These are usually our best-value short breaks afloat, often gaining an extra day for the same price as, or less than, a weekend canal break.
A canal boat is about as self-isolated as you can get. On arrival to your boat our carefully trained staff will let you load your belongings onto your boat and then, after a thorough safety and boat handling briefing whilst we keep a respectful distance in line with Government Guidance, you're able to be as isolated from the outside world as you wish. If you bring your own food and essentials there's no need for close contact with anyone else at all from when you set forth until your return!
Midweek narrowboating is a great-value out-of-season escape for those with either young children, couples, or friends/relatives with a busy social life at weekends. In school holidays a midweek canal short break is an economical alternative to a full week's holiday and a chance for extended familes to come together for a memorable holiday afloat - for which our flexible larger boats are especially suitable. The canals are generally quieter on weekdays too!
Your Midweek Break afloat starts between 13.30 and 16.00 on Monday and finishes at 09.00 on Friday (although many of our hirers hand the boat back on Thursday afternoon to avoid travelling on Friday). That means that if you arrive in good time you will have three whole days of boating and the remainder of Monday afternoon to enjoy your time afloat.
Choose from our perfectly-located bases at Lower Heyford in rural Oxfordshire near to Oxford or historic Bradford on Avon near to Bath. Combine the unmatched rural charm of the Oxford Canal, as it winds its way through the Cotswolds Borders to the River Thames, with a visit to Oxford. Meander north along the idyllic Oxford Canal toward Cropredy; or cruise through the stunning Avon Valley toward world-famous Bath and Bristol – home of the world’s first steamship – SS Great Britain. Or, if you’re really wanting to work lots of locks go to Devizes and go up, and then straight back down the famous Caen Hill Locks the very next day!
MIDWEEK BREAKS FROM LOWER HEYFORD
Heyford Wharf is a 220yr old working village boatyard located midway between Banbury and Oxford, close to the M40 about 1hr north of London. It's rural setting is complemented by its own rail station (Heyford) located directly alongside the boatyard with trains from London Paddinton, Reading, Oxford & Banbury. Set in a pretty Oxfordshire village the wharf is also home to the highly-regarded, licenced, Kizzies Bistro serving waterside breakfasts, light lunches and cream teas. Heyford Wharf also features our own Canal Cottage B&B if you wish to arrive the day before your break or wish to stay on after to explore the local area further....
SOUTH: From our base at Lower Heyford you can reach world famous Oxford in around 7hrs if it’s culture, history and nightlife you’re after - on the way there is the pretty canalside hamlet of Thrupp (4hrs) and several waterside pubs together with a mixture of rural and urban-yet-sylvan cruising. Spend a day in Oxford - your mooring is very clsoe to the city centre - exploring the famous University Colleges, Galleries & Museums. Alternatively discover the Royal Rover Thames either through Oxford and downstream towards Abingdon (10hrs) or get totally tranquil, avoid Oxford and civilisation altogether as you cruise upstream toward the source of the River above Lechlade in the Cotswolds.
NORTH: The outstanding Cherwell Valley nestles along the Cotswold Borders and it's very pretty as you cruie to bustling Banbury (6hrs), the charming historic village of Cropredy (9hrs) - also the home of the world-famous Fairport Convention each August - and on to the siummit of the canal at Fenny Compton (12hrs). The narrow locks are not too close together for the most part: the canal winds its way seemingly avoiding as much contact as possible with the increasingly busy corridor thorugh which it travels! There is an excellent pub to dine at at nearby Aynho (3hrs) for your first evening aboard, Cropredy offers a choice of two, the pub at Fenny Compton is alongside your turning point at which you turn to head back...and The Barley Mow at Upper Heyford for your last evening is a friendly traditional local.
Click below for cruising maps from Lower Heyford
MIDWEEK BREAKS FROM BRADFORD ON AVON
Bradford Wharf is the original working wharf for the town located conveniently closely to both town and its railway station. The wharf is also home to a thriving drydock and boat repair business so when you arrive you'll immediately be able to immerse yourself in the atmosphere of the waterways! There's just the one lock alongside our boatyard (which we'll demonstrate/work for you) so, if you wish, you can have an almost lock-free cruising weekend to Bath and return. Aternatively head east and enjoy rural Wiltshire as you negotiate locks and swing-bridges on your journey towards Devizes and the famous Caen Hill locks. The western Kennet & Avon Canal is a very popular and outstandingly pretty area featuring stone aqueducts, beautiful river valley, and of course the historic centres of Bradford on Avon, Bathampton and Bath itself.
WEST: From our Bradford on Avon base it's an easy 6hr cruise to Bath - World Heritage City and so much more. The canal meanders along the beautiful Avon Valley crossing the river at two impressive stone aqueducts at Avoncliffe and Dundas. There's an excellent pub at Avoncliffe (1hr) and also the waterside George Inn at Bathampton (5hrs) as well as the lovely Angelfish Cafe at Dundas Aqueduct (4hrs). Once at Bath you don't need to do anything than moor up and spend a day or two sightseeing - boat hire is a surprisingly cost effective alternative to hotel rooms - but if you'd like to make the most of your cruising you can descend the Bath Locks and cruise down the Avon towards Bristol and its floating harbour - home of Brunel's famaous steamship the SS Great Britain. But please bear in mind that to reach Bristol you need to allow 14hrs boating each way and also take into condieration the river conditions.
EAST: If you'd prefer to get some boating in maybe you'd prefer to head east towards Devizes and the Famous Caen Hill Locks. In a weekand you'll not have time to climb them but you could cruise as far as Foxhangers to walk and admire this Wonder of the Waterways from below - by now you'll have already climbed 8 locks and negotiated a few swing bridges. There's an excellent waterside pub at Seend and another one close by at Sells Green - both serving good food and local Wadworth Ales - and the journey is almost entirely rural....
Click below for cruising maps from Bradford on Avon: