Crossing the Avoncliff Aqueduct on a canal boat holiday

Top 6 August Bank Holiday canal boat short breaks

Top 6 August Bank Holiday canal boat breaks

Narrow boat holidays provide a floating holiday home.  Cruising along at just four miles per hour, watching out for wildlife along the way, you can take all the supplies you need for a stayction adventure afloat.

A licence isn’t required to steer a canal boat.  And all our narrow boat hire operators provide boat steering tuition as part of their holiday packages.

Ahead of the 2022 August Bank Holiday long weekend, we’ve listed our top six short break narrow boat holidays:

1. Visit the UNESCO World Heritage Status City of Bath

On a short break canal boat holiday from Drifters’ canal boat rental base at Hilperton, near Trowbridge in Wiltshire, you can to cruise to Bath and back.  The route travels along 13 miles of the Kennet & Avon Canal, passing through three locks and over two aqueducts.  Along the way, you’ll pass a series of canalside pubs, including the Barge Inn at Bradford on Avon and the Cross Guns at Avoncliff.  There are moorings at Sydney Gardens, just a 15 minute walk away from the City Centre.

2. Cruise through the Shropshire Lake District

On a mid-week break from our canal boat hire at Wrenbury Mill on the Llangollen Canal in Shropshire, you can cruise to Ellesmere in the heart of the Shropshire Lake District.  Ellesmere is a vibrant market town with a good choice of independent shops, cafes and restaurants.  There are formal gardens and woodland walks to enjoy. The journey there and back travels 39 miles, passes through 20 locks and takes around 22 hours.

3. Cruise to Coventry Basin to explore the 2021 City of Culture

From our base at Kings Orchard on the Coventry Canal it takes 16 hours, travelling 34 miles and passing through 13 locks to reach Coventry Basin.  The route takes you through the Staffordshire countryside, and past a series of canalside pubs, including The Greyhound Inn at Hawkesbury Junction.  Once at Coventry, you can moor up to explore the City, including its magnificent Cathedral and the Coventry Transport Museu.

4. Navigate to Chester and back for some Roman history

On a short break from our base at Bunbury near Tarporley in Cheshire, you can travel to the ancient City of Chester.  The route takes you along the Shropshire Union Canal through beautiful unspoilt countryside.  Along the way, you’ll pass the ruins of Beeston Castle and the village of Christleton.  Once at Chester, you can moor up to explore the Roman City Walls and amphitheatre. The journey there and back travels 24 miles, passes through 18 locks and takes around 14 hours.

5. Explore Birmingham by canal boat

With more canals than Venice, travelling by canal boat is a great way to explore Britain’s second city.  From our base at Tardebigge on the Worcestershire & Birmingham Canal near Bromsgrove, you can cruise into the centre of Birmingham.  The route begins in the countryside, going through two tunnels and passing a series of rural canalside pubs.  Gradually the scenery becomes more urban as you travel right into the heart of Birmingham City Centre.  Moorings for visiting narrow boats are available in Gas Street Basin, close to Brindleyplace.  The journey there and back takes around 10 hours.  There are no locks, so it’s good route for beginners.

6. Travel along the leafy Calder & Hebble to Brighouse

On a short break from Drifters’ boat yard at Sowerby Bridge, canal boat holiday-makers can travel to Brighouse and back. This historic town, famous for its Brighouse and Rastick Brass Band, offers glorious Pennines walks, as well as great places to eat and shop. Along the way, boaters pass through the historic market town of Elland and the village of Mirfield, with medieval stocks and ducking stool.  The journey there and back travels 12 miles, passes through 20 locks (10 each way) and takes around eight hours.