Here are a few of our favourite routes to give you a rough idea. We have some fantastic destinations, too many to mention, and we have a very large map, but remember, it’s all about the journey. These timings can vary depending on the amount of time cruising and what kind of holiday you are looking for; you can take things at your own pace. Any questions regarding possible journeys don’t hesitate to get in touch…
This trip is perfect for short hires. Combines the lock light river sections and electric locks of the Aire and Calder Navigation with a few Manual locks on the Calder and Hebble Navigation. Passing through the old coal mines which are now nature reserves, this part of Yorkshire is not traditionally known for its beauty but by water it certainly is. Plenty to see and do including a stop at the Hepworth Art Gallery in Wakefield and a short trip away from the water to the Yorkshire Sculpture Park.
The highest broad lock in the country the Rochdale Canal climbs steeply over the Pennines out of Hebden bridge passing through some of our favourite Yorkshire villages with their very warm welcomes. Once at the top, the is the Summit Inn for what will be a very well-deserved meal and drink surrounded by the rugged hills of the tops
This journey to the most northerly point of the canal network in Yorkshire offers an incredible amount and is a real adventure. It is lock light but involves a small tidal section of the Ouse from Selby to Naburn (this is skippered by us so we require advanced notice if this is your preferred route) which is a great experience. The route takes you through the heart of York where you could get lost in the beautiful heritage city, its cathedral, and cobbled streets. With very few locks with only 3 on the short and picturesque Ripon Canal itself, this journey is all about peaceful river cruising. Once in Ripon, you have everything you could want including a lovely walk around the National Trust site of Fountains Abbey.
The journey involves turning off the Calder and Hebble Navigation and heading towards one of the Norths few narrow canals, the Huddersfield Canal. The Huddersfield is one of the most recently restored canals only being fully opened in 2001 after being closed in 1944. You’ll be following the route of the Real Ale trail and see one of the wonders of the canal at Standedge tunnel. Construction was completed in 1811 and it’s the longest canal tunnel in the UK. It carves its own route through the Pennines and holds a history all of its own.
Until you reach the Tinsley flight leading to the Basin in the heart of Sheffield, this journey is light on the physical labour with lovely long river stretches and electric locks. A vastly under-promoted route the South Yorkshire Navigation has lots to offer and is rich in heritage. Perfect of people that want a more laid-back cruise.
This village is a tourist destination within its own right and is nestled at the feet of the Rochdale climb over the Pennines. The people of Hebden Bridge are warm and friendly and known for their creativity. If you like a walk, you will also find some steep climbs to resting place of Sylvia Plath, some beautiful waterfalls and the highest beach in the UK.
Leeds to Hebden Bridge (return) can be completed in 10 days. This is based on between 7 and 9-hour days of summer light. The time scales here are just to show a guide of what can be found on the route.
A beautiful little canal-side village, situated between Skipton and Keighley. Sometime known as Kildwick-in-Craven it is a civil parish of the district of Craven in North Yorkshire, England. The rolling green hills are some of the most relaxing on all of the UK’s canal networks.
This town has a lovely basin and is where the Calder and Hebble Navigation meets the Rochdale Canal at Tuel Lane lock, the deepest lock the country has to offer. The canal runs alongside the river Calder and is a lovely stretch and lock-free for the last few miles before you reach Sowerby Bridge.
The journey here is a real taste of what the dales has to offer as the canal makes its way around the Pennines and the scenery on show, you pass quite a few villages. Known as the gateway to the dales this town has everything you could want. Skipton castle, walks in the woods, some fantastic food and an almost unmanageable amount of Alehouses.
Designed by John Longbotham from Halifax and built by local Stonemasons, the Bingley five-rise opened on 21 March 1774 and was a major feat of engineering at the time, and some would argue it still is. When the locks and therefore the canal from Gargrave to Thackley was opened in 1774, a crowd of 30,000 people turned out to celebrate. To convey just how well it was built – the very first boat to use it took 28 minutes in total… see how long it takes you. But don’t feel to pushed to scale it by boat, it’s a spectacle to see either way and there’s a pub at the bottom and lovey café at the top.
To get here you’ll navigate the beautiful twists and turns of the Calder and Hebble Navigation as it combines delicately the use of canal and river. This journey is packed with quirky shops and independent pubs. There are also some really nice, isolated spots to stop for the evening if you’re after some isolation and an evening staring at the stars.
A short journey up the stunning Leeds and Liverpool Canal but plenty of locks for your crew to get their teeth into. You’ll pass plenty of pubs and greenery wrapped around this once-busy industrial waterway. The canal was important to Saltaire, now a world heritage site. Titus Salt did an incredible job building this area for the health and well-being of his workers. Once a place with no pubs I think it’s fair to say it’s changed on that front and with the river running through the park, it’s a great place to explore and relax.
Once at the famous Wigan Pier, you’ll have navigated almost 93 miles of the 127 miles the Leeds and Liverpool Canal has to offer and are in the depths of Lancashire. Grab a Wigan Kebab and start heading back. With another few nights added on to the hire, you could even make your way back by doing one of our Pennine rings and coming back via the Huddersfield or Rochdale Canal.
This video may not be the most recent documentary about some of our waterways, but we love it. It covers a lot of ground and has some fantastic detail. It’s a long watch but that man from Sooty does a great job presenting. It’s important to remember while the canals and rivers are a wonderful place for a boating holiday in Yorkshire for all, you are also traveling in the footsteps of so many that came before, every piece of every structure can tell a story.