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Top six boating destinations for this autumn

What better way to enjoy the best of the autumn colours, than on a canal boat holiday? We have six wonderful destinations for you to make the most of autumn on the water.

Stoke Bruerne in the autumn

Here at the Trust we work hard to make sure our canals are welcoming year-round. We think autumn is one of the greatest times to take a boat trip. It won't be too cold and canals look stunning as the seasons change and the red-gold colours are reflected in the shimmering waters.

Star gaze at Talybont-on-Usk

The beautiful Monmouthshire & Brecon Canal offers 35 miles of quiet countryside to explore with incredible views of the Brecon Beacons.

At Goytre Wharf near Abergavenny, boaters can journey through the the wooded Usk Valley, visiting historic market towns like the Georgian town of Crickhowell with its 13th century castle and picturesque Talybont-on-Usk, with walking access to Blaen y Glyn waterfalls and some of the darkest night skies in Britain, perfect for star gazing.

Man walking along towpath by canal with autumnal colours

Amble along the Ashby

Boaters can travel lock-free from Stoke Golding to Snarestone and back, passing close to Market Bosworth and the site of the Battle of Bosworth Field, which ended the reign of Richard III and led to Henry Tudor becoming Henry VII, the first of the Tudor monarchs. The hawthorn bushes at Stoke Golding are said to be where Richard's crown was discovered following the battle.

Rich in wildlife, the tranquil Ashby Canal winds peacefully through the countryside for almost the whole of its 22-mile length and from Snarestone to Carlton Bridge, the canal is designated a Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI).

Blackberry picking on the Stratford Canal

Why not start at Wootton Wawen on the Stratford-Upon-Avon-Canal, a picturesque seven-hour cruise through the Warwickshire countryside to Stratford-upon-Avon, with plenty of hedgerow foraging opportunities along the way. Once at the birthplace of the Bard, boaters can moor up in Bancroft Basin, just a stone's throw from the Swan Theatre and the town's many independent shops, restaurants and museums.

Boat crossing aqueduct on Stratford Canal

Visit the old mill town of Hebden Bridge

From Sowerby Bridge in West Yorkshire, canal boat holiday-makers can travel along the Rochdale Canal through the Calder Valley to the old mill town of Hebden Bridge, nestled in a fork in the hills. Climbing through woods, fields and small stone towns, the journey there and back covers 14 miles, 20 locks and takes around 11 hours.

Enjoy stunning views of the Leicestershire countryside

Foxton Locks on the Grand Union Canal Leicester Line can be reached on a short break from Market Harborough. From the top of Foxton Locks, boaters can enjoy panoramic views of the Leicestershire countryside and check out the tiny museum dedicated to the Foxton Inclined Plane boat lift, an extraordinary feet of Victorian engineering, which once carried canal boats up and down the hill in giant bathtubs.

Foxton Locks and the boilerhouse

Step back in time in Bradford-on-Avon

The historic town of Bradford-on-Avon can be reached on a short break from Hilperton on the Kennet & Avon Canal near Trowbridge, with beautiful views of the Wiltshire countryside and southern Cotswold hills to enjoy along the way.

Bradford-on-Avon is an architectural treasure chest, with gems including the magnificent 14th century Tithe Barn and striking Town Bridge over the River Avon. The town has many independent shops and places to eat, including the canalside Barge Inn and Mr Salvat's 17th century coffee room, where customers are served by staff in period clothes.

Last Edited: 31 August 2023

photo of a location on the canals
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