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Travel News: May

The hi tech Falkirk Wheel and visitor centre, it's a doddle to use

Try a day out on the canals

If you've enjoyed the canal adventures of Timothy West and Prunella Scales in their popular Channel 4 series, you can give it a try yourself for a\ day to see if you would like a longer trip. 

Day boat hire on the canals offers the chance to enjoy a fun day out on the water.

Drifters Waterway Holidays ( offers day boat hire from 16 of its boat yards, from less than £10 per person. Full tuition is included so those new to canal boating can get the hang of steering, mooring and working the locks. 

Boats are equipped with cutlery, crockery and a kettle, and most day boats also have a toilet, cooker and fridge.

Here are some of Drifter's top day boat hire centres for 2019:

  • Boat to the beautiful Avoncliff Aqueduct: From Hilperton Marina near Trowbridge in Wiltshire, day boats can head west along the Kennet & Avon Canal to the Avoncliff Aqueduct and back, passing through the historic town of Bradford on Avon, with its medieval Tithe Barn.
  • Cruise through the Shropshire Lake District: From Drifter's new canal boat hire base at Whixall on the Prees Branch of the Llangollen Canal, day boaters can cruise along the canal to Ellesmere in around two-and-a-half hours, passing lakes at Lyneal Moss and Colemere Country Park along the way.
  • Meander to Middlewich and back: Drifters' narrow-boat hire base at Anderton on the Trent and Mersey Canal in Cheshire is next to the historic Anderton Boat Lift. From Anderton, fay boaters can travel along the canal to Middlewich, passing through Marbury Country Park and Marston Flash. It takes around three hours, travelling nine miles with no locks, to reach Middlewich Big Lock, where the Big Lock pub offers refreshments.
  • Explore Shakespeare's country:  From Wootton Wawen near Henley-in-Arden in Warwickshire, boaters can head south along the Stratford Canal to the village of Wilmcote to enjoy lunch at the Mary Arden Inn and visit the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust's Mary Arden's Farm, childhood home of Shakespeare's mother.
  • Travel across 'The Stream in the Sky': From Drifter;s canal boat hire base at Trevor on the Llangollen Canal in North Wales, it's a 20 minute cruise to the Pontcysyllte Aqueduct, which is celebrating ten years of World Heritage Status. 
  • Cruise gently through the Warwickshire countryside to Hillmorton: From Drifters' day boat hire base at Braunston in Northamptonshire, it takes around three hours chugging gently along seven miles of the North Oxford Canal to reach the canalside village of Hillmorton.
  • Catch a lift on the Falkirk Wheel: From Falkirk at the junction of the Forth & CLyde and Union Canals, day boat hires can travel through the incredible Falkirk Wheel, the world's first rotating boat lift, and along the Union Canal to Polmont, where they can enjoy a short walk to the Claremont Inn.
  • Glide through the Brecon Beacons: From Goytre Wharf on the Monmouth & Brecon canal near Abergavenny, boaters can enjoy mountain views on the two-and-a-half-hour journey to the Star pub at Mamhillad.
  • Tunnel through rural Worcestershire: From Tardebigge on the Worcester & Birmingham Canal near Bromsgrove, cruise north to Kings Norton Junction, a pretty rural route with historic pubs along the way, including the family-friendly Hopwood House. The route is lock-free but there are three tunnels, including the 2493-metre-log Wast Hill Tunnel, one of the longest in the country. 
  • Travel the Trent & Mersey to Rugeley: From Drifters' boat yard at Great Haywood on the Trent and Mersey Canal near Stafford, day boaters can cruise four miles, passing through two locks to reach the market town of Rugeley. 
  • Boat through the countryside to the Spring Inn: From Drifters' canal boat hire base at Aldermaston in Berkshire, day boaters can cruise through the countryside for two hours to Tyle Mill Lock. 

Find out more:

For more information, tel: 0344 984 0322, website:

For more information about visiting the canals, see:

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