In the UK there are more than 2,000 miles of navigable inland and waterways. Life around you slows down when cruising a canal, you can relax and enjoy the rural views of the industrial heritage era. From the Norfolk Broads to the River Thames, there is a massive network in the midlands and key connecting routes across the country, from Scotland to Somerset, meaning there are lots of destinations to choose from. Read on to learn about some of the most idyllic and beautiful spots in the UK to discover via boat.
The Avon Ring
This circuit is a distance of 109 miles and includes 131 locks and within this there are centuries of English history to explore. The Avon Ring is located near the picturesque mills on the River Avon. You can visit Tewkesbury cruising down the beautiful river Severn to Worcester then ascend the long flight of locks in on the Worcester and Birmingham canal route. You’ll also pass through the mile-long tunnel down to Stratford Upon Avon Canal. On this route you’ll also see the longest aqueduct on the English canals, Edstone.
This waterway is so close to the coast that you can even see the shore of Morecambe Bay. This route is perfect if you’re looking for a quieter and more scenic route, not to mention the fact that you’ll have the Lake District as your backdrop. The canal was established in 1792 but unfortunately, due to the M6 being constructed in the 1960’s, the waterway was chopped in two and the northside has been abandoned. The remaining section passes the pastureland of Tewitfield, to the borderline of Cumbria, to Preston in Lancashire for 42 miles of lock-free cruising.
The South Pennine Ring
This route is perhaps more suited to experienced narrowboaters and is comprised of a circular route along the Pennines not once but twice. Along this route of 197 locks over 71 miles, the South Pennine Ring follows two of three trans-Pennine canals: the Huddersfield Narrow and the Rochdale. This route features an unrelenting accent; the Huddersfield Narrow stops climbing at an altitude of 645ft – this makes it the highest canal in Britain.
The Llangollen Canal
This route is features many beautiful historical landmarks. There’s a steam railway line and the famous ‘steam in the sky’ that is Telford’s famous aqueduct. Pontcysyllte is 126ft above the river Dee and spans the valley, making for a thrilling experience to travel over via boat.
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