5 stunning narrowboat holiday routes in the UK

Picturesque landscape of a narrow boat moored on the Avon river awaiting tourists to cruise down the

Discover 5 stunning UK canal boat holiday routes to try this summer in your narrowboat - Credit: jax10289/Getty

The UK is home to over 2,000 miles worth of inland waterway routes and are perfect for exploring whilst aboard your narrowboat. From lush mountainous landscapes, to quaint English villages, there’s something to suit everyone’s personal taste.

So, if you’re unsure where to holiday this year, we’ve highlighted our 5 favourite canal boat routes from across the country, renowned for their outstanding natural beauty.

Peak District
Situated in the heart of England, the Peak Forest Canal runs through the beautiful National Park and makes for an excellent way to experience the lush English countryside. Reaching 15 miles in total, with two Scheduled Ancient Monuments to spot along the way, it’s well-worth the journey. You’ll pass idyllic villages such as Marple which lead to the Oldknow walks and heritage trail for ample walks.

hebden bridge canal

The Pennine Way long distance footpath passes near Hebden Bridge en route from its starting point in the Peak District; the Peak District is perfect for those who love walking as much as they love canal boats! - Credit: Not known

Llangollen Canal
When it comes to a Welsh boating holiday, it doesn’t get more picturesque than Llangollen. Following the 41-mile Llangollen Canal trail, you’ll not only get to explore the rich country landscape of Wales, but further afield is the rural charm of Cheshire and the ever-popular Snowdonia National Park.

While visiting, don’t forget to visit the World Heritage site, the Pontcysyllte Aqueduct which reaches 126ft above the valley floor and holds some of the most magnificent views imaginable when travelling across.

Canal boat on the Pontcysyllte Aqueduct

Edge your way along the Pontcysyllte Aqueduct on the Llangollen Canal, Denbighshire, Wales - Credit: Arpingstone

The Monmouthshire & Brecon Canal
If National Parks are your thing, you can’t go wrong with a trip toward Brecon Beacons, where you can join the 35-mile canal and explore nothing but countryside beauty, a real haven for nature lovers. Spot some of the local wildlife along the way, such as herons, swans or kingfishers. Discover World Heritage Sites, industrial landmarks and incredible mountainous views as you meander through the Monmouthshire canal route.

Bridge 114 on the monmouthshire and brecon canal

The picturesque Bridge 114 on the Monmouthshire and Brecon canal - Credit: Philip Halling

The Avon Ring
Literary lovers will love visiting The Avon Ring as much of this route passes through Shakespeare Country and is an excellent place to stop off and see the sights. The route itself reaches 108 miles in total and would be an ideal break for those looking to spend a few weeks away.

With views across to Warwickshire and the Cotswolds and easily accessible routes towards quiet market towns as well as thriving cities such as Bath and Stratford-upon-Avon. Discover the birthplace of William Shakespeare and the Royal Shakespeare Theatre, which attracts over 3 million visitors a year.

Kings Norton Junction in Warwickshire

Literary lovers who also enjoy canal-boating would find plenty to do in The Avon Ring - Credit: Oosoom

Oxford Canal
The villages of Thrupp, Cropredy and Aynho are highly popular mooring destinations for narrowboats owners and are all accessible from Oxford Canal. The winding 75-mile canal route takes you through the wonderful university city, offering a number of great destinations for a day out. Nature lovers won’t be disappointed either - with rugged terrains and unspoiled scenery across The Cotswolds. The canal itself is rich with wildlife and you may just be lucky enough to spot an endangered water vole!

Canal boat in Oxfordshire

There are a wealth of beautiful villages to visit, all accessible from the Oxford Canal - Credit: tetiana shyshkina

Have you been somewhere amazing in the UK that’s not in our list? Head over to GJW's Facebook, Twitter and Instagram pages and tell us about your favourite narrowboat routes - tag us with #UKNarrowboatHolidays

Do you own a luxurious narrowboat? Visit our specialist boat insurance page to discover more about our services, or request a callback from our concierge team.

gjw direct boat insurance

Specialist narrowboat insurance - try GJW Direct for a company that understands your unique needs - Credit: GJW Direct