With a choice of nine fascinating destinations across England, Scotland and Wales, Black Prince offers some lovely canal side destinations for an autumn break in the UK. A narrowboat holiday gives you access to plenty of new places to visit, as long as providing a relaxing getaway at a great time of year.
All Black Prince canal boats are fully equipped with the essential mod cons, including central heating and hot water. The central heating can be put on at any time, including when the engine is off and you’ll soon find that your floating accommodation becomes snug very quickly.
Comfortable, sprung beds are fully made up on arrival, with duvets and pillows being provided. If you’re settling in for the evening then enjoy a meal prepared in your fully equipped kitchenette and relax in front of the TV.
Think of an autumn escape as prolonging your summer, but at a much quieter time of year. It’s a great time to discover somewhere new so here are our eight top ideas for autumn canal boat breaks in the UK.
1) A rejuvenating trip to Bath
After a hectic and hot summer, the autumn can be a perfect time to unwind and enjoy some pamper time. Head to the most famous pamper site of them all, the 2,000 year old Roman Baths, filled with ancient mystical artifacts and thermal water that still steams today. You can’t relax in the main Roman bath attraction of course, but you could head to the natural thermal waters at Thermae Bath Spa? Find out more here: www.thermaebathspa.com.
When you’ve soaked up the history at the Baths, then head to the magnificent Royal Crescent, The Circus, Pulteney Bridge and Bath Abbey and see those entire picture-perfect postcard attractions in Bath come to life.
There’s no better time to witness the warm, colourful hues of the surrounding landscape and enjoy the sensations of walking through the countryside, crunching autumn leaves underfoot.
Autumn breaks are great for a bit of foraging, whether it be berries, fruit or mushrooms for the more experienced forager. Plus keep an eye out for the woodland animals and canal side wildlife preparing themselves for the long winter ahead.
A narrowboat holiday is also perfect for our furry friends. Bring along the family pet and enjoy the benefits of dog-friendly holiday with plenty of walks and adventure thrown in.
3) Photography Trips
Photographers always rave about the colours of the natural environment during the autumn period. This is a great time to practice those photography skills, with the trees turning golden brown and the autumnal light perfect for capturing great shots.
Autumn is all about colour. Take some time to photograph all the different colours of the leaves as they transition from the summer greens to the autumn browns. Try taking your photos early in the morning or early evening to get the best light – the ‘golden hours’ of photography, where the rising and setting of the sun adds an extra golden bit of magic to your shots.
Plenty of routes with Black Prince will see you immersed in nature. If wildlife photography is your passion, then head to places like the Fens, where the wildlife, together with the autumn hues can make for some spectacular shots.
If you fancy a bit of culture at a time that much quieter than the peak season months of July and August, then Stratford on Avon is a beautiful place to visit.
From our canal boat base at Stoke Prior in Worcestershire, you can cruise the Worcester and Birmingham Canal onto the Stratford Canal down to one of the UK’s most important cultural areas, mainly celebrated as the birthplace of playwright William Shakespeare.
Stratford is home to the Royal Shakespeare Theatre as well as The Shakespeare Birthplace, the site of Shakespeare’s family home in Stratford-upon-Avon for the last 19 years of his adult life.
Just before Stratford, the canal passes through the tiny village of Wilmcote, where you can stop and visit Mary Arden’s house. The historic half-timbered Tudor farmhouse was home to Shakespeare’s mother before she was married.
Visit Stratford upon Avon from our canal base at Stoke Prior.
5) History coming alive
Another, perhaps less well-known, attraction is Bosworth Battlefield, which is the scene of the dramatic Battle of Bosworth which took place on Monday 22nd August 1485, marking a major turning point in English history.
You can reach the Bosworth Battlefield from our Clifton base in Northamptonshire. Cruise along the Ashby Canal to visit this fascinating heritage centre and discover more about the Battle of 1485 where Richard III fought for his crown and lost his life, and Henry Tudor became King!
With interactive, hands-on displays and a range of activities, including guided walks, you can find out about medieval warfare, how the battle unfolded and the impact of the new and powerful Tudor dynasty.
2018 Event – LES ROUTIERS DE ROUEN: SOLDIER’S CAMP
Saturday 22nd September – Sunday 23rd September, 11:00 am – 3:30 pm
Step back in time as 15th century Yorkist soldiers and their followers are brought to life in an authentically dressed period camp by Les Routiers de Rouen.
See what the common soldiers would wear to battle and the cruel weapons that threatened them. Explore the life in camp as food is cooked, archery is practised and herbs are prepared to season the food and make medicines to treat the wounded. Bring the family to experience the sights, sounds and smells of a medieval army camp. You can buy your tickets here.
Visit the Battle of Bosworth Heritage Centre from our Clifton base
6) Scare yourself silly at Halloween
Victorian waterways are filled with tales of terrible ghouls and ghosts
For a Halloween holiday with an authentic eerie atmosphere try a canal-boat break on the UK’s waterways, many of which were constructed during the Victorian era and echo with stories – some based in truth, some fanciful – of gruesome ghosts and ghouls.
For example, Church Eaton on the Shropshire Union Canal in Staffordshire is allegedly home to the ghost of an American pilot. This pilot was drowned during the Second World War and continues to haunt the Shropshire Union Canal at the scene of his crash near to the hamlet of Little Onn, which was home to an RAF airbase during the forties.
Obviously with the children off school, the half-term break is a great time for a family canal boat holiday. Whether you’re travelling with your own kids or perhaps with the grandchildren, a boating holiday with Black Prince has often been quoted as the ideal holiday for family bonding.
Half term holidays on the waterways are a great chance for kids to re-charge their batteries in a way that gets them outside rather than in the stuffy classroom. Great big doses of fresh air whilst walking or cycling the towpaths are the perfect antidote to studious learning.
And of course it’s not all physical outdoor activity; each day brings a new vista along the waterways which presents oodles of new experiences to be discovered. The canal network is a history lesson in itself as you cruise through many historic towns and cities which provide a fascinating insight to the development of the modern world.
If you haven’t tried a canal boat holiday before then imagine how the children would love the adventure of learning how everything on a narrowboat works, from steering the boat to working the locks, navigating the tunnels and chatting to fellow boating enthusiasts as you cruise by.
The autumn can be a perfect time to try narrowboating if you are new to this type of holiday. The waterways will be much quieter than the busier times of June, July and August, and there tends to be a much more relaxed pace of life to be enjoyed.
Read our ‘new to narrowboating‘ section for top tips if you are considering a narrowboat holiday in the UK for the first time.