Yorkshire canals for boating holidays with Shire Cruisers
  Yorkshire canals
  Boating holidays with Shire Cruisers

Boating holidays of a week or more

It would take you many boating holidays to discover all that the Yorkshire and Pennine canals and rivers have to offer (we're lucky to have many loyal customers doing just that).

Map of Yorkshire canals

Here are some sample routes to get you planning. You'll find lots more if you 'click for routes' on the availability search results.

Sample route from Sowerby Bridge

Selby and back
96 miles 68 locks 40 hours

Canal boat in Yorkshire - Calder & Hebble NavigationDay 1 - Arrive at Sowerby Bridge Wharf and have lunch in one of the pubs. Move into your boat, your home for the next week. After a friendly show-round, set off and meet us at Salterhebble for the first three locks, then carry on and moor by the Barge and Barrel in Elland. A great start.

Day 2 – The locks seem easier the second day, and you travel happily down to Brighouse. After shopping in the canalside Sainsburys, pen down into the river. Now you sail sometimes on river, sometimes on canal, and the valley gradually widens round you. A good day will bring you down to  the Navigation pub at Horbury Bridge, with good moorings and a garden.

Day 3 – Go down through Wakefield, sailing by the new Hepworth gallery - save your visit for the return journey. Have lunch at The Stanley Ferry Inn on the canal side, much liked by our crews. Spend the night at Castleford.

Day 4 – Travel a short distance along the main line of the Aire & Calder Navigation. You may see a huge tanker on its way to Leeds, taking many lorries off the road, and coexisting cheerfully with pleasure craft. Turn off and enter yet another world, meandering down the River Aire, then turning onto the sleepy Selby Canal. Lots of wildlife to spot. Moor overnight in Selby, with a good choice of places to eat.

Day 5 – Visit the abbey and market in the morning, then head back to Stanley Ferry for another pleasant evening.

Day 6 – Stop in Wakefield to visit the Hepworth, in its stunning building. Permanent and visiting exhibitions of sculpture. Move on to Shepley Bridge, and visit the Ship Inn, a Hungry Horse pub.

Day 7 – Back through Brighouse and say goodbye to the river you have followed for so long. Travel up the last few miles of canal, and moor in the Halifax arm, eating in the Water Mill. Next morning, a short sail with no locks brings you back to the yard for 9  am, and the end of a memorable journey.

Sample route from Barnoldswick

Bingley and back
52 miles 30 locks 30 hours

Boating holiday in Yorkshire - Greenberfield LocksDay 1 - Arrive at Lower Park Marina and take over the boat. Thorough briefing, then set sail. Travel through glorious scenery to meet our staff again at Greenberfield, where they show you through three locks. Then head for a good meal at the Cross Keys, East Marton.

Day 2 - The canal now enters deep countryside, and you are surrounded by hills, sheep and stone walls. Over the stone walls you may see another boat on what seems a parallel canal, heading the same way. Then you meet on a hairpin corner and return along the other side of the valley. Bank Newton's charming locks wind down the side of the hill and lead you to Gargrave, with good moorings and a choice of pubs.

Day 3 - Finish the flight, and enter swing bridge country. You soon find the rythm for these simple bridges, and arrive in Skipton, gateway to the Dales. Super fish and chips, busy canal basin, bustling market and of course the castle, with a breathtaking view of the canal far below its ramparts. After shopping, head for the White Lion at Kildwick.

Day 4 - Keep along the side of the valley, with extensive views through the trees. Arrive at the top of the Bingley 5 rise, staircase locks. Meet the lock keepers, and watch boats going through, but your own trip must wait for amother holiday. Turn and head back to Bridge 197A. Moor and walk to East Riddlesden Hall NT, a 17th century manor house.

Day 5 - In the morning, catch the bus to Keighley and go on the steam train (of Railway Children fame) to Haworth, and walk up the steep cobbled hill to the Bronte parsonage. Then back to the boat, and stay at Skipton overnight.

Day 6 - The valley and hills look quite different on your return journey. After some time in Skipton, perhaps picking up that treasure you resisted on your first visit, head for Gargrave. Moor at the Anchor - or go a little beyond, and enjoy a board game.

Day 7 - Go back up the locks, sharing with another boat if you can to save water. Meander through East Marton, perhaps stopping at the Abbott's Harbour café at Bridge 162. Then the last three locks bring you onto the summit. Turn the boat round, and moor at the Anchor at Salterforth. On your last morning, a short trip takes you in to Barnoldswick to hand the boat back.

Check out the routes for each boat by doing an availability search, then 'Click for routes'.
Or see more narrow boat holiday routes here.

When and where

  • Weeks run from Friday, Saturday or Monday.
  • All holidays start at 1400 and finish at 0900.
  • Weeks and fortnights are out and back from Sowerby Bridge or Foulridge.
  • Boats available from 2 to 10 berth.
  • Many boats have free places for children.

This website concentrates on opportunities for first timers. Our other site has one way canal routes, rings and other canal holidays for crews with a little (or a lot of) experience.

Woodside Mills, Elland
Ganny, Brighouse
Stanley Ferry
East Marton