6 of the Best Scenic Canal Routes in the UK

canal boat moored on the river

We are spoiled for choice in the UK when it comes to canal routes, each with its own unique waterside experiences. The picturesque rolling countryside and towns in Britain are amongst the most beautiful sights in the world.

Our landscapes are crisscrossed with almost 2,000 miles of canals, all asking to be explored, so the question that faces canal boat owners is which one will you pick?


Cheshire Ring

This canal route offers something for everyone, from canal boat beginners to experienced enthusiasts. It's a beautiful route that passes through lively towns, tranquil villages, and the heart of Manchester.

It is a circular route, so you can explore the entire 97-mile route without having to turn around on yourself. The canal passes through diverse landscapes, to keep friends and family entertained for the length of the trip.


Kennet and Avon Canal

Made up of three waterways, the Kennet Navigation, the Avon Navigation, and the Kennet & Avon Canal.

Widely regarded as one of the most scenic of the waterways in the UK, this canal route showcases a bit of everything. From the Downs to the city of Bath, with markets and open plains in between.

This beloved selection of waterways showcases the countryside between Bristol and Reading. On a trip of the Southwest of England, you'll see lovely countryside views while cruising through vibrant cities, picturesque villages, and bustling market towns.

Bath's spectacular Georgian architecture, Wiltshire's undulating hills and countryside, Bristol's floating dock, and the Dundas Aqueduct are all highlights.


Oxford Canal

The Oxford Canal, perhaps the UK's most popular canal, weaves its way through beautiful estates, charming towns, and, most significantly, fantastic pubs.

Starting in Oxford, you can go 77 miles north to Coventry, or proceed from Coventry to Oxford and follow in the footsteps of coal luggers in the 1770s. It's considered one of the most beautiful canal paths in the country.

Traditional villages and taverns with buildings dating back to the 18th century provide a unique peek into the past in this region.


Forth and Clyde and Union Canals

Cross the way from Glasgow to Edinburgh, travelling via three magnificent aqueducts and the iconic Falkirk Wheel along the way.

The Forth & Clyde Canal is approximately 35 miles in length with 40 locks to negotiate, and the Union Canal is around 31 miles long, and is a contour canal with one moving structure at Leamington Lift Bridge in Edinburgh.


The Norfolk Broads

This attractive part of the country is known for being the country's largest protected wetland, attracting over seven million tourists each year to its banks. Nature lovers flock to the area to see otters, voles, butterflies, and deer, as well as the region's rare and beautiful plants.

The idyllic waterways provide breath-taking scenery with quaint villages and market towns to explore along the way, as well as a convenient array of moorings that allow you to dine at a waterside tavern or take a country stroll or bike ride.


The Llangollen Canal

This canal is located on the border between North Wales and England, is 41 miles of incredible scenery, with sights and activities along the way, including Welsh villages, steam trains and the Horseshoe Falls. The Pontcysyllte Aqueduct, a 126ft high 'stream in the sky' that is a Grade 1 listed monument and a Unesco World Heritage Site, even allows you to float over the River Dee.

Make sure your trips are stress free by having insurance to cover any potential mishaps along the way. For insurance advice, speak to one of our friendly brokers…

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