On Sunday 19 April 2015, would-be skippers are being given the chance to take control of a traditional narrowboat on Staffordshire’s waterways.

The Canal & River Trust, the charity that looks after the nation’s waterways, has teamed up with Drifters Waterway Holidays to organise the first National Go Boating Day offering people the chance to get out onto the water and find out more about canal boating.

As Ratty famously said in Kenneth Grahame’s Wind in the Willows,

“There is nothing – absolutely nothing – half so much worth doing as simply messing about in boats”

and with Staffordshire’s canals more popular than ever before there has never been a better time to get afloat. Events will be taking place at Great Haywood, Etruria in Stoke-on-Trent and Brewood alongside 18 other open days taking place on the canals and rivers across England and Wales, offering boat tours, holiday discounts and, in many cases, free trips on skippered boats.

Richard Parry, chief executive of the Canal & River Trust, adds:

“For many people, a boating holiday is the start of a lifelong passion, with thousands of people first inspired by family holidays afloat. I am sure these free taster sessions will enthuse a whole new wave of canal and river enthusiasts.”

Tim Parker, chairman of Drifters Waterway Holidays, explains:

“Britain’s beautiful 2,000-mile canal and river network is a haven for wildlife and travelling at just 4mph, canal boat holidays are often described as ‘the fastest way to slow down’.

“Over 370,000* people go canal boating each year and we hope our free taster sessions will introduce many more people to the joys of a holiday afloat on our wonderful inland waterways.”


The Open Days in Staffordshire will take place between 11am and 4pm at:

· Anglo Welsh, Mill Lane, Great Haywood ST18 0RJ (01889 881711

· Black Prince, Festival Park Marina, Etruria, Stoke-on-Trent ST1 5PA (01527 575115

· Countrywide Cruisers, The Wharf, Brewood ST19 9BG (01902 850166