Spotlight on the Peak District, Staffordshire

One of the most popular starting points for a canal boat holiday is our Black Prince hire base in Stoke on Trent, known by us as the Peak District base.

From this central location, you can access some of the most famous waterways in Cheshire and Manchester as well as areas of the Peak District in Staffordshire.

It’s an area steeped in the history of ‘The Potteries’, one of the main reasons that canals were originally constructed and there are plenty of sights and sounds of this three-hundred year old tradition that are still going strong today.

You’ll find the base at the National Garden Festival site at the heart of Stoke on Trent.

Which canals can I cruise on?

From Stoke on Trent you can access the following canals:

  • Trent & Mersey Canal
  • Staffordshire & Worcestershire Canal
  • Shropshire Union Canal
  • Bridgewater Canal
  • Peak Forest Canal
  • Caldon Canal

What types of routes does it offer?

The variety of canal cruising routes is wide with the Cheshire Ring and Four Counties being favourites, but not forgetting the beautifully scenic routes into the Peak District with the Caldon Canal to Leek and Froghall and the Macclesfield Canal to Whaley Bridge.

The Peak District base is suitable for short breaks as well as longer holidays from seven to fourteen days – or longer if you wish!

Places of Interest

Trent & Mersey Canal

The Potteries, Staffordshire – head to the famous names of pottery including Wedgwood, Emma Bridgewater and more.  The name ‘Potteries’ was given to the English city of Stoke-on-Trent which been shaped by the pottery industry for over 300 years.

Four Counties Ring

Anderton Lift, Cheshire –  nicknamed the ‘Cathedral of the Canals’, this ingenious boat lift is an impressive structure on the UK waterways.

Little Moreton Hall, Cheshire – this iconic Tudor manor house gives you a real flavor of what is was like to live in Tudor times, with free guided tours and costumed interpreters bringing the attraction to life.

Great Haywood, Staffordshire – home of Haywood Junction, where the Staffordshire and the Worcestershire Canal meets the Trent and Mersey Canal, is famous for it’s beautifully scenic location.

Churnet Valley Railway, Staffordshire  – step back in time and enjoy a great trip on a great British steam powered train.  A brilliant trip where you can take a return journey, sometimes with a cream tea!

Alton Towers, Staffordshire – well known theme park attraction that has a beautiful setting.

Mow Cop – a well-known hill-top ruin with stunning views over Staffordshire and Cheshire.

Cheshire Ring

Harecastle Tunnel, Staffordshire  – at 1.5 miles long this tunnel on the Trent and Mersey Canal was once one of the longest canal tunnels in Britain.

Consisting originally of two parallel tunnels it has a famous history for having both James Brindley and Thomas Telford involved in it’s construction.

Museum of Science & Industry, Manchester – all age groups will enjoy a trip to this fascinating museum, with plenty of interactive activities to take part in.

Caldon Canal

Churnet Valley, Staffordshire – enjoy lovely views as you cruise along the Caldon which meanders along the side of this pretty valley.

Cheddleton Flint Mill, Staffordshire – this well-preserved water mill was founded for grinding flint for the pottery industry.  The site features two water mills, a small museum, a period cottage, the canal and many other exhibits.

Guest Feedback for holidays taken from the Peak District base

“A good short break venue, which gives enough time to visit the Caldon Canal.
Give it a go, as it is a fantastic holiday that suits all ages and we even took 2 dogs which rounded it up for us.”

“A fantastic holiday on a local canal. No need to travel far and wide when there is a hidden world on your doorstep. Its the quickest way to chill out and slow down.”“Relaxing with great pubs canal side and superb rural/urban contrasts. Comfortable boat, which was fine for our needs.  Not much success with the fishing!”

“It’s a holiday that brings the whole family together. The locks are so easy to work. Memories are made by Black Prince.”

“Took Lana out for a full week and completed the Four Counties Ring with ease, but we were 3 fit blokes. Weather was kind apart form 1 x day and the boat behaved impeccably without fault and we shall return soon. Loved it! “

“A well equipped reliable boat easy to handle. Staff were very helpful. We all, including the dog, had a great time.”

“Super boat with everything we needed.  Very clean and obviously well looked after. We had a really good week in beautiful countryside and the boatyard were very accommodating.”

“We had a very enjoyable 2 weeks on the boat, enjoying spectacular scenery which we could not have seen fro anywhere else, on a boat that had all the modern facilities and which was in excellent mechanical condition.”

“The base manager, Rachel, is very professional and courteous in her approach and after 25 years of cruising with various companies, this is a rare talent!! The boats are always clean, functional and reliable.”

This was our 4th canal trip and the boat was the best by far. Exceptionally clean! The staff were very friendly and obliging. Would definitely use Black Prince again.”

“Hesitant about a trip in October but it proved to be very enjoyable even on the ‘wet’ days. We chose not to go as far but to stop frequently and take in the towns and excellent pubs along the way. Fantastic scenery seen from a completely different perspective and everyone that we met was happy to exchange a few words. Pearls of wisdom were also offered and made good use of.”

“A wonderful few days with family, a beautiful canal to explore and what a fun way to do it!”

“The perfect antidote to a bustling modern world – on a classy modern boat!”

“This was our last family holiday before the children moved out to college and university, and was chosen by them. We had 2 wonderful weeks just being together on the canals, working locks, meals in pubs, games on the boat – a special time in our lives and treasured memories for us all.”

Astwood Lock“A return to Black Prince after a few years absence. I rated their boats before but now they are superb. I had forgotten how wonderful a canal holiday could be. This has definitely rekindled my passion for this type of holiday in general and the Black Prince boating experience in particular. We’ll be back next year.”

“This was our twenty-first Black Prince holiday and hopefully it will not be our last.  This is an excellent company providing first rate boats and you can’t fail to have to wonderful time.”

“If our boat had been available for another week we would have done it all over again.  Very enjoyable and relaxing.”

“I never thought that traveling at 2 mph could be so exhilarating. Will be doing it again.”

“This trip was a surprise 50th birthday present for my other half and it has left all 7 of us with the best memories we could have hoped for such an occasion.”

Narrowboat holiday with friends“It exceeded our expectations, the boat was fantastic, modern, well equipped and very clean. We had so much fun operating the locks and stopping off in various pubs. The pace was slow and relaxing, which gave us plenty of time to enjoy conversation and have a laugh. It was also great to see all the wildlife including at this time of year (May) plenty of ducklings and cygnets. It was truly magical. All the staff were also extremely friendly. Had a mishap with one of the pillowcases and when we asked to pay for the damage, we were told not to worry. I really cannot thank you enough for making this special occasion truly memorable; so much so that all 7 of us have decided to make it a yearly event. The price we paid was also more competitive than some of your competitors and it was great to be able to book a short break rather than a whole week. Thank you so much and we would highly recommend you to anybody considering a boating holiday.”

“One of our most memorable family holidays!  Great fun and a wonderful way to view another side of the English countryside.  The boat exceeded our expectations, very well equipped and clean.  Would recommend at least a week for families to take their time and enjoy the experience and scenery.  From NZ Family of 5!”

Find out more about the Peak District base here >>>