Canal Holiday Route Planner
Choosing your canal holiday route
When you hire a canal
boat you can choose where you want to go - but make sure you can get back by the finish time! You will normally have to return
the boat to the starting base. There are well established routes can you can take - these depend on the canal.
The links on the right take you to descriptions of the major routes. You can then search for boats that are available for those routes, and go on to make a booking.
A Ring is a circular route covering a number of canals, so the route taken always returns
you to the base from which you started. A Ring route takes at least a week, with a number
of possible starting bases. Popular Rings include the the Four Counties Ring, Stourport Ring and the Avon Ring.
Out and Back Routes
Some canals offer such a wealth of places to see and places to stop that an ‘out and back’ is the most leisurely way to see everything. Just pace yourself to make sure you have enough time to return to your base by the end of the holiday. These routes are the only option for short breaks. Not only do the canal features
look different in the opposite direction, but the return route gives a
chance to stop at places missed on the outgoing journey.
There are a few boats operating One Way routes on the Pennine canals. These offer the chance to cruise from one base to another, with the crew of the boat transported by road in the opposite direction. These routes are fairly energetic and are only suitable for experienced boaters.
Canal boats travel at walking
pace, about 3 to 4 miles per hour, so there is ample opportunity
to enjoy the scenery and unwind. Allowing 15-20 minutes per lock you can estimate cruising time by adding the number of locks and miles together and allowing 3-4 'lock-miles' per hour, depending on how energetic or leisurely you wish to be.
boats are not allowed to cruise after dark so a June or July cruise
will allow more cruising hours per day than a journey in March or October.
will I do?
Cruising the canals
opens reveals scenic views around every bend and the natural world of birds, flowers and wildlife. See historic
houses, market towns, rural villages, and occasional industrial
heritage. Stop at attractions for young and old, and take a welcome break or meal at a canalside hostelry.
In addition to off-canal
interest, the canal itself offers continual activity with locks
to go through, tunnels to navigate, aqueducts to cross, and swing
or lift bridges to open.