Narrowboat holiday-makers can take all the supplies they need and can moor up for the night alongside canalside pubs.Narrowboat holiday-makers can take all the supplies they need and can moor up for the night alongside canalside pubs.

Drifters offers the choice of 550 narrowboats available to hire from 45 bases across England, Wales and Scotland, many still with autumn availability. 

Here are Drifters’ top eight canal boat holiday destinations for autumn 2021:

  1. Cruise to Manchester & back – on a week’s break from Drifters’ narrowboat hire base at Acton Bridge, canal boaters can cruise to Manchester and back.  The route, which passes through a mixture of urban and rural landscapes, travels 68 miles of waterway (34 each way) and passes through just one lock.  Places to stop off at along the way, include Stockton Heath, with a choice of shops, boutiques, restaurants and pubs, and the historic village of Lymm.  On arrival in Manchester, there are places to moor at Castlefield Basin, within easy reach of City Centre attractions. And to visit the Trafford Centre, boaters can return via Worsley on the Bridgewater Canal.
  2. Visit Coventry UK City of Culture afloat – from Drifters’ narrowboat hire base at Braunston, it takes 12 hours to reach Coventry Basin, travelling 28 miles and passing through just four locks, perfect for a week away.  The journey takes boaters up the North Oxford Canal, transferring on to the Coventry Canal at Hawksbury Junction.  Along the way, boaters travel through the Northamptonshire countryside, passing a series of canalside pubs, including the popular Greyhound Inn at Hawkesbury Junction.
  3. Go blackberry picking on the Stratford Canal – from Drifters’ canal boat hire base at Wootton Wawen on the Stratford Canal, it’s a picturesque seven-hour cruise to Stratford upon Avon.  The route, which is perfect for a short break, passes through the Warwickshire countryside, with plenty of hedgerow foraging opportunities along the way.  Once at the birthplace of the Bard, boaters can moor up in Bancroft Basin and use it as a base to explore the town’s many independent shops, restaurants and museums.
  4. Glide across The Stream in the Sky – on a week’s break from Drifters’ canal boat rental base at Wrenbury Mill on the Llangollen Canal in Shropshire, boaters can cruise through the Shropshire Lake District to the pretty town of Llangollen.  The journey takes 19 hours, passes through 12 locks, two tunnels and crosses over the magnificent World Heritage Status Pontcysyllte Aqueduct, with amazing views across the Dee Valley and the Welsh Mountains. 
  5. Drift through the Calder Valley – on a short break from Drifters’ canal boat rental base at Sowerby Bridge in West Yorkshire, boaters can travel along the leafy Calder & Hebble Navigation to the old mill town of Hebden Bridge.  Climbing through woods, fields and small stone towns, the journey to Hebden Bridge covers seven miles, passes through 10 locks and takes around five and a half hours.  Once at Hebden, boaters can moor in the centre of town to enjoy a good choice of places to eat, as well as hikes up to Heptonstall or Hardcastle Crags.  
  6. Cruise through the Scottish lowlands to Linlithgow – from Drifters’ canal boat hire base at the Falkirk Wheel boat lift, it’s a peaceful five-hour cruise through the Scottish lowlands along the Union Canal to the historic town of Linlithgow.  The route passes over the Falkirk Wheel (the world’s first rotating boat lift), goes through two tunnels and crosses two aqueducts.  
  7. Potter through the Shropshire countryside to Market Drayton – from Drifters’ canal boat hire base at Brewood on the Shropshire Union Canal, it takes around 10 hours to reach the historic market town of Market Drayton.  Along the way, boaters pass through miles of beautiful Shropshire countryside, six locks and a series of villages with canalside pubs, including the Junction Inn at Norbury and the Royal Oak at Gnosnall.  
  8. Cruise through the Bath Valley – on a short break from Drifters’ Hilperton base on the Kennet & Avon Canal near Trowbridge in Wiltshire, boaters can travel to the World Heritage Status City of Bath and back.  The journey to Sydney Wharf takes just six hours, travelling across two magnificent aqueducts and passing through one lock.  There’s a choice of canalside pubs, including the Barge Inn at Seend and the Cross Guns at Avoncliff.  Once in Bath, boaters can moor up a short walk away from the centre of Bath.  

A licence isn’t required to steer a canal boat and all Drifters operators provide hirers with boat steering tuition as part of their holiday packages.

For more information about Drifters boating holidays visit  

For more information about visiting the canal network go to