canal boat holiday

Canal Boat Holidays

A canal boat holiday is the perfect getaway

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Blackwater on the Llangollen canal to start you Canal boat holidays.

< Back to Blackwater Meadow Marina.

Cruise 1 : Suggested route for a short break canal boat holiday.

Most people cruise westwards towards Llangollen, on the first day you probably will not get very far, so you can moor up on the Canal arm that leads to the town of Ellesmere- the Ellesmere Branch, and sample one of Ellesmere's delightful pubs or restaurants for the evening. Ellesmere is a busy 18th century market town. This area is known as the mini Lake District, so it may be worth taking a look at Ellesmere's Meres (lakes).

The next day head towards Chirk. The beautiful countryside continues, this part of the Canal is very rural, you will presently pass the junction with the Montgomery Canal on your left, 7 miles of this is navigable, up to Maesbury, and if you want to cruise along here you have to book with the Lock keeper the day before. (Ask at Blackwater reception before you leave).

If you have made good headway, you may want to spend your 1st Night near the Maestermyn Marina at Whittington, there is a Pub here- The Narrow Boat Inn The marina is 2 cruising hours from Blackwater Meadow marina.

Shortly after Bridge 11, you will come to your only locks on this part of the Canal. There are 2 locks quite close to each other.

A bit further on, after Bridge 15, there are some very posh moorings outside the Lion Keys Pub & restaurant, just before you go under the A5 road. There are 20 moorings for customers.

(For those on a short break, spend the 2nd night near the Pontcysyllte Aqueduct, and the 3rd night back at the Lion keys Pub.)

At Bridge 21 you can moor up and walk to the Bridge Inn, the last pub in England, before you cross the Chirk Aqueduct into Wales. The Aqueduct is 70 feet high and was built between 1796 and 1801 by Thomas Telford & William Jessop, it is a practise run before you get to the Pontcysyllte Aqueduct, but it is very beautiful in itself, and crosses over the River Ceiriog. It is not as frightening as you would think, with spectacular views of the River cascading down the valley below, and the Chirk Viaduct above you.

Soon you will come to the beginning of the Chirk Tunnel, which at over 400 metres is one of the longest tunnels on the waterways system to have a towpath running through it. After you have emerged from the tunnel you might want to moor up & take a look at Chirk, or get some supplies. The areas main visitor attraction is Chirk castle (NT), a magnificent 700 year old fortress built by Edward the 1st.

Once the canal turns away from the railway you will find the Offas Dyke path following the Canal. There is a very quaint lift bridge to negotiate at Froncysylite, you will have to lift it up using your windlass key.

If you want to build up your nerve before crossing the Pontcysyllte Aqueduct, you can stop at Froncysyllte for the night, there are 2 pubs, the Britannia Inn and the Aqueduct Inn.

The Pontcysyllte Aqueduct was also built by Thomas Telford and is 130 feet high and 1000 feet across the Dee valley. It is an amazing and spectacular feat of engineering. The views are breathtaking, and there is a walkway on your right. The River Dee thunders away far beneath you.

You immediately come into Trevor Wharf, & you may want to use some of the facilities at Trevor Wharf, water, pump out, chandlery shop etc.before heading Llangollen.

Those on a 3 night short break should turn around here, those staying for longer can probably get as far as Llangollen, you should have found that it has taken about 8 hours to get here from Blackwater.

It takes about 3 hours to navigate to Llangollen, and is a lovely route, through the Welsh valleys.

You pass by another pub at bridge 41, the Sun Trevor, in case you are in need of some refreshment.

You will see the mysterious ruins of Dinas Bran castle on top of a very steep hill, and you know that you are not far away now. You eventually emerge into Llangollen and if the ticket office is open you can purchase a ticket for about £5 to moor overnight in the Canal basin, or there are some moorings on the left where you can tie up for a few hours.

Llangollen is very pretty, with the River Dee cascading through the town, with lots of white water crashing through the rocky river bed. If you are lucky you will see the steam engines as you walk into the town, at the Llangollen Steam railway, and it is well worth having a ride on one. It will take you to Carrog & back, some 8 miles of some of the most stunning scenery in Britain. There are many craft & souvenir shops & even some selling gorgeous chocolate & fudge, plus cafes, bars, tearooms & restaurants.

If you tire of Llangollen & want some exercise after being on a boat for a few days, take a walk to the beautiful Horseshoe falls, just a couple of miles along the towpath to the end of the canal. On the way back stop off for a pub lunch at the Chainbridge Hotel, where you can enjoy spectacular views of the River Dee beside you. You can take a detour near here as just off the A542 is the ruins of the beautiful Valle Crucis Abbey, one of the most complete Cistercian abbeys in Wales.

Then getting back on the towpath again, you pass a very quaint Canal & motor Museum, which is worth a look. Back in Llangollen there is more to see & do, including Plas Newydd, an 18th century house open to the public, which now houses a museum. Of course every July the International Eisteddfod is held here, this world renowned International musical festival has some world class artists, in 2007 hosting concerts from Jose Carreras and Joan Baez. and 2008 Elaine Page opens the Eisteddfod.

Valle Crucis Abbey

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Blackwater canals.


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Blackwater place of interest.







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