I would do it all again – barging on the Kennet & Avon Canal, England

In Kennet & Avon Canal, Memories, Mini Breaks, Other, Our Journeys, Trip-Types, UK Travel by JanisLeave a Comment

A family adventure to remember

If you have never experienced a trip on a canal boat, I urge you to give it a go. A little unsure that a week might be too much? then just go for a weekend, I really don’t think you will be disappointed.

Moonbeam, from Moonraker Canalboats on the Kennet & Avon Canal, England, United Kingdom

It’s the fact that it makes you slow down, unwind and relax and if you are on holiday surely that’s the idea.

We chose the Kennet & Avon Canal, as my family were coming from South Wales and South East England, so it was a bit like meeting in the middle.

Also, we had previously used Moonraker Luxury Canal Boats and were looking forward to using their boats again.

The adventure starts with Moonbeam, from Moonraker Canalboats, on the Kennet & Avon Canal, England, United Kingdom

(The total route, including the unplanned orange detour to turn the boat around - a total of 42.7miles/69km covered in just over two days)

There are so many reason why we all loved it. So to try and encourage you to give it a go, I have put together our highlights.

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Atmosphere - I think one of the main enjoyments for us, was that we all went with the same attitude.

Whatever the weather we were going to be all hands-on deck, no one shirked their responsibilities.

A special occasion - My parents 50th Wedding Anniversary was the reason we embarked on this adventure.

There were 3 generations aboard so with the easy pace of life it meant we could all enjoy it.

Needless to say 12 year old William, was the most enthusiastic when it came to the locks.

Being together - Between us we navigated our way through 48 locks, 4 swing bridges and 2 tunnels in 2.5 days - medals all around for us.


Enjoying nature - Boating certainly makes you appreciate the wonderful British countryside.

There is so much wildlife for you to admire, we even managed to see a kingfisher along the way.

Slowing down - Waking up to the fresh morning air, birds chirping around you and the slow canal waters flowing by.

It certainly is a different way of life.

Friendly folks - We found that the other people on the canals are extremely friendly, usually willing to give a smile or a wave.

If you respect them then they will respect you, some of these barges are permanent homes for some folk.

Relaxing time - Sipping your favourite tipple, be it a G&T, Prosecco or an ale (or a good old cup of tea), whilst moored up in the sunlight does take some beating.


Fond memories - As it was my parents 50th wedding anniversary we decorated the barge with balloons and banners.

They absolutely loved it and it certainly sparked up conversation with fellow boaters along the way.

Family time - One of the greatest treasures to take away are the family memories, we had such a laugh and constantly reminisce about our adventures.

  • The Golden couple chose the John O’Gaunt Brewpub in Hungerford, to celebrate their 50 years together. It was a great choice with tasty food and a lively atmosphere.

What I would do differently

  • We have used the same canal boat company a couple of times, the first time we headed to Bath and on this occasion to Hungerford. I think next time we would venture onto a different canal network.

Try and moor up of an evening slightly earlier, but as we were eating out each evening we had to ensure we were near pubs and restaurants.

These can be few and far between on some routes.

 Also, we wanted to see as much as we could within on our few days away.

A funny moment

  • The itinerary from hell that my brother put together, became a standing joke. The optimistic plans were soon scuppered after we found that the barge was facing towards Bath instead of Newbury. Therefore, we had to chug along to the nearest turning point, which by the time we cruised past Moonrakers moorings again, we had already missed deadlines.

  • You’d be amazed how a herd of cows heading towards you, makes you up your game when closing a swing bridge.

A slight disappointment

  • The only thing that could have been better, was the Great British Weather. But us Brits always like to go on about the weather.

  • Although thorough analysis had taken place regarding eateries enroute, what we didn’t take into consideration was that often pubs and restaurants only open at Sunday lunch times. Therefore, our only option was an Indian restaurant, it wasn’t bad, but not our first choice.
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Point of Note

This is an absolutely fantastic way to spend time with your family and friends. If you can, try and make it a week long adventure it will be even more relaxing.

Have You

Messed about on the water? What was your highlight of the experience? Or does this entice you to give it a try?

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Inspired to take to the Kennet & Avon canal?

It's a really great way to unwind, relax and slow life down a little.

The great thing is you do it at your own pace.  If you're interested in a littlre more info then why not check out out post '12 Useful tips for the infrequent boater.'

Memories of barging on the Kennet & Avon Canal, England

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