Jump to content
Strawberry Orange Banana Lime Leaf Slate Sky Blueberry Grape Watermelon Chocolate Marble
Strawberry Orange Banana Lime Leaf Slate Sky Blueberry Grape Watermelon Chocolate Marble
P_Est

Route suggestions (next June)

Featured Posts

Hello everyone. I am looking for suggestions for a canal holiday next June.  We are from the United States, but we will be visiting family in London this summer.  I hired from the Wyvern Shipping company two summers ago in August. I was a solo adult with my then 11yo and 13yo children.  Thanks in part to the advice in this forum, we had a fantastic time for our four days --we didn't get very far (and had a few mishaps), but we enjoyed ourselves immensely and met a few lovely and friendly people along the way. We went north from Leighton Buzzard and did not quite get to Blisworth tunnel though if we had pushed ourselves harder, we might have made it.

 

I would like to return next summer. The kids will be even older (13 and 15) and thus even more able to help. Though honestly, even at 11 & 13, my kids actually grasped how to steer the boat and work the locks far more quickly than I did!  However, I am not entirely sure where to go. We would like to have more time since four days wasn't quite enough. I am thinking more like 7-10.  We enjoyed working the locks, but we don't particularly want or need a lot of them. Ahead of our trip, I thought we'd do a lot of eating at pubs, but we actually only ate out once. Instead, we cooked on the boat itself. Mostly, we just liked the gorgeous scenery and spending slow lazy time together as a family. Really we just read, chatted, played games, listened to music, went on a couple of walks, and watched the scenery go by. That plus learning to actually operate the boat was quite enough for our four days. Still, I do wonder if the kids might get bored during a 7-10 day trip and want some more variety beyond just cruising especially now that they will both be teenagers, but I don't really know. 

 

Anyway, having tried to do some research, I was considering the following canals:

  • Monmouthshire & Brecon Canal --seems very scenic and pretty with not too many locks
  • The Llangollen Canal --again seems scenic. From what I read, it will be busier than the others, but still pretty quiet in June.
  • The Lancaster Canal --I like the idea of seeing the sea shore from the canal. Is that true?

 

But I am very open to suggestions. Part of me would like to try the South Oxford or the Stratford-Upon-Avon Canal or The Union Canal in Scotland just because all three of those might let us see places that we would enjoy visiting like Oxford, the Royal Shakespeare Company and Edinburgh. But it sounds like they all might be harder to navigate and it might be difficult to find places to moor. We have almost a month in the UK and maybe it is better to keep the narrowboat portion of our trip separate from the city sight-seeing.

 

I don't really know what I am asking here except advice for choosing a route now that we are no longer quite novices but still aren't experienced narrowboaters. We loved it enough to do it again, but we don't really know where. Maybe a route that offers a few places to stop and explore, but we don't need a lot. And as a woman alone with two kids, I do want to feel safe and I'd like to hire from a company that will be helpful and friendly. Wyvern was really great. We could also just do Leighton Buzzard again under the theory if it worked well once, why not repeat. Thanks!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Welcome back to the forum!

The Mon & Brec is indeed scenic, though when my wife and I hired a boat on there a few years ago we began to suffer from scenery overkill after a few days.

   May I suggest that you consider hiring from Napton Narrowboats - a company with a good reputation. From their base you can either go South down the South Oxford, which slices most pleasantly through Middle England, some locks but long, pleasantly winding stretches without any. You might reach Oxford and get back in a week, but it would be easier to moor at Banbury and get a train (station 10 minutes' walk, frequent trains to Oxford) or Heyford (station one minute from the canal, trains not so frequent) for the day. Or you could go North (only a few locks) and take a right turn along the Ashby Canal (pastoral, peaceful, a steam railway halfway along, no locks). Navigation is made easier because the locks in both directions are narrow (single-boat width) so it's easy to hold your boat in place and the locks empty and fill more quickly.

   I admit to being biased, as we moor our boat at Cropredy on the South Oxford.

 

Your post is slightly confusing in one respect: your avatar says that you are male, but in the text you say that you're female. You may like to decide, and adjust your post accordingly!

Edited by Athy

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

As Athy says the south Oxford is a great canal for your needs. Do ensure the hire fleet will allow you to hire as some stipulate two adults have to be onboard. Enjoy.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Make certain that you check with any hire company that they are OK with only one adult, I think many require at least two adults.

 

South Oxford would make a good trip, there are plenty of hire boats based in the Napton area to choose from.

Edited by john6767

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
3 hours ago, Athy said:

Welcome back to the forum!

The Mon & Brec is indeed scenic, though when my wife and I hired a boat on there a few years ago we began to suffer from scenery overkill after a few days.

   May I suggest that you consider hiring from Napton Narrowboats - a company with a good reputation. From their base you can either go South down the South Oxford, which slices most pleasantly through Middle England, some locks but long, pleasantly winding stretches without any. You might reach Oxford and get back in a week, but it would be easier to moor at Banbury and get a train (station 10 minutes' walk, frequent trains to Oxford) or Heyford (station one minute from the canal, trains not so frequent) for the day. Or you could go North (only a few locks) and take a right turn along the Ashby Canal (pastoral, peaceful, a steam railway halfway along, no locks). Navigation is made easier because the locks in both directions are narrow (single-boat width) so it's easy to hold your boat in place and the locks empty and fill more quickly.

   I admit to being biased, as we moor our boat at Cropredy on the South Oxford.

 

Your post is slightly confusing in one respect: your avatar says that you are male, but in the text you say that you're female. You may like to decide, and adjust your post accordingly!

I think you meant Heyford station on the Oxford, Great Haywood being on the Trent & Mersey.

Edited by Athy

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

To throw in another boaty idea where you won't have locks and therefore will probably beat the 2 adult thing - how's about the Norfolk Broads? It gets busy, but June is outside of the UK peak holiday time. Really beautiful, a real mix of places to visit and the gentle rivers and broads (lakes) are not a demanding place to go boating (except for a couple of easily avoided more tricky tidal bits if you don't fancy that).  Lots of hire boat choice too. Just an alternative to consider - have a fab holiday wherever you go :)

 

  • Greenie 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
17 minutes ago, Flyboy said:

I think you meant Heyford station on the Oxford, Great Haywood being on the Trent & Mersey.

I think you are perfectly correct, thank you for pointing that out.

As John Peel once memorably wrote, "I have sentenced myself to be whipped with rods while listening to electronic stereo L.P.s of Jay & The Americans". I never quite forgave him for that - I used to like Jay & The Americans, though the rods I could do without.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Quote

 

This is a canal forum - so 'other rivers' don't get a look in.....

How's about hiring from Oxfordshire Narrowboats at LOWER Heyford (the also have a B&B available) if you want to align your arrival and departure.

You can the go up the canal to Braunston and beyond OR downstream to Oxford. You can add a visit to the Thames which is delightful. Up to Lechlade (more like a windy wide canal but with very easy locks, or downstream to (say) Reading. You'll need to purchase an extra licence to do the Thames.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

How about the Ashby and Coventry Canals. We have done this with our children. A day at Bosworth is interesting and then a trip on the Steam Railway. When you get up to Fazeley Jct. a side trip to Drayton Manor Park gives the children a day off the boat at a theme park, and the run round to Fradley from there is very pretty, and if you wish a trip in the other direction gives tou a day out in Coventry

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

But don't go into the Coventry arm to Coventry , or get the bus  or taxi into Coventry , it's a concrete jungle, terrible place, the arm is. Strewn with rubbish, an ugly place in my opinion, I I  only went once, the basin is fine, but ugh, I won't be goin again. Other people say it's fine, but I wouldn't advise it as a holiday destination with kids.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
8 hours ago, Timx said:

But don't go into the Coventry arm to Coventry , or get the bus  or taxi into Coventry , it's a concrete jungle, terrible place, the arm is. Strewn with rubbish, an ugly place in my opinion, I I  only went once, the basin is fine, but ugh, I won't be goin again. Other people say it's fine, but I wouldn't advise it as a holiday destination with kids.

Somewhat harsh, methinks.

The canal system in the "Birmingham area" was all much the same as the Coventry when we started boating aeons ago - we assumed that all / most urban areas were much like that. While places like Birmingham have been tidied up by the decline of factories making things and the empty spaces filled with housing, Coventry is only just 'getting there'.

If you make an effort you can move into and around the central area on pedestrian routes - so that's not too bad for youngsters.  

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

You should also have a look at Black Prince in Stoke-on-Trent. Go north to Bugsworth or alternatively south along the Caldon. Both superb 1 week trips.

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now

  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.

×

Important Information

We have placed cookies on your device to help make this website better. You can adjust your cookie settings, otherwise we'll assume you're okay to continue.