Acton Bridge, Cheshire Pre-Departure Information

Acton Bridge Base Information

Bartington Wharf
Warrington Road
Cheshire, CW8 4QU

Base Contact: Danny Coleman

Tel: 0044 (0)1606852945


We look forward to welcoming you!

Thank you for your holiday booking to depart from our Acton Bridge hire base in Cheshire, we look forward to welcoming you.

Below is some useful information to help you plan your holiday, including videos to watch, directions on how to find us, places to stay if you are arriving early, grocery shopping etc. There may also be things you need to pre-book, such as lock or tunnel access.

Please do not hesitate to call our team if there is anything you would like help with, on 0044 (0) 1527 575115.

Preparation & Planning


The best way to be prepared for your forthcoming trip is to read or watch watch the video on the Boaters Handbook, a guide to basic boat handling and safety by the Canal & River Trust. When you receive your handover tuition at the hire base you will be asked if you have watched/read this guide and be asked to sign handover documentation to confirm this.

Watch the Boaters Handbook Video.

It’s also good to get familiar with the operation of own narrowboats and you can do this by watching our Induction video on the link below.

Watch the Induction to a Black Prince Narrowboat Video


It’s good to have an idea of your planned route before you go, although please bear in mind that it’s good to be flexible due to the changing nature of the canals and rivers. See all the Route Options for Acton Bridge here. If you have any particular questions about the route, places to moor up and stay etc, you can contact the base directly on the contact phone / email shown above before your trip and the team will be able to help you.

How to Find Us


National Rail Enquiries: 08457 484950
www.thetrainline.comTel: 0871 244 1545

Nearest Airport:
Manchester International Tel. 0161 489 3000

Nearest Railway Station:
Acton Bridge/Hartford


Mark Lacking, up to 7 passengers

Gemini Cars
01606 594020
07966 169920

Mike Eves, up to 4 passengers

01606 550355
07899 087320


From Heathrow airport get the London underground tube train to Euston station.
From Gatwick airport get the Gatwick Express to London Victoria station, then get a London underground tube train to Euston station.
From Stanstead airport get the London underground tube train to Euston station.
From Euston get a train to Crewe or Runcorn then change for Hartford.

Visit to plan your route on the London Underground.


Get a train to Manchester Picadilly station, then a train to Liverpool Lime Street, then change for Acton Bridge.


Acton Bridge is situated beside the A49 (Warrington to Whitchurch road). This is 4 miles south of Junction 10 on the M56 and 300 yards north of the swing bridge crossing the River Weaver.

When to Arrive at the Hire Base

Our boats are normally ready for induction by 2pm, but please bear in mind that our bases operate on varying schedules, which may result in some boats being ready earlier or later. In such cases, we may contact you to reschedule the optimal time for your arrival. However, we kindly request that you aim to arrive no later than 3.30pm.

Boats must be returned and vacated by 9.30am on the day of departure.

Meet and Greet at Black Prince base

Pre-Departure Planning

Harecastle Tunnel

For guests departing from Acton Bridge and wanting to cruise the Four Counties Ring it is necessary to book slots for passage through the Harecastle tunnel if you wish to travel through in the afternoon.

Harecastle Tunnel Summer opening times from 1st March 2023 to 31st October 2023:

Open passages are available from 8am to 12 noon, Monday to Sunday. Un-booked (Open) passages must arrive at the tunnel portal between 8am and 12 noon. There is no guarantee of passage for arrivals after 12 noon unless pre booked the day before online at Canal river trust and follow the links to book passage through tunnels and locks, or alternatively contact customer services on 0303 040 4040.

In summary:

Non-booked passages can arrive at the Tunnel between 8 am to 12 noon (Monday to Sunday)
Booked passages are available between 2 pm and 4 pm (Monday to Sunday)
Bookable passages are available Southbound (Kidsgrove to Tunstall) at 2pm and 4pm and Northbound (Tunstall to Kidsgrove) at 3pm.

Bookable Passages:
2pm – Southbound (Kidsgrove to Westport Lake)
3 pm – Northbound (Westport Lake to Kidsgrove)
4 pm – Southbound (Kidsgrove to Westport Lake)

For direct tunnel enquiries please email

How to Book

You can book your passage online at the Canal and River Trust website, in the Licensing section. 

Alternatively, you can wait until your arrival at the Acton Bridge canal boat hire base and we can manage this for you, however, time slots may have become limited.

For direct tunnel enquiries please email

Included in the Price of Your Holiday

Everything you need for your boating holiday is included, such as lifejackets (if required), windlasses, mooring ropes, life ring etc. Bedlinen, towels and a dish washing-up pack is also included.

You can find a full list of what’s included in the boat inventory here.

For a list of recommended items to bring with you, please click here.

Please note that fuel is not included in the price of your holiday. This will be charged for on your return to the hire base. The average per day cost, depending on how far you travel, is approximately £18-£20


Good shopping facilities and a petrol station are within a short distance to the base.

Alternatively you can pre-order a supermarket delivery to the base. Please book a slot to the base address between 10am and 2pm on the date of your departure.

Please note that the freezer compartment on board is no bigger than a shoe box so best to keep freezer items to a minimum. The base will not have anywhere to keep your shopping refrigerated so bear this in mind when doing your shop and choosing a delivery slot. You do not need to order food for the whole of the holiday, there will be ample opportunity to buy food along the way and perhaps sample local produce and specialities.

The Leigh Arms is close to the base (next to the swing bridge) and offers lunches and evening meals.


Premier Inn, Sandiway, 520 Chester Road, Sandiway, Northwich

Happy Guests Lodge, Tarporley Road, Dutton, Cheshire, WA4 4EZ Tel. 01928 790824
Double Room £49.95 Single Room £44.95 Price includes breakfast and free WiFi

Handy Links