Following confirmation that domestic holidays can resume on 12th April, Drifters Waterway Holidays operators are preparing for a record year for the number of canal boat holidays taken in Britain.
Drifters’ director Nigel Stevens explains, “With the current focus on domestic holidays, narrowboat holidays have never been more popular, and many people are planning their first holiday on the canals this year.
Drifters offers 550 boats from 45 locations across England, Wales and Scotland. The peak spring and summer months are already booking up well. But we still have availability, especially for single households from 12 April and two households or the ‘rule of six’ from 17 May.
You don’t need a licence to steer a canal boat, and tuition is included in all our holiday packages. Around 350,000 people enjoy narrowboating each year, and we are looking forward to welcoming more people to the waterways this year.
Our narrowboats are equipped with everything you need on board for a self-catering holiday afloat. There are over 3,000 miles of inland waterways to explore, with hundreds of waterside destinations. From pubs and cafes, to museums and nature reserves, there’s always something special to plan at stop at.”
To celebrate the confirmation that domestic holidays can resume from 12 April for single households, Drifters has put together its Top six narrowboat holiday destinations this Spring:
1. Drift through the Calder Valley – on a short break from Drifters’ canal boat rental base at Sowerby Bridge in West Yorkshire, boaters can travel along the leafy Rochdale Canal through the Calder Valley to the old mill town of Hebden Bridge.
Climbing through woods, fields and small stone towns, the journey to Hebden Bridge covers seven miles, 10 locks and takes around five and a half hours. Once at Hebden, you can moor in the centre of town to enjoy a good choice of places to eat, as well as stunning walks up to Heptonstall or Hardcastle Crags.
The 56ft narrowboat for four people ‘Westmorland 4’ is available 12-16 April for £940. Price includes diesel, gas, damage waiver, parking, tuition and first pet.
2. Travel round the Birmingham Ring – in 2021, Drifters will be opening a new narrowboat hire base at Kings Orchard Marina on the Coventry Canal near Lichfield in Staffordshire. On a week’s break from Kings Orchard, canal boat holiday-makers can complete the Birmingham Ring, taking them on a waterway odyssey with a mixture of urban and rural landscapes, from Gas Street Basin in the heart of Birmingham to Cannock Chase Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty alongside the Trent & Mersey Canal in Staffordshire.
The 66ft narrowboat for up to six people ‘Flappet Lark’ is currently available for a week (17-24 April) for £1,799. Price includes boat hire, gas, car parking, tuition on arrival, collision damage waiver, buoyancy aids, first pet, bed linen and towels. A £50 fuel deposit is taken for a short break, £90 for a week. Charge based on use, circa £10-15 per day.
3. Float across ‘The Stream in the Sky’ – from Drifters’ base at Trevor on the beautiful Llangollen Canal in North Wales, the awesome UNESCO World Heritage Status Pontcysyllte Aqueduct and the Ellesmere in the heart of the Shropshire Lake District, can be reached on a short break (three or four nights).
The 67ft narrowboat for up to six people ‘Blore’ is available for a four-night midweek break (12-16 April 2021) for £1,004. Price includes boat hire, gas, car parking, tuition on arrival, buoyancy aids, first pet, bed linen and towels. There’s a compulsory damage waiver of £50 and a £50 fuel deposit is taken for a short break. Charge based on use, circa £10-15 per day.
4. Cruise to the ancient City of Chester – On a short break from Drifters’ canal boat hire base on the Shropshire Union Canal at Bunbury near Tarporley in Cheshire, canal boat holiday-makers can head north to the historic City of Chester. This 12-mile journey through the rolling Cheshire countryside takes seven hours, passing through 18 locks.
The 60ft narrowboat for up to six people ‘Anderton’ is available for a weekend break 30 April to 3 May for £779. Price includes boat hire, gas, car parking, tuition on arrival, buoyancy aids, first pet, bed linen and towels. There’s a compulsory damage waiver of £50 and a £50 fuel deposit is taken for a short break. Charge based on use, circa £10-15 per day.
5. Travel round the Droitwich Ring – from Drifters’ base at Worcester, canal boat holiday-makers can cruise round the Droitwich mini-ring. The route takes canal boat holiday-makers on a 20-mile circuit of the Worcestershire countryside, passing through the historic spa town of Droitwich and the cathedral city of Worcester. There are 33 locks along the route and it takes around 16 hours, so it’s perfect for a short break.
The 45ft foot narrowboat for up to four people ‘Resting Easy’ is available for a mid week break (1-5 August) for £999. Price includes boat hire, gas, car parking, tuition on arrival, collision damage waiver, buoyancy aids, first pet, bed linen and towels. A £50 fuel deposit is taken for a short break, £90 for a week. Charge based on use, circa £10-15 per day.
6. Watch out for wildlife on the Ashby Canal – on a week’s holiday from Drifters canal boat hire base at Braunston, canal boat holiday-makers can cruise to the pretty village of Snarestone and back, travelling a total of 47 miles, passing through just eight locks (four there and four back) in around 32 hours.
This largely rural route takes boaters up the North Oxford Canal to Rugby, and on to Hawkesbury Junction to join the Coventry Canal. Five miles later, the route transfers onto the peaceful lock-free Ashbury Canal, which winds gently through countryside for 22 miles. From Carlton Bridge to Snarestone, the canal is designated a Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI), recognising the diversity of its plant, insect and animal life, including nine species of dragonfly, the water shrew, water vole and rare native white-clawed crayfish.
The 49ft narrowboat for up to four people ‘Mendip’ is available from Braunston for a week 9-16 August for £1,455. Price includes diesel, gas, damage waiver, cancellation protection, parking, tuition and first pet. Second pet is charged at £25 per week.
Drifters Waterway Holidays offers over 550 boats for hire from 45 locations across England, Scotland and Wales. 2021 hire prices start at £540 for a short break (three or four nights) on a boat for four, £760 for a week. Tuition is included in all Drifters holiday packages.
For information about visiting the canal network click here.