A Boating Holiday - through the Welsh Countryside!
Updated: Nov 11
Recently Mark and I went on a holiday with a bit of a difference – a canal boat cruise on the Monmouthshire and Brecon Canal in Wales. This was our third such vacation in different parts of the UK and although we usually try and vary our holidays this is one that we find so relaxing that we are happy to repeat it.
The canal is currently inaccessible from any other waterway and offers 35 miles of quiet, pretty countryside from Brecon to Cwmbran. Nestled amidst the lush rolling hills, farmland, and quaint villages, the canals of Wales provide a relaxing and fascinating experience. You can moor your boat in the middle of the countryside, chill, have a drink, and prepare a meal on board. If you feel like it there are activities to do and places to visit – our destinations tended to be the local pubs!
Besides leisurely cruising the canal there are three main activities along the way – locks, bridges, and tunnels. All of them are great fun. The locks need a bit of expertise, but you pick it up very quickly. The bridges and tunnels are a fun challenge. Getting a 45- to 60-foot-long boat through them without touching the sides! No previous experience is necessary and all aspects of the trip including cruising, places to stop, locks, tunnels, etc. are all explained to you before you take the boat out.
The boats are fully equipped with a kitchen, bathroom, and sleeping facilities. We bought all our groceries from a local supermarket before starting the cruise and hardly needed anything else along the way. Varying from 45 to 65 feet in length they can accommodate from two to 8 people.
Depending on where the starting point is, getting there can be a bit of a hassle. For example, we had a 2-hour drive from Birmingham to get to the marina so we hired a car to drive there. Obviously, we did not use it when on the cruise, but it was still the best option in our opinion. Afterward, we spent a couple of days sightseeing in Wales, which made the car hire more worth it.
Just to put things in perspective there are 2,000 navigable miles of canals and rivers in the UK with many different routes and thousands of boats to choose from. It is a very popular vacation. This is certainly a holiday with a difference and we would be very happy to help you organise all aspects of the trip.