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The 18 Best Canal Boat Holidays UK

Dec 2023, by Aquavista

Best Canal Boat Holidays UK


Welcome to our top 18 list of the best canal boat holidays in the UK for 2024!

If you’re planning a boating holiday this year and want to enjoy life on the slower side, this blog is for you. 

From the historic Kennet and Avon Canal to the picturesque Norfolk Broads and beyond, we’ll give you a whistlestop tour of the best canal routes in the UK.

And we’ll even show you some of our best nearby mooring spots for the perfect night’s sleep on the water. 

Let’s get into it:

1. Kennet and Avon Canal


  • Distance: 87 miles
  • Number of Locks: 104


First on our list of the best canal boat holidays in the UK is the iconic Kennet and Avon Canal.

Stretching over 87 miles, this waterway connects the River Thames to the Bristol Channel. 

It’s widely known as one of the most beautiful canals in the country, with a rich history and scenic landscapes to make any boater fall in love. 

One of its highlights is the Caen Hill Locks, a flight of 29 locks near Devizes in Wiltshire - considered an engineering marvel. 

The canal passes through charming towns and villages, including the beautiful city of Bath, with its famous Roman baths and Georgian architecture. 


Kennet and Avon Canal Maximum Boat Dimensions

  • Length: 21.95m
  • Width: 4m
  • Draught: 1.1m
  • Headroom: 2.4m

Where to Moor Near Kennet and Avon Canal? 


2. Leeds and Liverpool Canal


  • Distance: 127 miles
  • Number of Locks: 91


As the longest canal in Northern England, the Leeds and Liverpool Canal spans 127 miles, showcasing a blend of industrial heritage and scenic beauty. 

After leaving the Merseyside city of Liverpool, the route travels through beautiful East Lancashire, across the Pennine Countryside, before exploring the stunning villages around the Yorkshire Dales.

Noteworthy attractions include the Five Rise Locks in Bingley, and the vibrant cities of Liverpool and Leeds with their cultural landmarks and museums. 

Leeds and Liverpool Canal Maximum Boat Dimensions 

  • Length: 18.9m
  • Width: 4.3m
  • Draught: 1.14m
  • Headroom: 2.15m

Where to Moor Near Leeds and Liverpool Canal?



3. Trent and Mersey Canal


  • Distance: 93 miles
  • Number of Locks: 76 


The Trent and Mersey Canal is the ultimate cross-country adventure for boaters, covering 93 miles of stunning English scenery.

As the first long-distance canal in England, Trent and Mersey is overflowing with history, including Heartbreak Hill, the canal town of Shardlow, and much more.

The route is perhaps best known for Anderton Boat Lift, an impressive hydraulic lift, and the nature reserve at Fradley Junction.

Whatever you choose to see, you can’t go wrong with exploring the Trent and Mersey Canal - our third entry in our list of the best canal routes in the UK. 


Trent and Mersey Canal Maximum Boat Dimensions 


  • Length: 21.95m
  • Width: 2.13m
  • Draught: 1m
  • Headroom: 1.75m


Where to Moor Near Trent and Mersey Canal?



4. Warwickshire Ring


  • Distance: 104 miles
  • Number of Locks: 121 


The Warwickshire Ring, sometimes known as the Midlands Ring,  is a circular route encompassing various canals, including the Grand Union Canal and the Oxford Canal. 

Due to the variety of sights and canals within the ring, it’s one of the most varied canal routes in the UK. 

It offers a great mix of rural landscapes that boaters love, with quaint villages like Braunston and historic towns like Warwick all waiting to be explored. 


Where to Moor Near Warwickshire Ring?



5. Thames Ring


  • Distance: 245 miles
  • Number of Locks: 176


The Thames Ring showcases the iconic River Thames and connecting canals, providing a diverse and eclectic combo of tidal and non-tidal rivers.

This iconic route leads from the bustling city of London to the surrounding countryside and is a must-see for any visitors to the Capital.

Highlights include passing through the heart of central London via Regent's Canal and exploring rural stretches like the Oxford Canal.

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