Chester canal boat holiday
Suggested daily itinerary:
This is a suggested daily itinerary which you don’t necessarily have to follow. Feel free to do as much cruising as you wish each day, if you don’t make Chester then don’t worry, just do as much as you are comfortable with. On average each full day will be approximately 7.5 hours
Day 1: Start your journey in Stoke-on-Trent and travel north along the Trent and Mersey Canal. Depending if you can go through the Harecastle Tunnel, you can moor and spend the night just before or just after the tunnel.
Day 2: Continue north to Middlewich. Visit the Middlewich Locks and learn about their history. Overnight in Middlewich.
Day 3: From Middlewich you’ll head south west and then west on the Shropshire Union Canal. You are now in the countryside, there are good moorings are Stanthorne Visitor Moorings and Clive Green Visitor Moorings, otherwise you can moor up anywhere on the canal.
Day 4: Continue through the countryside west to Chester. You can moor up very close to the city centre, an easy walk into town to discover this beautifully historic city. Walk the Roman walls and discover the remains of the Roman Amphitheatre, visit Chester cathedral and finally the Chester Rows for shopping and eating out.
Day 5 – 6: Start the return leg of your journey back to Middlewich. Take some time out to visit Beeston Castle.
Day 7: Return cruise back to Harecastle Tunnel, ensuring you are through the tunnel by the end of the day.
Day 8 (after 7 nights on board): Back to your narrowboat hire base at Stoke on Trent. by 9.30am.
The cruising route in more detail:
Most of this journey takes you through very scenic Staffordshire and Cheshire countryside, offering a relaxing but fairly busy cruise with 49 locks each way. This cruise is book-ended by the historic towns of Stoke on Trent and Chester, each offering their own attractions. Stoke on Trent is known as the home of the Potteries, giving you the opportunity to visit pottery factories and paint your own dinner set! Whilst Chester, dating back to Roman times, is a fascinating small city to explore, enjoying some shopping and eating out.
You’ll start your trip at the Etruria Marina in Stoke-on-Trent as soon as you have completed your boat induction. Please note that it may be late afternoon and you may not be able to cruise through the Harecastle Tunnel until the following day. Our team at Stoke on Trent will advise you on this.
Your second day of cruising will take you out of industrial Stoke to the pretty Staffordshire countryside. You’ll head north west towards Middlewich and you can moor near here on your second day, giving you plenty of opportunities to explore this famous market town.
Middlewich was founded by the Romans in the 1st century AD, and was known as Salinae, meaning “salt works”. In the 18th century, Middlewich became a major centre for the Industrial Revolution, due to its location on the River Weaver and the canals that were built to connect it to other parts of the country. Now, the town centre is home to a variety of shops, restaurants, and pubs, as well as the Middlewich Heritage Centre, which tells the story of the town’s history.
From Middlewich you’ll go onto the Shropshire Union Canal and head south towards Barbidge Junction.
Cruise south on the Middlewich Branch, now passing through the scenic Cheshire countryside. Reach Chester and moor your boat in the city centre.
Chester is a beautiful small city, similar in size and feel to York, and is home to the most complete city walls in Britain, dating back to Roman times. You can walk the walls which take you past the oldest racecourse in the country, the largest Roman amphitheater in Britain, and a 1000-year-old cathedral with Europe’s finest example of medieval carvings.
But Chester is not just a city of history. It is also a city of shopping and entertainment. The Rows are a unique shopping arcade with two levels of shops, a unique shopping experience! And Chester has a vibrant nightlife scene, with bars and clubs to suit all tastes.
If you have time, you can take a day trip to one of the nearby attractions, such as Beeston Castle or the Chester Zoo, before heading back the way you came.