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Experience canal boat holidays in Great Britain

With over 2,000 miles of inland waterways in the UK, the choice for a canal boat holiday is almost endless. Enjoying a relaxed pace, while passing beautiful scenery and historic towns on the canals is one of the best ways to travel. The only major exercise is operating the canal locks and swing bridges – the rest of the time, sit back and relax on deck, while journeying to interesting and historic spots along the way.
Canal boat holidays in the UK
There is so much choice when it comes to inland waterways, here are some highly recommended routes to help with your decision-making when planning canal boat holidays across Great Britain.

1. Monmouthshire and Brecon Canal, Wales

The Monmouthshire and Brecon Canal is an isolated and beautiful waterway in Wales. The only canal boats for hire here are electric narrowboats, which make for a quieter journey, plus the speed limit here is 2 mph, giving time to admire the beautiful Brecon Beacons as you pass. One perfect spot to explore is at Depot Lock, where you can hike through the beech forest in the Brecon Beacons National Park with mountain views. At the top of Tor y Foel, the scenery of the Usk valley below and the canal make for a beautiful view indeed.

Brecon Beacons National Park

2. The Avon Ring

This waterway offers 109 miles of canal and 131 locks, through which centuries of history can be explored. Make a stopover in Stratford-Upon-Avon by mooring opposite the Swan Theatre, after passing through a mile-long tunnel which leads to the Stratford-Upon-Avon canal. Gaze at the beautiful and historic mills along the River Avon. Head to Tewkesbury, and then cruise along the River Severn in Worcester.
Canal boat at Stratford-Upon-Avon
Photo Narrowboat and weir on the River Avon by Rept0n1x/Wikimedia

On the Worcester and Birmingham canal enjoy a little hard work, while ascending through Britain’s longest flight of locks. At Edstone, you can experience the longest aqueduct on the British canals. If you are lucky, you may see the Shakespeare’s Express steam train chuffing by.
Shakespeare Express
Photo by Rob Newman/Geograph

3. River Severn and the Gloucester docks

The Gloucester docks are beautifully preserved and date back to the 19th century. Head out from here on the River Severn, the longest river in Britain, which runs for 220 miles from the mountains of Wales through Shropshire and Worcester to the flatlands in the Severn estuary. Along the way, stop at Worcester to visit the Cathedral or Tewkesbury to explore the Norman abbey.

Gloucester docks

4. Lough Erne and the River Erne, Northern Ireland

Heading to Northern Ireland and Lough Erne, the River Erne is connected to what is virtually a maze of sheltered bays, as well as 150 islands. On one such island is the beautiful medieval walled town and castle at Enniskillen.
Enniskillen, Northern Ireland
The waterways are wonderful for a canal boat holiday, with many birds to be seen and great fishing, while passing ruined castles and monasteries. Stop over for a drink in one of the pubs along the way. For a little adventure, head on a canal linking to the Shannon.

Enjoy your narrowboat holiday on the canals of Great Britain. Make memories of a life time as you relax and explore the beautiful scenery and history the UK has to offer.

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Latest update: February 18, 2019