Experience life on the UK’s canals, work the locks, and have a go at steering the 69ft Narrowboat as we travel from the outskirts of the Peak District National Park into the centre of Manchester.
This tour travels approximately 21 Miles including 34 Locks, 6 Moveable Bridges, 1 Major Aqueduct and 2 Tunnels.
A longer 3 night version of this tour runs from Manchester into the Peak District. See the Canal Boat Adventure 3 Night Tour for more details.
Whaley Bridge, Derbyshire
Piccadilly Basin, Manchester
The ultimate canal boat experience, this active tour takes us on a journey from rural countryside to city centre. Have a go at steering our 69ft narrowboat, and help us work through 2 flights of locks. We’ll travel along one of the highest and most beautiful canals in the country into the capital of the North. Help out as much or as little as you like. A great opportunity to mix with locals and experience a way of life very few people know much about.
– Max tour group size: 8
– Please Note: children may only be booked as part of a private charter
– Minimum Charge: £720 (includes 4 guests)
– Max group size: 8 (if you wish to book for 9 or 10 people please contact us)
– Under 12’s = FREE
Fri 14 April – Sun 16 April (Easter Weekend)
Sat 27 May – Mon 29 May (Bank Holiday Weekend)
Tues 27 June – Thurs 29 June
Fri 4 August – Sun 6 August
We start at Whaley Bridge, a 5 minute walk from the train station where trains regularly arrive from Manchester. Familiarise yourself with your new home whilst we cruise to Disley for a welcome pub meal in the small Cheshire village.
The Upper Peak Forest Canal is one of the highest canals in the country, with great views across the rolling hills of the Peak District; The UK’s first National Park.
In Marple we reach our first flight of locks of the tour. Locks are chambers of water that are filled or emptied to carry our 25 tonne narrowboat up or downhill. The locks are all manually operated, and once familiar with how they operate, you will be required to set locks ready for our passage. This is a tough but picturesque series of 16 locks, and we’ll drop 65 metres in 1.6km, taking around 2.5 hours depending on traffic and your fitness!
At the bottom of the locks we’re rewarded with a spectacular view as we cross Marple Aqueduct – a 94m long aqueduct which carries us high above the River Goyt. This stunning 200yr old aqueduct is one of the engineering feats of the canal, and we’ll have plenty of opportunity for photos on and off the boat besides the steep drop.
It’s only a short distance on before we reach Hyde Bank Tunnel. The 300m narrow and dark tunnel would have originally been “legged” through; using manpower alone to take the old working boats through whilst the horses were led over the hill. At the far end there’s an opportunity to walk to the 14th Century Chadkirk Chapel, before continuing on to find a secluded spot for our second nights mooring.
This morning feel free to take a short stop at the Portland Basin Museum, which gives insight into the history of Greater Manchester and includes a mock 1920’s street. Then, it’s back to the boat as we work our way through 18 locks on the Ashton Canal; this is the most challenging of our lock flights. Working the locks, we travel through the gritty Eastern suburbs of Beswick, Clayton & Droylsden, an area of recent and ongoing regeneration. We’ll pass by Manchester City Football Club’s Etihad Stadium, the Velodrome, and Sport City. 18 locks later we arrive in Piccadilly Basin close to Manchester’s cool Northern Quarter. This is where our adventure comes to an end. We’re within a short walk of Manchester’s best bars, and no doubt a few of us will head out for a farewell pint!
|Accommodation on the narrowboat|
|Meals: Day 1 – N/A: Day 2 – Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner: Day 3 – Breakfast, Lunch|
|Breakfast of cereals, toast & condiments, fresh fruit, fruit juices|
|Dinner includes 2 courses of home-cooked food|
|Tea, ground coffee, hot chocolate & marshmallows|
|Squash / Fruit cordial|
|One pub meal over the course of the tour|
|Alcoholic / non alcoholic drinks from the honesty bar (help yourself and pay at the end of the tour)|
Take a walk through the woodlands to the beautifully restored Chadkirk Chapel which dates back to the 14th Century.
Fairfield Moravian Settlement
A little-known Moravian Settlement from 1785, hidden away in the Manchester suburbs.
Fish for freshwater Roach, Perch, and Crayfish, or try spinning for the more aggressive Pike
|Soft overnight bag (no bigger than airline carry-on luggage allowance)|
|Sturdy footwear with good grip|
|Torch (for walking back from the pub at night!)|
|Biodegradable toiletries (our grey water feeds directly into the canal)*|
|Gloves (some people find wearing gloves makes working the locks more comfortable)|
*Biodegradable toiletries are available from the Body Shop or Boots.
Start Point: Whaley Bridge Canal Basin, Whaley Bridge, Derbyshire. SK23 7LS
Take the train from Manchester Piccadilly to Whaley Bridge (ticket can be purchased at the station on the day). Exit Whaley Bridge train station and cross over Buxton Road. Canal Street splits off to the right from Buxton Road, going downhill, parallel to the main road. Walk down here past the Post Office and The Friary. At the bottom of the hill you will be able to see the Canal. Follow the road round to the right and past the boat shed at the end of the canal then turn left onto the track. You are now at Whaley Bridge Canal Basin.
You shouldn’t miss the 69ft long green narrowboat which will be moored up in the basin. Wandering Duck does not have a designated mooring space, so if you cannot see the boat please just contact us on 07584 122614.
Finish Point: Piccadilly Basin, Manchester. M1 2HG
The tour finishes in Whaley Bridge, a 5 minute walk from Whaley Bridge Train Station. From Whaley Bridge there are trains back to Manchester.
We recommend using public transport where possible, however we know that sometimes this is not practical. Therefore you may park your car at one end and take a taxi between the start and finish points for around £40.
Whaley Bridge (SK23 7LS)
There is a small car park at Whaley Bridge Canal Basin with space for around 4-5 cars. There is also a Public car park a short walk from the Basin.
The cheapest parking we have found in Manchester was at Manchester Piccadilly Train Station, but you need to book in advance. You can book online here.
Note: Your car is parked entirely at your own risk, and Wandering Duck do not take any responsibility for the security of the car parking we suggest.