Canal Boat Adventure – 3 Night Tour

Canal Boat Adventure – 3 Night Tour

Manchester to the Peak District

Tour Price:
Individuals – £195
Private Charters from £980

Experience life on the UK’s canals, work the locks, and have a go at steering the 69ft Narrowboat as we travel through the city of Manchester and out to the rolling countryside of the Peak District National Park.

This tour covers approximately 21 Miles including 43 Locks, 6 Moveable Bridges,1 Major Aqueduct and 2 Tunnels.

A shorter 2 Night version of this tour runs from the Peak District into Manchester. See the Canal Boat Adventure 2 Night Tour  for more details.

3 Nights

Starts: 1pm, Day 1

Castlefield Basin, Manchester

Finishes: 12pm, Day 4

Whaley Bridge Basin, Derbyshire

The ultimate canal boat experience, this active tour takes you on a journey from city centre to rural countryside. Have a go at steering our 69ft narrowboat, and help work through 3 flights of locks. You’ll see the city as most people have never seen it, and once out of Manchester you’ll travel through tunnels and over an aqueduct. 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.  


£195 per person

– Max tour group size: 8
– Please Note: Children may only be booked as part of a Private Charter

Private Charter

From £980

– Minimum Charge: £980 (includes 4 guests)
– Max. group size: 8 (if you wish to book for 9 or 10 people please contact us) 
– Under 12’s = FREE



Tues 18 April – Fri 21 April
Wed 31 May – Sat 3 June
Tues 13 June – Fri 16 June
Sat 1 July – Tues 4 July
Tues 22 Aug – Fri 25 August

Day 1

We start in Castlefield Basin, a waterfront setting surrounded by converted canal warehouses and bars. After a brief familiarisation with your new home; our 69ft narrowboat, we start cruising. Today we cruise through the centre of Manchester. Our journey will include working through 9 locks. 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. The first area we pass is Deansgate Locks; a stretch of nightclubs built into railway arches that are popular with out of town visitors. We then pass the site of the Hacienda Nightclub, one of the most famous clubs in the world, before continuing on through Manchester’s famous Gay Village. This part of the canal is off-limits to pedestrians and we have to clamber between pontoons and the boat, setting locks as we’re “gongoozled” by the Canal Street revellers. 2 hours and 9 locks later and we end up in Piccadilly Basin close to Manchester’s cool Northern Quarter. We’ll head out after dinner for a few drinks or some live Jazz, before strolling back to the boat for the first night aboard.

Day 2

The next morning we have a bit of work ahead; climbing through 18 locks on the Ashton Canal, out of Manchester city centre, via Sport City, the Velodrome, and Manchester City Football Club’s Etihad Stadium. We travel through the gritty Eastern suburbs of Beswick, Clayton & Droylsden, an area of recent and ongoing regeneration. We moor at the start of the Lower Peak Forest Canal, close to Portland Basin Museum. Time permitting, feel free to have a look around the museum which gives insight into the history of Greater Manchester and includes a mock 1920’s street. We may moor closeby or continue on a little more depending on time and how people are feeling.

Day 3

This morning there may be an opportunity for an early morning wooded walk to 14th century Chadkirk Chapel, before carrying on through Hyde Bank Tunnel. Hyde Bank is a 300m tunnel which would have originally been “legged” through; using manpower alone to take the old working boats through whilst the horses were led over the hill. The highlight of this mornings cruise is Marple Aqueduct; a 94m long aqueduct which carries us high above the River Goyt. This stunning 200 year old aqueduct is one of the engineering feats of the canal, and we have plenty of time for photo opportunities on and off the boat. Immediately after the aqueduct is the Marple lock flight; a tough but picturesque series of 16 locks, which lifts us 65 metres in 1.6 km, taking around 2.5 hours depending on traffic and your fitness! We’ll moor somewhere around Marple for the evening.

Day 4

From Marple, we cruise along the Upper Peak Forest Canal. This is one of the highest canals in the country, with great views across to the rolling hills of the Peak District; the UK’s first National Park. This morning there is the opportunity to visit the Torrs Riverside Park (the “Park under the Town”). This little-known area includes a spectacular suspended walkway, and the remains of New Mills rich industrial past. After lunch we continue a short way to Bugsworth Basin, a maze of brick arches that was once one of the largest working inland cargo ports in the country, carrying limestone from the quarries to Manchester. We’ll drop you off in Whaley Bridge, a 5 minute walk from Whaley Bridge Train Station, from where there are regular trains back into Manchester.


Right_Arrow_Green Accommodation on the narrowboat
Right_Arrow_Green Meals: Day 1 – Dinner: Day 2 – Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner: Day 3 – Breakfast, Lunch: Day 4 – Breakfast
Right_Arrow_Green Breakfast of cereals, toast & condiments, fresh fruit, fruit juices
Right_Arrow_Green Dinner includes 2 courses of home-cooked food
Right_Arrow_Green Home-made cake
Right_Arrow_Green Tea, ground coffee, hot chocolate & marshmallows
Right_Arrow_Green Squash / Fruit Cordial



Right_Arrow_Green One pub meal over the course of the tour
Right_Arrow_Green Alcoholic / non alcoholic drinks from the honesty bar (help yourself and pay at the end of the tour)


Optional Activities:


Torrs Riverside Park & Millennium Walkway The “Park under the town” is a superb gorge where the Rivers Sett and Goyt join. Nearly 100 feet below the town of New Mills lies the Torrs Gorge, an area of fascinating geology and heritage. Here the Rivers Sett and Goyt come together; their power was harnessed for over 200 years by mills. Discover mill ruins, weirs, cobbled tracks and archways of bridges towering dramatically overhead. As you walk along this impressive, but relatively little known natural feature you are surrounded by a rich industrial heritage spanning several hundred years of the history of New Mills. Explore the Torrs and the Riverside Park from the spectacular Millennium Walkway. It is a 160m long walkway that links New Mills, the Torrs and the Riverside Park. Chadkirk Chapel 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.

What To Bring:

Right_Arrow_Green Soft overnight bag (no bigger than airline carry-on luggage allowance)
Right_Arrow_Green Sturdy footwear with good grip
Right_Arrow_Green Towel
Right_Arrow_Green Torch (for walking back from the pub at night!)


Recommended But Not Essential:

Right_Arrow_Green Biodegradable toiletries (our grey water feeds directly into the canal)*
Right_Arrow_Green Waterproof jacket
Right_Arrow_Green Gloves (some people find wearing gloves makes working the locks more comfortable)

*Biodegradable toiletries are available from the Body Shop or Boots.

Getting There And Away

Start Point: Castlefield Basin, Manchester. M3 4RU Castlefield Basin is in the centre of Manchester. Nearest Train Stations are Manchester Deansgate or Manchester Oxford Road. Manchester Piccadilly (main station) is 20 minutes walk away. Nearest Metrolink stop is Castlefield/Deansgate. You shouldn’t miss the 69ft long green narrowboat which will be moored up in the basin, close to the white suspended bridge. 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: Whaley Bridge Canal Basin, Whaley Bridge, Derbyshire. SK23 7LS The tour finishes in Whaley Bridge, a 5 minute walk from Whaley Bridge Train Station. From Whaley Bridge there are trains back to Manchester. Parking 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. Manchester 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. 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. 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.