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Tom Gabrielsen

3-4 nights weekend/midweek holiday

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Hello. We are 4(5) adult (more or less) people from Norway looking for a short holiday in may. We would like to hire a narrow boat on one of the canals in UK, preferably close to an airport. Since we are from Norway, we are a bit fed up with desolate scenic passages.....but of course, we can withstand a little of that if it's not avoidable :)

We are fascinated by industry buildings(old), castles, aqueducts, picturesque villages and of course old-style pub's.  Since the time available is short, we don't need too long stretches between sights, and preferable a one-way route. It must be pubs with food along the route so we can tie up beside one in the evening for a stroll and dinner nearby the boat.

I would appreciate a few tip what canals I should go for, and maybe a rental company you can recommend.

Thank's

Edited by Tom Gabrielsen

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It will be difficult to fulfil those requirements. One way hire is not normally available - other than a few select arrangements - and none that I am aware of that are possible for a short break.

 

Of course a one-way trip is fulfilled by a ring but again there are perhaps only two of those achievable in a short break; those being the Droitwich Ring (3 nights) and a ring based around the south east of Brirmingham formed from the two routes between Lapworth and central Birmingham (a very intense 3 nights, 4 nights being sensible). There are suitable hire bases for each - Black Prince at Stoke Prior and ABC at Alvechurch respectively - which are fairly easily accessed from Birmingham Airport. However I don’t think there are direct flights to Birmingham from Norway so that might prohibit such a plan.

 

You may be best served flying to Heathrow, getting a train to Heyford, hiring from Oxfordshire Narrowboats and heading as far as you can northwards before returning to base.

 

JP

Edited by Captain Pegg

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Hi. Two very good tip so far. I can see it will be difficult to find a short ring, but the shirecruisers look promising with the one way routes. As Capt Pegg suggested, a trip north from Heyford and then return is also a possibility. The problem is, of course, that the information and possibilities on the net is so overwhelming that i struggle to find easy answers. 

 

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I know at one time Rose Narrowboats at Stretton we’re working with Kate boats at Stockton and providing one way weekend hire between the two bases.  If you only have such a short hire in mind I would focus on the boating, and leave the sightseeing to before or after by car.

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39 minutes ago, Tom Gabrielsen said:

Hi. Two very good tip so far. I can see it will be difficult to find a short ring, but the shirecruisers look promising with the one way routes. As Capt Pegg suggested, a trip north from Heyford and then return is also a possibility. The problem is, of course, that the information and possibilities on the net is so overwhelming that i struggle to find easy answers. 

 

The trip north from Heyford to Banbury and back is very rural, very nice but very rural. Two or three good eating places depending on timing. The Great Western Arms at Aynho or better still and cheap The Pig Place at Adderbury. 

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The canal looks surprisingly different when you travel the other way. And with a 3-4 night trip you won't have time to do a ring or the Shire Cruisers one-way trips. You really need a week (or more) for these.

If this is your first trip an out-and-back is better - simply turn round half way through the trip and stop at different places on the way out and the way back.

Also you won't do much boating if you go sightseeing. Unless you want to use the boat as largely static accommodation to visit one area.

Edited by David Mack

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Not too many hire bases close to airports so you will probably need an onward connection by train, bus or taxi. Castles near the canal which come to mind are Warwick (Grand Union), Skipton (Leeds and Liverpool) and Beeston (Shropshire Union). Forum members can probably suggest others.

 

Some other suggestions here:

 

Edited by David Mack

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2 hours ago, Kendorr said:

Shire Cruisers might have just what you are looking for

 

https://www.shirecruisers.co.uk/

 

2 hours ago, Tom Gabrielsen said:

Hi. Two very good tip so far. I can see it will be difficult to find a short ring, but the shirecruisers look promising with the one way routes. As Capt Pegg suggested, a trip north from Heyford and then return is also a possibility. The problem is, of course, that the information and possibilities on the net is so overwhelming that i struggle to find easy answers. 

 

These were the only one way hires that was aware were possible when I posted earlier but note that they are all at least seven night trips and are arduous routes.

1 hour ago, john6767 said:

I know at one time Rose Narrowboats at Stretton we’re working with Kate boats at Stockton and providing one way weekend hire between the two bases.  If you only have such a short hire in mind I would focus on the boating, and leave the sightseeing to before or after by car.

I’ll second the advice to focus on the boating and the immediate canal environment during the hire period, particularly if you do take a short break.

 

I’ve done both weekend and midweek hire from Kate Boats at Stockton Top. On the weekend we went to Norton Junction, Rugby arm and up most of Napton flight. For the midweek we went to the bottom of Foxton and back and included Welford. That was excellent but many would consider that a seven night trip.

 

JP

Edited by Captain Pegg

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4 hours ago, David Mack said:

Castles near the canal which come to mind are [...] Skipton (Leeds and Liverpool)

Near it? There's lumps of it IN the canal! :D

 

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Hi.

 

Strange, I have sent inquiry's to Rose, Shire and UK Canal Boat Holiday but no one answer!

That's a bad sign. Either they have too much business (forget a good price) or their out !

On the net, I have seen so many places along the canals I like to visit, but they are of course not near each other. Not even along the same canal.

I love the surroundings in the Bath City area, the authentic 1800 docs in Gloucester, the dramatic aqueduct  Pontcysyllte and the pumpstation at Hawkesbury Junction.

 

One thing I'm a bit confused about. People tend to be worried about an extra hour here and 30min extra there. In my world (Sailing), we talk about 2-3 days more or less from one destination to another :)

 

Keep me posted with good tip.

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I was going to pass on this one ('impossible' to meet all the requirements) but a sudden thought, how's about-

Shropshire Union  from Chas Hardern's to the waterways museum and return.  Chester is worth a visit and so is the museum

Or

The Thames above Oxford. Worth spending a day in the city itself, especially in term time when (some) colleges are open. Plenty of pubs. Then boat up to Lechlade and back - lost of scenery and the occasional pub.

 

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@Rose Narrowboats are on the forum. Did you use the forms on their website? The hire base won’t be operating (much) at this time of year and although the boatyard will be working the office may not be staffed every day.

 

There’s a mafia on the canals that will get very upset if you are seen to be in a rush or working an overly long day. In reality you can go much further than the routes that hire bases recommend but you have to accept you’ll be working long days and have limited stops. You also run the risk that if you get delayed you’ll have to do even longer days. I did years of hire trips on that basis. Some people will however insist that you can’t possibly be enjoying yourself. You can’t really rush in any case, you only get further by going longer hours. You can’t go more days on a hire boat!

 

If you hire from Rose you can visit Hawkesbury Junction - the pumping house is derelict and not accessible - and the Greyhound pub which is always recommended when passing. Then either head on or perhaps turn round back past Rose and visit Braunston and Napton. Admiral Nelson at Braunston (half way up the locks) and the Folly Inn (at Napton bottom lock) are well known canal side pubs. Not many locks possible from Rose on a short break however it is an archetypal English canal environment though. The section from Braunston to Napton is particularly good agricultural countryside and on a fine day is a beautiful cruise.

 

Rose’s website mentions the Harvester and Royal Oak (now the Waterside??) at Rugby. They wouldn’t be my recommendations.

 

JP

 

 

Edited by Captain Pegg

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28 minutes ago, OldGoat said:

I was going to pass on this one ('impossible' to meet all the requirements) but a sudden thought, how's about-

Shropshire Union  from Chas Hardern's to the waterways museum and return.  Chester is worth a visit and so is the museum

Or

The Thames above Oxford. Worth spending a day in the city itself, especially in term time when (some) colleges are open. Plenty of pubs. Then boat up to Lechlade and back - lost of scenery and the occasional pub.

 

Your Chester idea is bang on!  There's a castle, a cathedral and 'Roman stuff' in Chester.  You'll pass Beeston Castle too.  Some industry heading into Chester.  Some interesting canal features too:  the museum at Ellesmere port and docks and locks down to the ship canal etc.  Works well for 3-4 nights.  There are other hire bases nearby too.

Edited by doratheexplorer

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Or Andersen Boats from Middlewich.  Chester is one of their suggested short break destinations, although you won't get as far as Ellesmere Port.

 http://m.andersenboats.com/chester.php

I believe the company has a Scandinavian connection (as reflected in the spelling of their name). I have certainly met a number of Scandinavian customers on their boats in the past.

Edited by David Mack

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26 minutes ago, David Mack said:

Or Andersen Boats from Middlewich.  Chester is one of their suggested short break destinations, although you won't get as far as Ellesmere Port.

 http://m.andersenboats.com/chester.php

I believe the company has a Scandinavian connection (as reflected in the spelling of their name). I have certainly met a number of Scandinavian customers on their boats in the past.

Middlewich to Chester in a day’ish (3 day hire) or a day and a half‘ish (4 day hire),  that sounds a bit of a push to me.  If going to Chester is the big attraction how about Anglo Welsh at Bunbury.

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11 minutes ago, john6767 said:

Middlewich to Chester in a day’ish (3 day hire) or a day and a half‘ish (4 day hire),  that sounds a bit of a push to me.  If going to Chester is the big attraction how about Anglo Welsh at Bunbury.

Yes definitely need long days for that. And it's a lovely run but it's all typical English countryside. Not what our Norwegian pals want. 

 

 

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4 hours ago, john6767 said:

Middlewich to Chester in a day’ish (3 day hire) or a day and a half‘ish (4 day hire),  that sounds a bit of a push to me.  If going to Chester is the big attraction how about Anglo Welsh at Bunbury.

I was only going by the suggested routes on their website.

4 hours ago, cougie said:

Yes definitely need long days for that. And it's a lovely run but it's all typical English countryside. Not what our Norwegian pals want. 

 

 

 

In a 3-4 day trip our Norwegian pals cannot possibly experience all the things set out in the OP.

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On 21/01/2020 at 14:24, Tom Gabrielsen said:

We are fascinated by industry buildings(old), castles, aqueducts, picturesque villages and of course old-style pub's.  Since the time available is short, we don't need too long stretches between sights, and preferable a one-way route. It must be pubs with food along the route.

Maybe Kate Boats https://www.kateboats.co.uk/weekend-cruising-routes/  could be a contender with a 4 night mid-week break between Warwick and Stockton https://www.waterwaysholidays.com/cgi-bin/webdata_pro.pl

Warwick has a castle, an aqueduct over the Avon plus the Cape of Good Hope pub. Leamington has Georgian architecture and some industrial buildings, picturesque Long Itchington  has 7 village pubs including 3 canalside and Stockton has a well behaved flight of double locks to or from the Boat Inn. Enjoy.

 

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Hi.

Ohhh, a lot's of good tip. The Chester sound nice OldGoat.

Last night I watched one episode of the "Great Canal Journeys" with Tim & Pru navigating the Leeds to Liverpool. That's something I would like. Old mills and occasionally city locations AND beutiful rural landscape.

But, and I have really been working this, the transfer from Norway to the westcoast or the middle of England is difficult without change of planes and/or long drives.

I can go directly to Liverpool from Oslo, but that is with SAS, and very expensive. For a short break it make no sense to spend 12 hours each way travelling.

So, when all come together, I think I have decided to try the Oxford option(it's a trade-off regarding my hang to industrial history). And, it's not really my trip, it's a 30-year present to my oldest son. I can fly directly to Stanstead (Ryanair), take a Limo service (1h40m) to Oxford. Two nights in Oxford with a full day between(always wanted to visit that city). We can enter the boat a short walk from the hotel and sail up and down the Oxford canal. Deliver the boat at 0930 and have just enough time for breakfast before heading to the airport for our 1400 flight home.

Thanks everybody.

 

By the way, the Shire have just given me an answer on my inquiry (same company as Tim&Pru used in the program I noticed) And, after seeing another two episodes, I realize that I'm not totally without canal experience. I have sailed both the Crinnan and the Caledonian on our way back from crossing the atlantic on our sailboat a few years ago.

Edited by Tom Gabrielsen

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Thinks -

There's a coach service from Stanstead to Oxford (the bus station is near the end of the canal....) cheaper than a limo.

If you're coming in term time and like classical / early music, you're welcome to attend Choral Evensong at several colleges in the week. at New or Queen's - and others you can sit behind the choir and soak up the music.

If wandering around might I suggest a visit to the Pitt Rivers museun (behind the Natural History) - it's different!.

Use the side streets as much as possible - the main streets are full of tourists.

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Hello OldGoat.

Thank you for the tips. Both the music venue and the bus tip. We will arrive late at Stanstead, and the coach use too long time. It's a big difference arriving the hotel 0100 than 0300 in the middle of the night.

The train is also out of the question. Faster than coach but insane expensive. And the last train leave Stanstead at 2200(we land at 2220). A return ticket with train for 5 is the same as I pay for the narrow boat rental. Train commuters in UK must be very rich people...and I'm from Norway if you know what I mean. The trains are know outsourced to private company's in Norway these days, so it will not be long before we are in the same place as you regarding prices and a chaotic ticket order situation. 

Side streets of-course...wont be taken for a tourist :)

I have watched a few videos on youtube from the Oxford Canal. Looks nice, a bit overgrown though.

 

 

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On 22/01/2020 at 12:21, Tom Gabrielsen said:

Hi.

 

Strange, I have sent inquiry's to Rose, Shire and UK Canal Boat Holiday but no one answer!

That's a bad sign. Either they have too much business (forget a good price) or their out !

On the net, I have seen so many places along the canals I like to visit, but they are of course not near each other. Not even along the same canal.

I love the surroundings in the Bath City area, the authentic 1800 docs in Gloucester, the dramatic aqueduct  Pontcysyllte and the pumpstation at Hawkesbury Junction.

 

One thing I'm a bit confused about. People tend to be worried about an extra hour here and 30min extra there. In my world (Sailing), we talk about 2-3 days more or less from one destination to another :)

 

Keep me posted with good tip.

Hi Tom,

 

We'd be happy to see if we can help - but I can't find any message from you.

 

Best regards,

 

Anthony

Rose Narrowboats Ltd

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Hi Rose

 

Thanks for contacting me here on the forum. I used the form on your page. However, I have decided to go for a short break on the Oxford canal. It has much to do with transfer to and from Norway. It make no sense with flight change somewhere in europe and 3 hours by car for a short weekend. If this is something we will do again, your trips is definitively interesting.

 

Best Regards Tom

Edited by Tom Gabrielsen

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