Britain’s 3,000-mile network of inland waterways flow through some of our most beautiful and unspoilt countryside. This includes many Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONBs). So a canal boat holiday is a great way to explore the countryside.
From gliding through the Vale of Pewsey, to cruising through Cannock Chase, here’s our Top 6 AONB cruises:
Explore the Staffordshire countryside & Cannock Chase
On a short break from our new narrowboat hire base at Kings Orchard on the Coventry Canal, you can cruise to the wildlife rich Tixall Wide and back. Along the way you’ll pass through Cannock Chase AONB. The journey there and back travels 32 miles, passes through 10 locks (five each way) and takes around 16 hours.
Drift through the prehistoric Vale of Pewsey to Hungerford
From our canal boat hire base on the Kennet & Avon Canal at Devizes, on a week away, you can cruise to the historic town of Hungerford. You’ll pass through the beautiful Vale of Pewsey, part of the North Wessex Downs AONB. The journey there and back takes around 40 hours, travelling 54 miles through 106 locks.
Navigate along the Pennine Summit to Barrowford
From our narrowboat hire base at Barnoldwick on the Leeds & Liverpool Canal you can travel Barrowford. This is close to Pendle Hill and the Forest of Bowland AONB. The journey there and back covers 20 miles, passes through six locks and takes around eight hours.
Cruise to the Aylesbury Vale
On a week’s break from our canal boat hire base at Gayton Marina on the Grand Union Canal in Northamptonshire, you can travel south to the Aylesbury Arm. This will take you into the Vale of Aylesbury, part of the Chilterns AONB. The journey to Aylesbury, which passes through Stoke Bruerne, travels 44 miles, passes through 41 locks and takes around 22 hours.
Float through the Dee Valley in North Wales
From our canal boat rental base at Chirk on the Llangollen Canal, you can float through the Dee Valley AONB. On a short break, you can reach the pretty Eisteddfod town of Llangollen. Along the way the route passes over the UNESCO World Heritage Status Pontcysyllte Aqueduct. The journey to Llangollen and back takes around eight hours, travelling 14 miles, with no locks.
Take a Thames boating holiday to the edge of the Cotswolds
On a four-night break from our narrowboat rental base on the River Thames at Oxford, you can reach the pretty market town of Lechlade. This is in an AONB on the edge of the Cotswolds. The route passes through 22 miles of Oxfordshire and Gloucestershire countryside. It takes you past Kelmscott Manor, once the Cotswold retreat of William Morris. It passes through 14 locks (seven each way) , and takes around 17 hours.