Moonraker Canal Boats UK - EXCELLENT trip

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#1
5 Posts
Joined Jan 2014
We are currently planning our second trip with Moonraker Canalboats in the UK. We really enjoyed our first trip in 2012, when we spent time on the Kennet and Avon canal visiting various towns along the way--Bradford on Avon was our favorite--and we even travelled the River Avon between Bath and Bristol, mooring two nights near Bath’s historic Pulteney Bridge and two nights in Bristol's floating harbor.
Canalboating is a wonderfully relaxing way to travel: not only are you in a beautiful setting, steeped in incredible history, but you get to set your own pace, traveling for 4 or 5 hours a day or just staying put to enjoy your floating home and explore the surrounding towns and countryside. You can moor up in the heart of a beautiful city like Bath, or find a quiet spot in the country and walk to the local pub for dinner. Travel on canals is at a leisurely pace, no more than 4 miles per hour, and you find yourself just relaxing, having a cuppa on the foredeck while taking in the scenery and all the sites along the way. My wife especially enjoyed the stable water on the canal; no concerns with motion sickness.
We were aboard Moondance, and she is a beautiful vessel--65 feet long and 10 feet wide (widebeam) with plenty of room aboard. She has a kitchen, dining area, living room, two cabins, and two bathrooms, one with a Jacuzzi tub! We shared our 11 day voyage through the English countryside with another couple, and it was a wonderful vacation. Nikki and her staff at Moonraker did an excellent job of preparing Moondance for us--flowers and chocolates were waiting for us as we came aboard-- and it really was exciting to see our home-afloat for the first time! We received a full set of instructions on how to pilot Moondance, as well as details on negotiating locks, mooring, and the daily running of the boat; it really is quite simple. Nikki was great to work with throughout the planning process and during our trip. She even arranged for one of her staff to come and give us a hand negotiating the Caen Hill locks; it takes a few hours to transit the 29 locks with a 237 foot rise.
We enjoyed our time so much that we're planning our second trip with Moonraker. We intend to traverse the eastern part of the Kennet and Avon and then make our way on to the Thames. We can't wait! -skipper of Moondance in June 2012
#2
1,840 Posts
Joined Sep 2009
Originally posted by waterbliss
We enjoyed our time so much that we're planning our second trip with Moonraker. We intend to traverse the eastern part of the Kennet and Avon and then make our way on to the Thames. We can't wait! -skipper of Moondance in June 2012
Good to hear you enjoyed your time on the canal boat, we have pretty much completed the canal network having been cruising for many years ending up with a family mooring at Henley from which we cruised the Thames.

Do allow enough time to enjoy the journey though, that is quite a long way to go if you are starting from Moonrakers base.
#3
5 Posts
Joined Jan 2014
We're planning to hire our boat for several weeks so we have a good mix of time on the K&A as well as the Thames.

Looking forward to visiting Henley on our trip; certainly interested in any other recommendations for places to visit along the Thames.
#4
1,840 Posts
Joined Sep 2009
Lots of good places to go, if you want to figure out how far down you intend to aim for and roughly what time of year you plan to go I'll be happy to make some suggestions for you.
#5
England
704 Posts
Joined Mar 2013
We have been narrow boating for many years now with our second boat we have been moored on the K & A for about 12 years. Nikki's Moon boats are the creme de la creme of hire boats she has certainly put her mark on the market, but you can cruise the UK canals on a hotel boat, very small cabins and very few guests but I have it on good authority good fun. The K & A is very historic, 1 World Heritage site, 7 Scheduled monuments, nearly 200 listed structures and you cruise through 66 kilometres of Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty. I love this canal for all it's quirks I see something different every time we cruise. Maybe this is why we enjoy river cruising so much, the European canals are huge compared with ours.
Enjoy all your cruising wherever it may be.
#6
5 Posts
Joined Jan 2014
Thanks for the info guys. We're planning our trip on the K&A and on to the Thames in summer of 2015. We're planning to spend almost a month afloat, so we will have a at least a couple weeks available to explore the Thames. Do you have any preference regarding cruising upstream from Reading to Oxford or downstream to Windsor? Any ideas on good mooring locations and attractions? Definitely appreciate any advice you can provide.
#8
Saint Simons Island, Georgia
11,792 Posts
Joined Jul 2010
Originally posted by waterbliss
We are currently planning our second trip with Moonraker Canalboats in the UK. We really enjoyed our first trip in 2012, when we spent time on the Kennet and Avon canal visiting various towns along the way--Bradford on Avon was our favorite--and we even travelled the River Avon between Bath and Bristol, mooring two nights near Bath’s historic Pulteney Bridge and two nights in Bristol's floating harbor.
Canalboating is a wonderfully relaxing way to travel: not only are you in a beautiful setting, steeped in incredible history, but you get to set your own pace, traveling for 4 or 5 hours a day or just staying put to enjoy your floating home and explore the surrounding towns and countryside. You can moor up in the heart of a beautiful city like Bath, or find a quiet spot in the country and walk to the local pub for dinner. Travel on canals is at a leisurely pace, no more than 4 miles per hour, and you find yourself just relaxing, having a cuppa on the foredeck while taking in the scenery and all the sites along the way. My wife especially enjoyed the stable water on the canal; no concerns with motion sickness.
We were aboard Moondance, and she is a beautiful vessel--65 feet long and 10 feet wide (widebeam) with plenty of room aboard. She has a kitchen, dining area, living room, two cabins, and two bathrooms, one with a Jacuzzi tub! We shared our 11 day voyage through the English countryside with another couple, and it was a wonderful vacation. Nikki and her staff at Moonraker did an excellent job of preparing Moondance for us--flowers and chocolates were waiting for us as we came aboard-- and it really was exciting to see our home-afloat for the first time! We received a full set of instructions on how to pilot Moondance, as well as details on negotiating locks, mooring, and the daily running of the boat; it really is quite simple. Nikki was great to work with throughout the planning process and during our trip. She even arranged for one of her staff to come and give us a hand negotiating the Caen Hill locks; it takes a few hours to transit the 29 locks with a 237 foot rise.
We enjoyed our time so much that we're planning our second trip with Moonraker. We intend to traverse the eastern part of the Kennet and Avon and then make our way on to the Thames. We can't wait! -skipper of Moondance in June 2012
Interesting, what is the approximate cost per week?
Also, if you want to go sightseeing, how do your manage that?
#9
5 Posts
Joined Jan 2014
The cost is quite reasonable. We went with another couple, and the cost of renting a two stateroom boat from Moonraker was about the same as the cost for two nice hotel rooms. You can find more info at moonboats.co.uk on costs and boat configurations. For sightseeing, we would normally walk about the town -- we found that Devizes, Bradford on Avon, and Bath were all quite walkable. We also hired a cab one day to get from the Kennet and Avon canal to Stonehenge, but you can also catch tour buses from the major towns. Also many of the towns have railway stations making it very easy to zip off to London if you want.
#10
England
704 Posts
Joined Mar 2013
If you want a flavour of boating on the canals of the UK there are several examples on YouTube including a Moonraker one, there are also examples of how you can get 'stemmed up, or messed up but the one thing about a canal holiday is it slows you down, no faster than 3-4 miles an hour so plenty of time to see the scenery.