6 Beautiful Narrowboat Holiday Routes in the UK

With over 2,000 miles of inland waterways flowing across Britain, these fluid highways are just waiting to be explored on your narrowboat. These meandering canal routes are surrounded by lush green landscapes, vivid wild flowers and an abundance of wildlife, with plenty of market towns, heritage sites and attractions along the way, making them perfect for a sweet weekend escape or extended break.

 

We’ve picked six of our favourite routes across the country, well-established and renowned for their outstanding natural beauty. Taken at a leisurely walking pace, you’ll have plenty of time to soak up the scenery and truly relax.

The Cheshire Ring

It’s easy to see why this is one of the most popular cruising routes in the UK, sprawling across the countryside through quaint towns and into the heart of Manchester. Tunnels, locks, bridges and boat lifts are dotted throughout - be sure to check out the historic Anderton Boat Lift. Continue on up past sleepy villages like Lymm and chic Stockton Heath, and onwards to the Bridgewater canal above the centre of Manchester, passing by the likes of Old Trafford.

GJW Blog - Narrowboat Route Cheshire RingSource - (CC BY-SA 2.0)

 
Llangollen Canal

It doesn’t get much more beautiful than the Llangollen Canal, stretching from the edges of rural Cheshire and into the wiles of Snowdonia. At 41 miles it takes around three days to cruise one way and can be very busy at peak times, but the views are worth it every time.

The engineering feets are something to marvel at, like the Pontcysyllte Aqueduct that towers 126ft above the valley floor with nothing but a steel lip to one side. The panoramas from above are breathtaking, but anyone with a fear of heights may want to stay below deck while travelling the aqueducts!

GJW Blog - Narrowboat Route Llangollen CanalSource

River Wey

Running through the heart of Surrey, the River Wey is a peaceful, calm waterway that provides the perfect environment for complete relaxation. Make an escape from the hustle and bustle of London and find yourself surrounded by the green pastures and picturesque views of the countryside.

 6283567143_0c5be12ec3_cSource - (CC BY 2.0)

sign up to myboatThe Monmouthshire & Brecon Canal

Steeped in local heritage, the Monmouthshire & Brecon Canal is an idyllic haven for wildlife and nature-lovers, following the border of the Usk Valley and through the rolling Brecon Beacons. The 35-mile stretch is almost entirely rural, passing by World Heritage Sites, industrial landmarks and limekilns to make for an interesting and diverse route. A hidden gem!

Bridge_114,_Monmouthshire_and_Brecon_Canal_-_geograph.org.uk_-_1321305Source

The Avon Ring

Often described as one of the most stunning waterways in Britain, the Avon Ring takes you on a journey past pretty mills, mile-long tunnels and the longest flight of locks at the Worcester & Birmingham canal. Cruise along Edstone, the longest aqueduct on the English canals, at just the right time to be passed by a Shakespeare’s Express steam train for a truly magical experience…

GJW Blog - Narrowboat Route Avon RingSource

Oxford Canal

If you’re after hearty pubs as well as scenic vistas, look no further than the Oxford Canal. Beginning at the university city of Oxford with it’s sandy-hued colleges, the canal meanders through sleepy, pretty villages like Thrupp and Cropredy that make for popular mooring spots, before ending at the spire-topped city of Coventry.

GJW Blog - Narrowboat Route Oxford Source - (CC BY 2.0)

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