If you had a friend from overseas coming to visit you on your narrowboat holiday, where would you take them first?
Here’s our list – do you agree?
Any overseas visitor to the UK will surely be looking for the full-on traditional ‘olde England’ experience. The old cosy pubs, the towering cathedrals, the quaint shops and little cobbled back streets. We say, head straight to Oxford!
Oxford often feels familiar because it is used as the backdrop for so many films and TV programmes, most famously Inspector More and Harry Potter. The world famous University buildings include Christ Church College, Wadham College and Magdalene College. Other interesting sights are the Ashmolean Museum, Carfax Tower, Botanic Gardens – the oldest in Britain – and Sheldonian Theatre.
Cruising to Oxford on a narrowboat also means you take in some wonderfully named villages including Thrupp, Lower Heyford and Shipton-on-Cherwell where you’ll find traditional stone built houses, the afore-mentioned cosy pubs, ancient churches and village greens that date back centuries.
You can visit Oxford from our Napton narrowboat hire base, located at the head of the Oxford Canal.
5) Leek, Staffordshire
Apart from being able to snigger at the name, Leek makes our list due to its location at the end of the Leek and Caldon Canal, on the southwestern edge of the Peak District. It stands on a hill in a large bend in the River Churnet and is locally known as ‘The Queen of the Moorlands’.
The Caldon Canal is arguably one of the most beautiful and quiet canals in the UK, and narrow boating along this route gives you the chance to see a fascinating mix of the UK’s industrial heritage and traditional countryside.
You can visit Leek from our Peak District canal base.
4) Cadbury World
Ok, so we’ve included this because we are big fans of chocolate. And Cadbury’s in particular. So ignoring the fact that the company was recently taken over by a big American corporate, we’ll tell you why this is a great place to visit.
Cadbury World has become one of Birmingham’s largest leisure attractions – welcoming over 500,000 visitors each year, and offering an education programme which links directly back to the educational advancements of the company’s original founding fathers. On the visit you can explore the 14 zones that tell the story of chocolate and the Cadbury business through various static sets, animatronics, video presentations, multi-sensory cinema, interactive displays and activities, and staff demonstrations.
You can visit Cadbury World from our Stoke Prior base in Worcestershire.
The birthplace of playwright William Shakespeare has to go near the top of the list, surely he’s the most famous Briton who ever lived?
If you’re a first time visitor to the UK then join the Avon Ring and cruise to Stratford where you can pay homage to some of the UK’s most important cultural areas, such as the Royal Shakespeare Theatre and Shakespeare’s house. You can visit Stratford-Upon-Avon from our Stoke Prior base.
2) Pontcysyllte Aqueduct, Wales
The breathtaking Pontcysyllte Aqueduct is located in the beautiful Welsh countryside and a World Heritage Site. It’s a fantastic spot to witness a pioneering feat of engineering that amazed the world back in 1801, designed by the famous engineer Thomas Telford.
You can reach the aqueduct from our Chirk canal boat base.
1) Linlithgow, Scotland
The name Linlithgow is said to mean “loch in a damp hollow” from llyn (loch), laith (damp) and cau (a hollow), which doesn’t really do much to recommend it.
However, delve a little deeper and you’ll discover why this becomes a fascinating place to visit.
Linlithgow is an ancient royal burgh located near the Union Canal, which lies south of two famous landmarks, Linlithgow Palace and Linlithgow Loch.
Head first to the remains of Linlithgow Palace, the birthplace of James V and Mary, Queen of Scots, and probably Scotland’s best surviving late medieval secular building. Pack a picnic as the grounds are home to a beautiful public park known as The Peel, where you can relax with your rug and sandwiches
After your lunch you’ll be thirsty to make your way into town where you’ll find the High Street which is particularly famous for it’s high number of ancient taverns as well as many historic buildings such as the Cross Well of 1807 and the Town House dating back to 1668.
If you’re feeling sporty then head over to Linlithgow lock as it’s popular for water sports and is also a notable spot for bird watching. It is three quarters of a mile long and contains a fishery.
You can visit Linlithgow from our Falkirk canal boat base in Scotland.