The most striking aspect of a narrowboat holiday in the UK is the unique canal side view that each day offers.
Whether cruising in beautiful open countryside and waking each morning to a wildlife dawn chorus or tackling the spectacular aqueducts in Wales, this type of holiday is an excellent way to enjoy stunning views of different areas of the UK.
On top of the world in Wales
The incredible aqueduct over the River Dee – Pontcysyllte – is one of the most stunning sights of North Wales.
This UNESCO World Heritage Site offers the most amazing view as you slowly direct your canal boat along the the longest aqueduct in Great Britain and the highest canal aqueduct in the world. Designed by Thomas Telford and completed in 1805, the aqueduct is 3.7 meters wide and 307 meters long and built on 18 arched stone piers.
You need to have a head for heights if taking a canal boat across, it’s a sheer drop over one side of the boat, with a footpath on the other side if the experience becomes to much!
Scotland and the Falkirk Wheel
A huge engineering structure may not be the first thing you think of when considering a narrowboat holiday in Scotland, but the Falkirk Wheel makes for an impressive sight on first viewing!
There are many gorgeous views as you cruise along the Forth and Clyde and Union Canals in central Scotland, canals which connect the two cities of Edinburgh and Glasgow. However on first starting your narrowboat holiday, a trip on the Falkirk Wheel will offers some fantastic views of the local area.
The Wheel is a rotating boat lift in Tamfourhill, Falkirk which connects the Forth and Clyde Canal with the Union Canal. It raises boats by 24 metres and is the only rotating boat lift of its kind in the world.
You can visit the Falkirk Wheel and cruise along the Forth and Clyde and Union Canals from our Falkirk canal boat hire base in Scotland.
Sunsets over the canal
Canals were originally built in the 1800s to transport raw materials from the mines and quarries in rural areas to major towns.
The journeys from the mines and quarries of the Welsh hills or Peak District make for very picturesque routes now, passing through gorgeous areas of rolling countryside, farmed fields and pretty villages.
The joy of a narrowboat boat holiday is that you can moor up at any point along the canal and enjoy the experience of an overnight stop in the middle of open countryside. Simply spot a space on the canal side, hammer in your pegs and tie up for the evening. Grab a drink and watch the sunset fall over the waterways, just you and the wildlife in a perfectly relaxing spot!
Unique wildlife views
If waking up to the sound of a bird dawn chorus floats your boat then head north to the Bridgewater Canal in Cheshire, a particularly scenic canal which meanders past two stunning nature reserves.
Canal boat holidays in Cheshire allow you to cruise through the heart of the Pennington and Wigan Flashes – former quarries that are now stunning nature reserves.
Created in an area that was once the heart of the mining industry these two special areas are now tranquil lakes, woodland and teeming with wildlife, including 5 RSPB red-listed birds and the protected water vole. The term ‘Flashes’ refers to the lakes on the site which were formed over time as a result of the mining subsidence.
Grab your binoculars and take some time out to enjoy the views over the Flashes, spotting all the different wildlife.
You can cruise the Bridgewater Canal and visit the Flashes from our canal boat hire base in Cheshire at Acton Bridge.
You can immerse yourself into the incredible industrial history of the inland waterways with a narrowboat holiday in Staffordshire.
Stoke on Trent in Staffordshire became a centre of ceramic production in the early 17th century due to the local availability of clay, salt, lead and coal, leading to the famous names of Wedgwood, Royal Doulton and Emma Bridgewater building their businesses here.
Our canal boat hire base in Stoke on Trent is located in the heart of this area known as ‘The Potteries’ and the journey out of town is a fascinating one as you pass the factories and chimneys that showcase the history of this area.
One of the most striking sights are the bottle kilns that were typical of the industrial landscape of Stoke-on-Trent. These special ovens, designed for firing the pottery, were mostly built in the later 18th and the 19th centuries, and some remain today which can be seen on the side of the canals in this area.
You can see the bottle kilns and visit various potteries from our canal boat hire base in Stoke on Trent.
Delve back in time with a narrowboat holiday in Cambridgeshire.
In this historic region you can cruise the River Cam and the River Ouse, taking in the city of Cambridge as well as the smaller, quaint English villages that date back to medieval times.
The River Cam, immortalised in Geoffrey Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales, meanders its way to the historic city of Cambridge. The Cam offers lovely scenic views as you pass through the picturesque villages of St Ives and St Neots.
Cambridgeshire is often referred to as ‘The Holy Land of the English’ with its multitude of churches and cathedrals. As well as Ely Cathedral, it’s worth checking out the beautiful buildings in Ramsey, Crowland, Thorney and Peterborough.
The Black Prince Cambridgeshire canal boat hire base is located in the heart of the Fenland waterways at Ely.