The Llangollen Canal begins at Hurleston Junction where it joins the Shropshire Union and is probably the most picturesque canal in the United Kingdom and this would account for it being the most popular. It can be busy during the height of summer and you may experience delays at locks at peak times. However, it's a relaxing 41 mile cruise with 21 locks and some spectacular scenery. The canal was constructed in the early 19th century by Thomas Telford and William Jessop and, without a doubt, its crowning glory is the Pontcysyllte Aqueduct which celebrated its 200th anniversary last year.
After the five locks at Hurleston, the canal winds southwards towards Wrenbury and then westwards passing Marbury, a small village with a magnificent church in a beautiful setting on a hill overlooking Little Mere. Just outside Whitchurch are Grindley Brook locks and you might like to take a break here before tackling these six locks. This group includes three staircase locks - if you're not sure how to tackle them, seek help from the lock keeper. Shortly after Grindley Brook comes Whitchurch and you may wish to moor in the Whitchurch Arm for a visit to the town.
Continuing south the canal enters a fairly deserted area that includes Whixall Moss, a peat bog that is now a Site of Special Scientific Interest. The canal now crosses the border between England and Wales and continues on to Ellesmere, a charming town where an arm takes you into the town centre. After Ellesmere the winding canal arrives at Lower Frankton and the junction with the Montgomeryshire Canal, this waterway is being renovated and is navigable as far as Maesbury.
The Llangollen then runs through quiet countryside towards Chirk, the aqueduct here runs parallel with a railway bridge and gives a taste of what is to come at Pontcysyllte. After the aqueduct is a short tunnel and the canal continues to the West of Chirk and bends to the West, with magnificent views of the Welsh hills, before crossing the Pontcysllte Aqueduct, some 120 feet above the River Dee. There is a towpath on one side whilst the other side presents a sheer drop - those of a nervous disposition may wish to stay inside the boat!. At the other end of the aqueduct is Trevor and a sharp turn to the left leads on to the final section to Llangollen, care should be taken here as the canal is narrow and shallow. New moorings at Llangollen will allow you time to explore the town.
Map Ref 34
The Narrowboat Inn, Ellesmere Rd., Whittington Tel: 01691 661051
Canalside at bridge 5, the pub for canal folk run by canal folk. Cask ales, lager and fine wines plus full menu of home-cooked food available lunchtime and evening. Canalside beer garden
Map Ref 35
The Jack Mytton Inn, Hindford Tel : 01691 679861
Winner of the Canal Cruising Guide Pub of the Year Award 2009 Canalside north of bridge 11. Pub/restaurant offering traditional British food, full a la carte menu, bar meals, daily specials. Real ale, children welcome. Patio bar and large canalside beer garden. Open 7 days, Noon and again at 6pm. Food 12-2.30 & 6-9pm
"Excellent food. Service with a smile, plenty of outdoor table space"
"Friendly staff and great surroundings"
"Nice food, especially the steak. Garlic mushrooms to die for"
"Very good food and good portion sizes, with a varying price range."
"Easy mooring, nice setting and good food"
" a fantastic pub ....... The meal we had was above average and plentiful and delicious. It would be a perfect place for a special occasion or just a lovely setting to end the day after cruising the canal."
Map Ref 36
Bridge End Hotel, Mill Street, Llangollen Tel : 01978 860634
Nearest pub to Llangollen Wharf, just a few minutes downhill, at the end of the bridge. Friendly bar serving food and drinks including cask ales and guest beers, 11am - Midnight daily. Families welcome.
"Excellent food and very good variety of meals for all"
"Good food and beer. Child and dog friendly."