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Holidays come in different shapes and sizes, from sun-drenched Med resort breaks to adventure holidays where you’re on the go the whole time. If you’re looking for something different, but find the two extremes too, well…extreme, why not give narrowboating a try.

Canaltime offers you a relaxing and laidback holiday coupled with the adventure of discovering new places – and if you’re new to narrowboats, a new experience.

Canaltime’s self-drive narrowboats give you a floating holiday home perfect for cruising along some of England’s most beautiful and interesting counties. Drift through the countryside, moor up and take a stroll along towpaths and footpaths, head into town to a museum, or grab a drink and bite to eat at one of the canalside pubs.

Tempted? Take a look at just some of the fantastic routes, you can enjoy on a Canaltime holiday.

On board for the Bard


Worcester Marina – Stratford Upon Avon – Worcester Marina

7 Nights • Cruising time per day: 6hrs • Locks: 44

Potter along the Worcester and Birmingham Canal towards the River Severn before joining the River Avon, passing Evesham on your way to Stratford-upon-Avon, birthplace of England’s greatest playwright, William Shakespeare.

Moor up at Tewkesbury and explore the historic town of Tewkesbury with its Abbey, considered to be one of the finest Norman churches in the Country. A row of medieval shops near the Abbey, provide even more of the old world feel.

The River Avon twists and turns through the wonderful vale of Evesham, passing small villages like Bredon with its many fine timbered buildings and Pershore, a small Georgian market town. For great names, you can’t beat the village of Wyre Piddle and Tiddle Widdle Island, where you will find the Brewery that makes ‘Piddle in the Hole’ Ale.

Bidford-on-Avon has a splendid bridge and the village is great for mooring with a few pubs close by. The river continues to meander its way as it enters Warwickshire and you reach Stratford -upon-Avon. There are moorings opposite the Royal Shakespeare Theatre by the recreation ground.

Stratford is full of Shakespeare relics and buildings, like Ann Hathaway’s Cottage, Shakespeare’s birthplace, the theatre and lots of bars and restaurants.

‘Roman’ along the waterways

Anderton Marina – Chester – Anderton Marina

7-10 Nights • Cruising Time Per day: 5.5-7 Hrs • Locks: 44

From the marina head towards Marbury Country Park with its lime avenues and bluebell carpeted woodlands. The mere has splendid views across the water to the church at Great Budworth.

Middlewich has been extracting salt since Roman times and there is an interesting town trail north of Bridge 172. The canalside at Middlewich is a calm haven, and various pubs can be found along this stretch of canal.

After the Junction of the Shropshire Union Canal, the countryside is dotted with places of interest. Bunbury water mill is a fully restored water mill with tours during the summer months. Beeston Castle, known as the ‘Castle of the Rock’, has views over eight counties from the Pennines to the Welsh mountains and the 40 acres of unspoiled woodland trails around it make for an enchanting day out.

Moor up near the Cheshire Cat pub, and use the convenient Park & Ride which gets you into the city of Chester in a few minutes. The Roman City can be walked around due to the survival of the old city wall. There has been a church on the site of The Cathedral for over 1,000 years. The Cloisters and Church form one of the most complete medieval monastic complexes in the country.

There’s loads of great shopping to be enjoyed behind the timbered buildings. And don’t forget to pick up some Cheshire cheese – one of the oldest recorded cheeses in British history.

Wend your way to Wales

Blackwater Marina – Llangollen – Blackwater Marina

7 Nights • Cruising Time Per day: 5 Hrs • Locks: 4

Cruise the whole of the Llangollen canal, one of the most popular and beautiful waterways in Europe, in a week. You’ll need a head for heights with two amazing aqueducts taking you towards your destination.

Chirk Aqueduct is an impressive structure built by Thomas Telford. 70 feet high it runs parallel with the 100 feet high Shrewsbury & Chester Railway Viaduct. After the aqueduct it’s the Chirk Tunnel which is 1,377 feet in length. Once you’ve manoeuvred your way through you can moor up and walk to Chirk Castle. Built in 1310, the beautiful castle is managed by the National Trust and stands in its own extensive grounds.

The famous Pontcysyllte Aqueduct is another of Thomas Telford’s incredible engineering feats. Built in 1805, it is 126 feet high, and spans over 1000 feet across a valley with the River Dee thundering away in the distance below your feet. Get the camera out as the views are incredible!

Through the Vale of Llangollen, the canal grips to the hillside over the Dee Valley. This narrow stretch of canal is an area of outstanding beauty. You will be cruising high above the town, moor at Siambr Bridge and head into the pretty town of Llangollen.

The city of dreaming spires awaits

Gayton Marina – Oxford – Gayton Marina

10-11 Nights • Cruising time per day: 6.5hrs • Locks: 104

This is truly a meandering route through the countryside along the Grand Union and South Oxford canals as you head to the Oxford, known as the City of Dreaming Spires for its beautiful university buildings.

Outside the village of Weedon is Brockhall Park, a part Tudor building whose Victorian courtyard has become The Heart of the Shires Shopping Village, with around 25 shops including a tearoom.

At Braunston, long rows of moored craft flank the canal, and it is worth mooring up and strolling into the village with its selection of old buildings, pubs and village store in case you have forgotten anything.

By bridge 207 is Rousham House built in 1635 and with wonderful landscaped gardens, designed by William Kent. The property is largely non-commercialised with no shops or tearoom but you are welcome to bring a picnic and enjoy the grounds (no children under 15 are allowed and no dogs).

In Oxford, there is a wealth of things to see and do from quirky museums like The Pitt Rivers to the castle, university colleges, churches, riverside pubs and neighbouring stately homes such as Blenheim Palace. England’s oldest university town has so much to offer.

Narrowboating with Canaltime, a pleasant and relaxing way to explore the countryside.