Diary Of A Narrowboat Holiday
So we were trying to work out where to go for our holiday this year. Do we hire a cosy cottage. Do we book flights to somewhere with a sunny beach.
Following recommendations from friends we decided to have a canal boat staycation on the Bridgewater Canal. And what a choice. The best way of seeing Northwest England.
We started off in Boothstown in Salford not far from Worsley where we picked up our barge from the narrow boat holiday hire company. None of us had ever used a canal boat before but that did not matter. Our experienced and friendly guide showed us the ropes and after a short narrowboat training course we were no longer novices. We were all set and equipped for our adventure on the UKs inland waterways.
We set sale from Boothstown and headed south on the Bridgewater Canal toward Manchester. We passed open country stopped off for a few hours shopping at the Trafford Centre and the canal took us over the incredible Barton Swing Aqueduct. A unique experience which the children absolutely loved.
Soon we passed right next to Manchester United Football ground at Old Trafford. We decided to moor up and take a look around Salford Quays and were amazed by the Imperial War Museum and Lowry arts complex. Less than an hour back on the barge we arrived at Castlefield in Manchester City Center.
We moored up and went for a beer and a glass or two of wine and decided to stay the night. With so much choice of what to do. A film at the Cornerhouse cinema. Play at the Palace Theatre. We decided on a concert at the Bridgewater Hall and a short barge trip through the gay village to try out the locks we had learnt about earlier in the day. The locks were fun and the kids loved the experience. They really were not as hard as we had expected.
The following day we woke up on the water. We felt smug that our accommodation was so much more boutique style than a hotel or hostel. We made a full English breakfast in our fully equipped narrowboat kitchen. We then took a shower. Our barge really had absolutely everything we needed, including flexibility and freedom.
We made plans and set sail in the morning sun. The urban setting of Manchester soon gave way to the beautiful rolling countryside of Cheshire. We stopped for a picnic lunch in Lymm and continued on toward Liverpool.
What a fantastic relaxing unique holiday. We had a wonderful time.
by: Ben Whitlow