A new writer for us Bryan Pace took a gastronomic trip along the Bridgewater Canal

If you are looking to have a really good Sunday roast but also that it be a little different, may I suggest, Bridgewater cruises.

We recently spent a most pleasant Sunday afternoon on one of their barges the ‘Francis Egerton’.

A pleasantly appointed, fully licenced barge which can easily and comfortably seat up to thirty persons.

The company do a number of different  cruises ranging from my choice, a Sunday lunch cruise but also afternoon tea cruise, dinner cruise and lunch cruises.

The barge can also be hired out for parties, wedding receptions, baby showers and anniversaries or indeed any other special occasion you can name.

However, our choice was the Sunday lunch cruise, the barge was moored just under the hump back bridge at Worsley Village and was easy to spot, upon climbing aboard we were given a friendly welcome and shown to our seats in readiness for our cruise.

I must point out that there is no disabled access to this particular barge and the steps leading into the main dining room are quite steep, care should be taken when descending.

Upon booking this really popular cruise we were given a choice of menu for this three course Sunday lunch, my choice was a soup starter with a beef main meal followed by a raspberry mousse and finally finished off with coffee and biscuits, my wife chose a prawn and crayfish cocktail, a beef main course followed a sticky toffee pudding for dessert.

We were offered a choice of drinks, which to be fair was pretty exhaustive considering that perhaps storage space on the barge was limited, I chose a bottled beer whilst my wife sampled the prosecco.

With all the passengers seated, the cruise departed at one o clock on the dot, the duration was to be three hours in which time we would navigate along the historic Bridgewater canal and across Barton aqueduct then turning around to make our way back.

During the journey a commentary was played at various points of interest,highlighting the incredible history, industrial heritage and fascinating Victorian engineering that went into this epic masterpiece so taken for granted in this modern age of technology.

The commentary was just at the correct volume to listen to should you wish but not too loud as to interrupt any conversations you may be having if you chose not to. I chose to listen and found it most informative and interesting.

The food was prepared fresh onboard and was served in a timely and friendly manner, all aspects of the meal were very good indeed, tasty and cooked to perfection, we could not fault it at all, in fact being a northern lad and a connoisseur of gravy, I would say the gravy served with my beef main meal was up there with the best I have tasted and I have tasted quite a number, so praise indeed.

Being born and bred in Manchester I have travelled to and around this area quite extensively, mostly by car, so it was really pleasant and interesting to see the sights from a different perspective and to learn just how well this canal and others like them served to fuel the industrial revolution so well whilst relaxing and enjoying some wonderful food in a  friendly, peaceful environment, all in all a lovely way to spend a Sunday afternoon.


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