UK holiday cottages by canals

Several things traditionally hold Britain together in a metaphorical sense: a stiff upper lip; the good old bulldog spirit; an overwhelming sense of national pride. If you’re taking a more literal approach, though, it’d not be unreasonable to say that the intricate network of canals links our fair isle together like nothing else. Aside from the obvious practical functions they serve, canals can make for some of the most picturesque settings in the country; the image of a barge lazily drifting along them is one of the most quintessential British sights. A cottage by the canal is undoubtedly one of the most alluring and serene holiday options, and amongst HomeAway's waterside accommodation, you'll find many of them to choose from. In truth, you can't really go wrong wherever you go; but to narrow it down, take a look at our list of top suggestions.

  1. Cottages by Leeds and Liverpool Canal

    Lauded by some as the most awe-inspiring waterway of its ilk in England, the Leeds and Liverpool Canal presents both the raw beauty of the countryside and a flavour of gritty urban habitation. As the name suggests, the canal flows between the major cities in Yorkshire and Merseyside respectively, winding through the wonderful Pennines and an array of sleepy towns. If you prefer to mix relaxation with frivolity, you’re never too far from major centres such as the cities of Manchester and Wigan. 

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  2. Cottages by Oxford Canal

    Not only one of the most scenic canal routes in the country, but also among the most historically significant, is the Oxford Canal. Once an important transport link and a means of shipping goods between Oxford and the Midlands, these days it’s popular with tourists due to the rolling pastures and rural charm. The city for which it is named is world famous for its universities, of course, but the market town of Banbury is a less auspicious highlight along the way.

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  3. Cottages by Monmouthsire and Brecon Canal

    You’re likely already aware of the rugged mountainous scenery and contradictory luscious green hills that are synonymous with Wales; but one of the best ways to see them is from the water. HomeAway has plenty of cottages by canals throughout the country, not least the stunning Monmouthsire and Brecon Canal that runs for 35 miles through the Brecon Beacons National Park on to the coastal city of Newport. The old Roman stronghold of Abergavenny is another site more than worthy of a visit. 

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  4. Cottages by Caledonian Canal

    Not strictly a canal in the sense that only one third of its expanse is man-made, but when the rest includes the breathtaking surroundings of Loch Ness, one is unlikely to quibble. Aside from Nessie’s playground, the waterway is a gateway between the west and east coast of Scotland. For such a small country, the two sides are staggeringly antithetic, but whether you long for the mountains of Fort William, the commodities of Inverness, or the solitude in between, you’re guaranteed of a blissful break.

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  5. Cottages by Kennet and Avon Canal

    If you were to ask a child to draw a picture of a canal scene with no point of reference, chances are it would come out looking something like the Kennet and Avon Canal. Far from a slight, this is merely testament to the idyllic nature of the many settlements along its 87-mile expanse. The Royal City of Bath is without doubt one of the finest, with its panoply of ancient Roman heritage, enchanting spas and fascinating museums.

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