autumn colours in our trees and hedgerows, we’ve listed our top five leafy canals to cruise along:
1. The Calder & Hebble in West Yorkshire
The 21-mile long leafy Calder & Hebble Navigation links Wakefield with Sowerby Bridge. On a short break from our base at Sowerby Bridge, you can cruise along the part-canal, part-river Calder & Hebble to Shipley. The route will take you through wooded valleys and the towns of Elland and Brighouse along the way. The journey there and back travels 22 miles, passes through 32 locks and takes around 16 hours.
2. The Monmouthshire & Brecon Canal in South Wales
This 35-mile long peaceful waterway follows the line of the wooded Usk Valley through the Brecon Beacons National Park. On a short break from our base at Goytre, you can cruise to Talybont-on-Usk and back, passing the villages and hamlets of Llaellen, Llanfoist, Govilon, Llangattock and Llangynidr along the way. The journey there and back travels 39 miles, passes through 10 locks and takes around 18 hours.
3. The Macclesfield Canal in Cheshire
This 26-mile long tree-lined canal runs from Marple in Cheshire to Hall Green, on the Trent & Mersey Canal. On a week’s break from our base at Stoke on Trent, you can connect to the Macclesfield Canal and cruise to Macclesfield and back. You’ll pass through the 1.5 mile long Harecastle Tunnel on the Trent & Mersey Canal before transferring onto the Macclesfield Canal. Then you’ll meander through the countryside to enjoy a series of wooded sections, as well as views of the distant hills. The journey to Macclesfield and back travels 42 miles, passes through 26 locks and takes around 21 hours.
4. The Stratford Canal in Warwickshire
This 25.5-mile long narrow canal connects Stratford-upon-Avon with the Worcester & Birmingham Canal at Kings Norton Junction. The middle section is surrounded by trees where it passes through the remains of the Forest of Arden. On a short break from our base at Wootton Wawen, you can cruise through quiet countryside to Hatton and back. You’ll pass through the village of Lowsonford with its popular Fleur de Lys canalside pub, and Lapworth where you transfer onto the Grand Union Canal. The journey to Hatton and back cruises 21 miles, passes through 34 locks and takes around 14 hours.
5. The Kennet & Avon Canal in Wiltshire
The 87-mile long Kennet & Avon Canal links the Bristol Avon near Bath, with the River Thames at Reading. On a week’s break from our base at Devizes, at the foot of the famous Caen Hill flight of locks, you can cruise to Hungerford and back passing through the Vale of Pewsey, part of the North Wessex Downs Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. There are a series of wooded sections to enjoy, including an area of the Savernake Forest. The journey to Hungerford and back travels 54 miles, passes through 106 locks and takes around 40 hours.