Marine Cruises canal boat holiday hire on the Trent & Mersey Canal

Canal Boat Holiday Hire on the Trent & Mersey Canal

trentMerseyThe Trent and Mersey Canal starts close to the River Mersey, near Runcorn and finishes at a junction with the River Trent in Derbyshire. You could explore the River Weaver or try the four counties ring. From our Llangollen Canal Swanley base you could visit Anderton lift near Northwich and explore the River Weaver in an easy two weeks.


The Trent and Mersey Canal was one of the first UK canals, built by Brindley, and it winds around hill and valley sides through some pleasant countryside. The climb from the Cheshire plains starts at the traditional canal town of Middlewich up thirty one locks, often called ‘Heartbreak Hill’, to the summit and Harecastle Tunnel. Cruising through the pitch dark confines of Harecastle tunnel is an experience nobody forgets! The canal then descends through the industry of the Staffordshire Potteries out into rural Staffordshire and then Derbyshire.

The recently restored Anderton Boat Lift lowers boats 90 feet to the River Weaver, and the River itself has some fine cruising up to Winsford. Middlewich and Northwich are salt towns dating back to Roman times and their are signs of the subsidence it caused in the flooded ‘flashes’ and crooked buildings alongside the canal. Shrugborough Hall dates from the 17th century and is surrounded by a landscaped park, the Gatehouse is the size of many mansions! An English Civil war battle was fought just to the north at Hopton Heath. Josiah Wedgwood was involved in getting the canal built and the Wedgwood factory and museum are canalside just south of Stoke on Trent. The famous Swan pub at Fradley Junction has an excellent view of the junction. Shardlow, near the River Trent, is one of England’s best preserved canal towns.

The Trent and Mersey canal forms part of the popular Four Counties Ring cruising route, with the Staffs and Worcestershire canal and the Shropshire Union Canal.


Trent & Mersey Canal facts…

Runs from Preston Brook Tunnel near Runcorn to the River Trent near Shardlow.
Junctions Shropshire Union canal at Middlewich, Macclesfield Canal at Kidsgrove, Caldon Canal at Etruria, River Trent south of Shardlow.
Length 93 miles
Locks 73
Tunnels 4