In order to help you to choose a route that best suits your requirements consider how strenuous you wish to make your holiday. Desired hours cruising per day, previous experience and number of willing crew should be taken into account. When you have completed your booking we will send you a route guide and waterways code booklet/DVD.
  Available Routes from Bilsborrow on the Lancaster Canal  

This is an amazingly picturesque canal offering lock free cruising (subject to winter stoppages). There is a great variety of wildlife including kingfishers! This combines with being an ideal base from which to explore the Lake District, Yorkshire Dales, Forest of Bowland, Lancashire Coast and other areas of outstanding natural beauty. On the canal itself you have the delights of the spectacular Lune aqueduct, Lancaster city with it's castle and parks, and the Glasson Arm to the old port of Lancaster. There are many excellent canalside hostelries and a multi award winning garden centre at Barton Grange.

The Lancaster Canal is unique. Being a contour canal (built along the natural lie of the land), it has 41 miles with no locks and only 2 swing bridges. This is the longest stretch in the country, and in fact the only locks on the main length are derelict! These are at Tewitfield, the southernmost point of the Northern Reaches, and as such are part of the 50 million restoration scheme to reopen the 14 miles of canal to Kendal.

There are numerous aqueducts but by far the most impressive is the Lune Aqueduct built by John Rennie, standing high above the River Lune and some 660ft in length. Then, just when you thought you were entering yet another tree-lined section, you are suddenly overwhelmed by views of Morecambe Bay, stretching across to Grange-over-Sands. In fact, at Hest Bank, the sea-shore is only a few hundred yards away.

Though the canal was once busy with cargoes from Kendal, Preston and Lancaster, it was only connected to the national waterway network by the Millennium Ribble Link in 2002.

Canal Distances
Bilsborrow to Garstang 4 miles
Bilsborrow to Lancaster 17 miles
Bilsborrow to Carnforth 25 miles
Bilsborrow to Tewitfield 30 miles
Bilsborrow to Preston 12 miles
Glasson Arm 2.75 miles

The Lancaster Canal offers very picturesque lock free cruising for a leisurely week or a slightly more hectic short break. There are plenty of canalside pubs and lots to see including the Lancaster Maritime Museum (there are plenty of hands-on exhibits for the kids!) at The Old Custom House, St George's Quay, Lancaster.

Lancaster is steeped in history from being originally the site of a Roman Fortress to the present day castle constructed in the 13th century and where the Pendle witches were put on trial. Stroll through the pedestrianised city centre, browsing in boutique shops and high street stores, and stop off for coffee and cakes at one of the popular coffee shops or out-of-the-way cafes. Up the hill lies Williamson Park with its Butterfly House and Ashton Memorial - the green-domed folly visible from many points in and around Lancaster.

The old market town of Garstang is typical of the history encountered along this canal, from where there is a regular bus service to Blackpool for a change of scenery.

At Tewitfield, you can take a local bus ride to Kendal.

We do not allow the hire boats to negotiate the locks down to Glasson Dock. This is due to the combination of poor maintenance, the effect on the water level on the main line, and the privatisation of the basin which has taken away the available moorings. We do however feel the basin is well worth a walk from the top lock [about an hour each way]. The Dalton Arms, Smokehouse and Mill pub and restaurant at Lock 6 await you. There is a large marina with numerous types of sea going craft moored. Glasson Dock, in the next basin, is now a quiet backwater with the occasional coaster entering from the River Lune; a delightful place to wander around and dream of sailing round the world in your own ocean-going yacht.




Map from for a wealth of information about the Lancaster Canal,
places to visit, public houses, cycle routes, mooring rules etc.


Goods Hire Boat Company Limited