Top 6 family canal boat holiday destinations October Half Term 2023

Top 6 October Half Term narrowboat holidays

There are dozens of great destinations to choose from on a family canal boat holiday this October Half Term.

Narrowboats are like floating holiday cottages, with everything you need on board for a self-catering adventure afloat.

All our boats are equipped with essential home comforts, including central heating, hot water, TV, showers, flushing toilets, and most now have WiFi too.

Prices for canal boat holidays this October Half Term start at £655 for a short break (three or four nights) on a boat for four people, £1,060 for a week.

Here’s a guide to our top six canal boat holiday destinations for October Half Term 2023:

1. Travel along the peaceful Ashby Canal to Shakerstone

On a week’s holiday from Braunston on the Grand Union Canal in Northamptonshire, you can explore the beautiful Ashby Canal.  With no locks, and mile-upon-mile of countryside to enjoy, this peaceful canal stretches for 22 miles. It passes the pretty town of Market Bosworth, close to the site of the Battle of Bosworth Field and the Bosworth Battlefield Heritage Centre.  The journey to Shakerstone and back, travels 95 miles, passes through eight locks (four each way) and takes around 37 hours.

2. Drift through the Calder Valley to the old mill town of Hebden Bridge

On a weekend break from Sowerby Bridge in West Yorkshire, you can travel along the leafy Calder & Hebble Navigation through the Calder Valley to the old mill town of Hebden Bridge.  Climbing through woods, fields and small stone towns, the journey to Hebden Bridge, covers seven miles, passes through 10 locks and takes around five-and-a-half hours.  Once at Hebden, you can moor in the centre of town to enjoy a good choice of places to eat, as well as walks up to Heptonstall or Hardcastle Crags.

3. Glide through the Usk Valley to Brecon and back

On a week’s break from Goytre on the Monmouthshire & Brecon Canal you can navigate through the wooded Usk Valley to Brecon, in the heart of the Brecon Beacons National Park.  Along the way, you can stop off at Llanfoist to take the old tramway into the Black Mountains.  You can visit the 13th century castle at Crickhowell and walk to the Blaen y Glyn waterfalls at Talybont-on-Usk.  The total journey there and back travels 51 miles, passing through 12 locks (six each way) and takes around 25 hours.

4. Cruise along the Kennet & Avon Canal to Georgian Bath afloat

On a four-night mid-week break from Devizes you can cruise to the World Heritage Status City of Bath and back.  The journey takes around 10 hours, travelling across two magnificent aqueducts and passing through 10 locks.  There’s a choice of canalside pubs, to stop-off at along the way, including the Barge Inn at Seend and the Cross Guns at Avoncliff.  Once in Bath, you can moor up at Sydney Gardens, a short walk away from the centre of Bath.

5. Glide across the UNESCO World Heritage Pontcysyllte Aqueduct

On a short break from Trevor in North Wales, you can reach the historic Shropshire town of Ellesmere, in the heart of the Shropshire Lake District.  The route takes you along the Llangollen Canal and across the UNESCO World Heritage Pontcysyllte Aqueduct, 38 metres high above the Dee Valley.  In Ellesmere, you can moor up and spend time exploring the Mere with its Victorian gardens, woodland paths and historic castle.  The journey to Ellesmere and back takes around 14 hours and passes through four locks (two each way).

6. Navigate to Market Drayton, home of the gingerbread man

On a week’s break from Gailey you can travel along the Staffordshire & Worcestershire and Shropshire Union canals to the historic market town of Market Drayton and back.  The route passes through the historic village of Brewood with its choice of pubs, past Belvide Reservoir and through a series of deep wooded cuttings.  At Market Drayton there’s a Wednesday market and a great choice of places to eat and drink, many offering the town’s famous gingerbread.  The journey to Market Drayton and back cruises 68 miles, passes through 14 locks and takes around 30 hours.