Sailing the Kennet and Avon Canal

Bath, Somerset

Sailing the 87 miles of scenic waterway from Bristol to Newbury.

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Okay, so travelling from Bristol to Newbury by boat might take a tad longer than on the M4 motorway (depending on the traffic), but you’re guaranteed to arrive there a lot less stressed. The Kennett and Avon Canal was built in 1810 to link the River Avon at Bath with the Kennet at Reading. The result is 87 miles of scenic waterway that meanders its way through green valleys peppered with honey-coloured cottages.

The other things you’ll pass are pubs – lots of them – like The Cross Guns at Avoncliff. Believe it or not this place was built in the 16th-century (some parts dating back to 1490), long before the canal arrived. Not that it’s spoilt the scenery. As you sit outside, sipping a pint of Golden Bolt (brewed just down the road in Colerne), narrow-boats putter past at little more than walking pace.

If you don’t feel like driving, why not take one of the Kennett and Avon Trust’s trip boats for a few blissful hours – or hire your own barge from Blakes. Yes, there are locks to negotiate (16 in a row at one point), but you’ll soon get the hang of it. Besides, the other ‘drivers’ are a lot friendlier here.

 

For more local tourist information:

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