What are the different modes of transportation to visit inter-city destinations? Most people would take the bus, train, flights, boats, or motor vehicles. In some cases waterway travel is done by narrowboats. Narrowboats are the most popular transport in The Netherlands and are also a handy option if you want to move anywhere in all of Great Britain.
Most Englishmen believe narrowboats offer a comfortable journey with opportunities to enjoy the countryside. Here in the UK, you will find more than 2000 miles of navigable inland waterways. Here is where you will spot sweet narrowboats with their century-long heritage still in use.
Though most people hire narrowboats for transport, some people buy narrowboats for luxury. You can have your own boat to travel destinations with friends and family. If that idea interests you, you can buy brand new or used narrowboats at competitive prices. There are plenty of vendors offering narrowboats for sale all over the UK.
So, what are the most alluring destinations to visit with a narrowboat in the UK? Let’s find more about the best canal boat places in the UK.
Linlithgow Canal Centre is one of the best places for boat trips and visiting canal museums. Linlithgow Canal Union Society runs narrowboats as a part of their Scottish tradition. Moving through canals, you will also see famous Scottish landmarks like Linlithgow Loch and Linlithgow Palace.
Linlithgow Palace is one of the surviving medieval buildings carrying centuries-long Scottish history. This is also the birthplace of Mary Queen of Scots and James V of Scotland. Other than history, you will find restaurants and pubs on both sides of the canal. Linlithgow is also enriched with Scottish bagpipe music cultures.
2. The Avon Ring
Stratford-upon-Avon is the birthplace of the world’s greatest dramatist – William Shakespear. The Avon Ring is a canal located in West Birmingham with a circuit of 109 miles and 129 locks. This ring starts from Stratford near swan theatre and runs through picturesque mills to visit Tewkesbury.
From Tewkesbury it runs to river Severn and from there to Worcester. The canal then joins the Worcester and Birmingham canal for a longer flight. Moving through Avon ring, you will explore different species of birds and the aquatic diversity of the canal. Also, you will find traditional restaurants and pubs to indulge in traditional English fare.
3. Pontcysyllte Aqueduct
The spectacular Welsh countryside is a world heritage site for its century-long industrial engineering. The aqueduct was constructed for narrowboats in 1805 by Thomas Telford. This has 18 arched stones and castiron structure for narrowboat cruising.
This is also the highest canal aqueduct in the world and the longest in Great Britain. This aqueduct is above 126 feet above the river Dee and offers some picturesque views for narrowboat cruising. This aqueduct also has narrow pavements alongside the canal. Importantly, this aqueduct connects two other waterways – the Horseshoe Falls and the Chirk Aqueduct.
4. Yorkshire Dales
The Yorkshire Dales are The Pennines’ upland area with deep county history over centuries. This dale features an eighteenth-century engineered canal named Bingley Five Rise Locks. It’s a staircase lock on Liverpool and Leeds Canal.
In these five locks, the lower gate of each lock is designed as the upper gate for the next lock. That allows relatively 60-foot descents of water flow. Interestingly, its 16 miles lock free cruising is still in use today. This canal is perfect for narrowboat cruising.
5. Little Venice
Little Venice is on the junction of Regent’s Canal and Paddington Arm of Grand Union Canal. The junction forms a triangular basin near to Regency white Architectural 19th century houses. You will not only find houses there, but also taller mansions in the ancient styles.
You will get lovely pavements to move along with these canals and there are plenty of waterfront cafes to enjoy some favourites from the English cuisines. With natural serenity and colorful boats, Little Venice is one of the best attractions for tourists in the heart of the city of Westminster.
Other than that, you will find the Canal Cafe Theatre, the Puppet Theatre Barge, a boat rally show, and importantly its annual boating event. London’s little Venice hosts Canalway Cavalcade ( a boat festival) under Inland Waterways Association in Great Britain.
6. Mon and Brec Canal
Unlike other canals in Britain, the Monmouthshire & Brecon Canal has no joining to other canal networks. It’s a 36-mile long canal with 6 different locks in Wales. Out of these 36 miles, 25 miles remain on one side without lock-free. That is the longest lock-free stretch in all inland waterways in the UK.
This canal rises above the valley offering some spectacular views and stunning landscape. Also, the canal moves through Brecon Beacons National Park and it features 375-yard tunnel and 5 lift bridges. With pleasant wharves, historic lime kilns, and quaint stone bridges, surely it is a great place for an expedition with narrowboats.
7. Kennet And Avon Canal
This is one of the best waterways in southern England where two rivers got linked to a canal. The 87-mile long canal has 105 locks with 72 feet maximum boat length. It was built in 1810 for canoeing, boating, fishing, cycling, walking and wildlife conservation.
Tourists visit Kennet and Avon Canal to witness prehistoric monument status such as Stonehenge. For ambitious boaters this canal has a whole stretch inland waterways from Bath to Devizes. It is also one of the best inland waterways stretches in all of Great Britain.
8. Bristol Harbour
The 13th century Bristol Harbour covers a large area of 70 acres to serve a full array of shipyard services and all visiting mariners. Because of the constant water level which is never affected by tides, this harbour is also known as the Floating Harbour.
Bristol Harbour is famous for its waterfront bars, watersports clubs, and Bristol Harbour festivals. Every year in July, Bristol Harbour gets crowded with over 200 thousand visitors to witness tall ships and different category boats in the festival. Other than that, you will find street performance, live music, boat show, boat rally, and other entertainment items during the festival.
9. South Pennine Ring
This is a canal ring that crosses Pennine between Huddersfield and Manchester. It covers a distance of 71 miles with no less than 197 locks. The ring burrows a path through hills and climbs an altitude of over 600 feet. With the longest and deepest tunnel this is the highest canal in the entire Great Britain.
If you cruise through the South Pennine Ring, you will witness moorland scenery and the beautiful British countryside. The hill tracks can mesmerize you with its picturesque view from hundreds of meters above the ground.
When it comes to inland waterways and canal expeditions, nothing is more suitable than a narrowboat. You can have the best waterway experience with stunning natural views and witness the historic heritage of the UK’s countryside. Try the above-listed destinations to make the best of memories with narrowboats.