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  • Location: Manchester, United Kingdom
  • Duration:  3 days (approx.)
It’s all hands on deck on this 3-Day narrowboat adventure through the rugged Peak District countryside and the gritty urban canals of Manchester! Traveling and sleeping aboard a back-to-basics narrowboat, the tour offers an exciting experience for adventurous souls who want to get involved with all aspects of narrowboat cruising and see a side of the region that many travelers don’t get to see. Boating experience isn’t necessary; all that’s required is a good standard of fitness and a desire to get involved with navigating locks, moving gates and more. Meals and friendly company included!


  • 3-Day narrowboat adventure through the Peak District and Manchester
  • Travel with like-minded adventurous people and get involved on board
  • Pass through 34 locks in total and help move bridges and navigate the boat
  • Follow a route along the stunning Pennine Waterways, and along the Peak Forest Canal
  • See Manchester from its lesser-known canals and pass Manchester City's Etihad Stadium as well as industrial areas
  • Discover charming rural pubs and enjoy hearty boat-cooked meals

Recent Photos of This Tour

What You Can Expect

3-Day Narrowboat Adventure from the Peak District to Manchester

Open locks on this 2-night narrowboat adventure!

Head to Whaley Bridge in Derbyshire to meet your hosts, fellow group members and your form of transport – a narrowboat! After hopping on board, most of your time throughout the tour is spent ‘pitching in’ and helping out with anything from lifting moveable bridges to guiding your boat through the locks. Evenings are spent socializing around the onboard ale pump or visiting local pubs close to where you moor. Nights are spent in the comfortable bunk beds back on the boat.

The route on your adventure tour takes in 34 locks in total, each of which have three gates that individually weigh up to 4,410 lbs (2 tonnes) and require opening and closing by hand. It’s estimated that between seven and eight hours are spent throughout the weekend on working the locks, so roll up your sleeves and get stuck in to the action!

After navigating the Pennine Waterways that cut through the scenic Peak District, head into the urban canals of Manchester on the final day. Cutting under roads and beneath a hotel, the route continues to be quite an adventure, and most people—even Mancunians—will not have experienced the city this way. The route takes you through some relatively unused industrial areas to remind you why the canals were originally built. See derelict mills and experience some of the uglier (yet exciting) sides of urban boating, such as fishing shopping trollies out of the canals or removing litter from the propellers!

Refer to the Itinerary for a full breakdown of the route.


Day 1: Whaley Bridge Disley
Start your tour at the town of Whaley Bridge in the Peak District and travel by narrowboat along the elevated section of the Upper Peak Forest Canal, a waterway perched halfway up the valley of the stunning Pennines. Pass through a total of nine locks, and then moor up near the village of Disley, with its rural pubs and pretty limestone houses. Head to a local pub for an evening meal and drinks with your hosts (own expense), and then return to the boat to sleep.

Overnight: narrowboat moored near Disley

Day 2: Disley – Portland Basin (B, L, D)

Enjoy breakfast, and then cruise north for roughly an hour, toward the village of Marple, passing three moveable bridges. From Marple, travel through a further 16 locks and then hit the 200-year-old Marple Aqueduct – a stunning bridge that carries you high above the River Goyt. Also known as the Grand Aqueduct in reference to its beauty, the bridge makes a stunning photo spot against the backdrop of Greater Manchester's Goyt Valley and the river below.

Stop to enjoy a tasty lunch, and maybe an optional walk, and then cruise along the Lower Peak Forest Canal, passing through Hyde Bank Tunnel – a stretch of the waterways where boats would have once been ‘legged through’ (pulled by workers rather than horses) in times gone by. You’ll notice the landscape changing from countryside to urban, and signs of Manchester’s industrial past will become evident.

Moor at the northernmost tip of the Lower Peak Forest Canal in the late afternoon, and, if time permits, head out to visit Portland Basin Museum while dinner’s prepared. Inside you’ll find a fascinating array of artifacts that give insight into Greater Manchester’s history, including a replica of a 1920’s city street. Return to your boat for dinner with your hosts.

Overnight: narrowboat moored near Portland Basin

Day 3: Portland Basin – Manchester (B, L)
After breakfast, leave Peak Forest Canal and travel along Ashton Canal into Manchester. Like your previous morning, your route passes a succession of locks (18 in total), so your help will be needed as you work your way into the city center!

East Manchester has been an area of regeneration for more than a decade, and while it still comprises some gritty inner-city suburbs, the area now boasts attractions like Manchester Velodrome, Sport City and Manchester City Football Club’s Etihad Stadium. Keep watching out for sites like these, and pass alongside modern waterside apartments and converted canal warehouses.

Your tour finishes in central Manchester in the afternoon, near several lively pubs that you may want to visit after leaving the boat!
From USD $ 252.03

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Tour code: 5884BUGMAN2N


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