Royal Edinburgh Military TattooSt Michael's MountFanad Lighthouse in County Donegal, IrelandCaerphilly CastleInverary Highland GamesTower Bridge, LondonGuinness Storehouse, DublinPowis Castle and GardensScottish pipe bandBamburgh Castle, NorthumberlandGiant's CausewayFfestiniog RailwayGlenshane Country Farm

A great British canal journey

Shaun, one of our team, enjoyed a summer canalboat trip on the Llangollen Canal. Here is his blog about the journey.


I’m lucky enough to live in the beautiful county of Shropshire, on the border with Wales, close to the incredible Pontcysyllte Aqueduct, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, which is the longest aqueduct in Britain and the highest canal aqueduct in the world. Although I had visited before, this time we decided to spend a family day on the water.


We hired a wheelchair accessible narrowboat from the Vale of Llangollen Canal Boat Trust, but there are many other ways to experience this part of the canal network, whether as a passenger on an hour-long trip; by chartering a boat for the day, or several days, or even buying your own boat and living on the canal! For the more active, canoeing and paddleboarding are popular ways of exploring, and from nearby Llangollen, horse-drawn heritage trips take place.


Trefor Basin, our departure point, was a hive of activity when we arrived on a sunny Sunday morning. Boats were springing to life, walkers and tourists were congregating, and the little shops and cafés were opening for the day. We quickly found our spacious modern boat and introduced ourselves to the crew. As the sun was shining, we all took to the foredeck, which would help ensure the best views.


Pontcysyllte Aqueduct is the first landmark you come to on leaving the basin and, as it is only wide enough for one boat at a time, some waiting is usually required, but that just heightens the anticipation! At over 126 ft high (38 metres), the views of the Dee Valley are truly spectacular. Known as ‘the stream in the sky’ it almost feels like you’re suspended in mid-air as you look down at the sheer drop – not for the faint hearted!


Once the excitement of the aqueduct was over, we settled down for a drink and to relax into the pace of the canal. While Trefor Basin was hectic, once you get away from the aqueduct it quietens down, and although it was a busy public holiday weekend, with more boats than usual, we soon found the tranquillity that comes with being on the canal. With a maximum speed of four miles per hour, there really is no choice but to slow things down to a different pace!


The Llangollen Canal runs from the pretty town of Llangollen in Wales to Hurleston Junction in England, where it joins the Shropshire Union Canal, and the wider British canal network. It is one of the most beautiful canals in Britain and one of the most popular. There is so much sensational scenery to enjoy in this delightful region known as the Welsh Marches.


As well as the Pontcysyllte Aqueduct, our canalboat journey took in the equally spectacular Chirk Aqueduct – both designed and built by the renowned engineers Thomas Telford and William Jessop in the early 19th century. When you’re on on the aqueduct, you can stand with one foot in Wales and one in England! The adjacent Chirk Viaduct, pictured below, was opened nearly fifty years later, with the arrival of the railway age.


There are several tunnels on this part of the canal route, including the 460-yard (421 metre) Chirk Tunnel, which is fabulously atmospheric – pitch black, other than for the boat’s light, damp and eery, with chilling drips from the mouldering ceiling!


At such a leisurely speed, the distance you can travel in a day on a canalboat is of course limited, so we soon arrived at our destination: a waterside pub serving drinks and meals, which was popular with boaters and landlubbers alike, not to mention the dozens of ducks and waterfowl which clearly saw it as a great spot for a bite to eat too!


After stopping for an hour for lunch, the boat turned to head back to Trefor, retracing its way through wooded banks, past canalside gardens, many of which had been turned into virtual stage sets for the amusement of passing boaters, and of course more of the unforgettable views we couldn’t get enough of.


As Ratty famously said in Kenneth Grahame’s Wind in the Willows, “There is nothing - absolutely nothing - half so much worth doing as simply messing about in boats,” and our thoroughly enjoyable canal journey demonstrated this to the full.


If you or your group would like to experience a canalboat adventure on the Llangollen Canal, crossing the extraordinary Pontcysyllte Aqueduct, as part of a tailored-made tour of the United Kingdom, please do contact our friendly team today.

All photos © Jane Evans 

Ready to Start Planning Your Trip?

Contact us

Email us

Phone: +44 (0)1743 360333


linkedin-icon.png youtube x pinterest-icon.png

Special Interest Tours

Garden Tours, Visit, English Gardens

Garden Tours

Visit Famous English and British Castles

Heritage Tours

Luxury Travel Tours to England, Wales, Scotland, Ireland, UK, Spain, France, Italy, Germany, Europe

Golf Tours

Pilgrimages, Pilgrim Tour, Europe, UK


Genealogy Tours

Genealogy Tours

Choir, Concert Tours, Europe, UK

Concert Tours

Culture Tours, Europe, UK

Language and Culture Tours

Food and Wine Tours

Food and Wine Tours

Office address: Suite 1, Network House, Badgers Way, Oxon Business Park, Shrewsbury, Shropshire SY3 5AB, England.

Janet Redler Travel Limited is a company registered in England and Wales with company number 13743377. VAT registration number 404 7183 14.