Index River Severn Sharpness Canal Severn Estuary Bristol Channel Tides Skipper's Reference Ports of Call Canal Boats Severn Links
  Canal Holidays River Avon Stratford upon Avon canal

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Inland canal boating holidays

Canal hire boat holidays from the Severn and Avon

canal narrowboat stratford upon avon canal Experience the joys of boating by hiring a canal or narrow boat for your holidays.

Much of the extensive inland canal network of England can be accessed and explored from the Rivers Severn and Avon.

For a remarkable boating holiday, showing the varying facets of the landscape of the English Midlands little can rival a cruise around the Avon Ring.

The holiday route includes parts of two rivers (the River Severn and the River Avon) and two inland canals (the Stratford upon Avon canal and the Worcester & Birmingham Canal).

The complete traverse (109 miles with129 locks) can be done in about a fortnight by a crew who are reasonably fit and active but much pleasure can be got by just cruising part of the ring.
Canal map of the Avon Ring

Navigation of the the canal sections is only possible in a narrow beam (less than 7ft) boat and, although small cruisers are common, it is best done in a boat based on the conventional canal or narrowboat design.   Such boats travel at about walking pace.

The cruise of the waterways may be done in either direction and may start at any point on the ring.

The Worcestershire & Birmingham Canal

worcester canal
This canal starts at the rural town of Worcester on the River Severn and ends in the heart of the centre of Birmingham, the second largest city in England.

It offers challenging lock flights (the famous Tardebigge flight) and long underground tunnels including the Wast Hill tunnel, one of the longest in England.

The Stratford upon Avon Canal

An almost secret cut from the suburbs of Birmingham to the heart of Stratford ending in the basin in front of the Royal Shakespeare Theatre with lock access to the River Avon.

The Stratford canal passes through rural England and includes a short tunnel, the Lapworth lock flight and goes over the Edstone aqueduct.
Stratford upon Avon canal

Droitwich Canals - Barge and Junction Canals

Through the remarkable efforts of the Droitwich Canals Trust, the restoration of the old Droitwich Barge Canal and the Droitwich Junction Canal is now complete. The connected canals run from Hawford, just northeast of Bevere Lock on the Severn alongside the River Salwarp to Droitwich and then on to Hanbury Wharf on the Worcester & Birmingham Canal.

The canals now form part of an interesting mid Worcester cruising ring of about 22 miles and 30 locks.

Holiday Canal Boat Hire

canal narrowboat Several major hire boat companies operate in the area.
The main bases are at Worcester, Alvechurch, Wootton Wawen, Stratford, Evesham and Upton.

Canal and narrow boats are well-appointed and sleep from 2 to 12 passengers. The main holiday season is from Easter to September but out of season boating is possible.  However, out of season boating requires experience if river travel is involved.

For useful information on using canal boats on rivers go to rivercraft hints

Index River Severn Sharpness Canal Severn Estuary Bristol Channel Tides Skipper's Reference Ports of Call Canal Boats Severn Links