Top 6 winter canal boat holiday destinations

We offer winter cruising from eight of our canal boat hire bases, with boats ranging from snug narrowboats for two, to larger boats for up to 12 people.

It’s free to moor almost anywhere on the network, so a narrowboat provides a base for a floating self-catering holiday, with the choice of dozens of historic canalside pubs with roaring log fires to stop off at along the way.

All our boats have central heating, hot water, televisions and DVD players.  Some also have multi-fuel stoves and WiFi.  So, whatever the weather, it’s always nice and cosy on board.  Drifters’ also offers narrowboats for hire over Christmas and New Year.

Our winter 2022 to 2023 narrow boat hire prices start at £645 for a short break (three or four nights) on a boat for four, £1,023 for a week.

Here are our top 6 winter cruising destinations this winter*:

1. Wend your way to Warwick Castle

On a mid-week break from our base at Stockton on the Grand Union Canal in Warwickshire, you can cruise to Warwick to explore its stunning medieval castle on the banks of the River Avon.  Canalside pubs to enjoy along the way include: the Blue Lias pub at the bottom of the Stockton Flight; and the Cuttle Inn at Long Itchington.

2. Visit Georgian Bath afloat

Enjoying a four-night mid-week break from our base on the Kennet & Avon Canal in Wiltshire, you can travel to the World Heritage Status City of Bath.  The journey takes around 10 hours, travelling across two magnificent aqueducts and passing through 10 locks.  There’s a choice of canalside pubs, including: the Barge Inn at Seend; and the Cross Guns at Avoncliff.  Once at Bath, you can moor up below Sydney Wharf, a short walk away from the centre of Bath.

3. Travel across the UNESCO World Heritage Pontcysyllte Aqueduct to Llangollen

Taking a short break from our base on the Llangollen Canal at Blackwater Meadow, you can cruise to Llangollen and back, travelling across the Pontcysyllte Aqueduct along the way.  The journey to Llangollen and back travels 37 miles, passes through four locks (two each way) and takes around 16 hours.  On arrival in Llangollen, you can moor up in Llangollen Basin and enjoy visiting this beautiful town nestled in the Berwyn Mountains.

4. Visit Birmingham for festive fun afloat

From our base at Alvechurch on the Worcester & Birmingham Canal near Bromsgrove, it takes around five hours to cruise into the centre of Birmingham.  Once there, you can moor up in Gas Street Basin, close to Brindleyplace to enjoy visiting city centre attractions, including the Birmingham Museum & Art Gallery, home to one of the largest pre-Raphaelite collections in the world.

5. Cruise gently through the countryside to Fradley Pool Nature Reserve

From our base at Great Haywood on the Trent & Mersey Canal in Staffordshire, you can reach Fradley Junction and Fradley Pool Nature Reserve in around five hours.  The journey passes through 12 peaceful miles of countryside and five locks.  Canalside pubs to enjoy along the way include: the Wolseley Arms at Wolseley Bridge; Mossley Tavern in Rugeley; and the Swan Inn at Fradley.

6. Moor up in Stratford upon Avon

It’s a picturesque six-hour cruise to Shakespeare’s Stratford from our boat yard on the Stratford Canal at Wootton Wawen in Warwickshire.  The route crosses over the Edstone Aqueduct, with lovely views of the surrounding Warwickshire countryside, and passes through 17 locks. Once in Stratford, you can moor up in Bancroft Basin to enjoy exploring the town’s theatres, museums, shops, markets and restaurants.

*Please note the Canal & River Trust’s winter maintenance programme will affect some of our routes for part of the winter