Monday, 23 January 2017

A Narrowboat Break With Beacon Park Boats

Buzzard Beacon Park Narrowboat for two at The Wharf in Llangattock

A narrowboat holiday in Wales is something I've wanted to do since the days of Rosie and Jim in the 90's. It wasn't until last week I finally got the chance, thanks to an invite from Beacon Park Boats. Located in the quaint village of Llangattock on the Brecon and Monmouthshire canal, the wharf holds an growing fleet of over 17 luxury narrowboats.

Canal ducks in Llangattock

Owned by Sarah and Alasdair Kirkpatrick since 2001, the couple expanded the business just last year by moving it from Llanfoist, the location of their holiday cottages. The smart new workshop can house three boats at once, meaning there's always one being given some TLC.

Inside a narrowboat, Beacon Park boat interior

What struck me about the couple is their hands on approach, Sarah welcomed me into the workshop and demonstrated how they take a metal shell and transform it into the boats you see on the canals.
The craftsmanship is incredibly impressive with custom made wooden furniture and fittings all being assembled right on site by the small team of experts.

Living and dining area on Buzzard narrowboat

My boat was called 'Buzzard' and had one double bedroom, a living/dining area, kitchen and shower room. The design is ingenious with every nook and cranny being used for storage, the bed partially folding into the wall to create space, and the shower room becoming a self contained area with the closing of two doors.

Luxury double bedroom narrowboat in Brecon Beacons
Shower and toilet facilities on a narrowboat
Luxury narrowboat holiday in Wales

For the winter season, Beacon Park Boats allow guests to stay on board a boat whilst being moored, ideal for those who are a bit hesitant about driving the vessel and just want to enjoy the cosiness.

Close up photo of a duck

Even though the narrowboats look similar from the outside, they all have been uniquely built and furnished with the most luxurious offering a jacuzzi and four poster bed! Some can also sleep up to 7 people (including children) and are dog-friendly.

Beacon park boat kitchen

It was a chilly weekend during my stay with sleet and snow during the first night, but the heating system worked swimmingly and was simple to use. There was also a stove in the living area which I didn't end up using, but full instructions are given in the welcome book about all the on board facilities.
The TV and wifi signal in the area is not reliable (consider it a digital detox), but I still had a 3G/4G signal and there's a large selection of DVDs available on site.

The Dragon Inn Crickhowell menu option
Crickhowell High Street, Shops in Crickhowell

After a lovely walk into Crickhowell (a 20-25 minutes stroll away) for a sandwich and cream tea at The Dragon Inn, we put on a DVD, ordered a takeaway from The Spice Lounge in Llanfoist and settled in for the night. It's interesting to know this a dark sky area free from light pollution, excellent for stargazing and astrophotography.

Narrowboat at night
Pot of tea on a narrowboat

Waking up on a narrowboat was also a real delight, the ducks greeted us as we pulled open the curtains and the kettle whistled away on the hob. We sat back and enjoyed the peacefulness before taking a warm shower and investigating the local walking trails and points of interest.

Cup of tea by the canal

On the UK canal map, you'll find this one stretching 36 miles from Cwmbran to Brecon, and Beacon Park Boats lies about half way, so there's plenty to explore whatever direction you head. We ventured north about 20 minutes in the car to the vast Llangorse lake, a stunning spot for a winter walk.

Llangorse Lake, places to water ski in Wales
Brecon and Monmouthshire canal, Abergavenny High Street

The pretty market town of Abergavenny is also just 7 miles away (click here for my guide) and the surrounding area is The Blaenavon World Heritage site.

Incline cottage retreat in Llanfoist

Before I returned home I was shown the beautiful holiday cottages Sarah and Alasdair also manage in Llanfoist.
The former boat house here is currently being converted into a luxurious one bedroom cottage that'll have a living area eye-level with the canal and a cinema room! You can access more information about the cottages by clicking here.

Wharfinger's Cottage in Llanfoist living area with log fire
Family Country cottage holiday in Wales

Across the path is a larger country cottage called 'Wharfinger's' that's fit for a family with three good size double bedrooms and plenty of living space with characterful, period features.
I can definitely see the appeal of splitting a weeks holiday between a narrowboat and a cottage, especially in the elegant Incline Cottage retreat.

Luxury cottage for two in Llanfoist Wales

My stay with Beacon Park boats was so cosy and idyllic, particularly after exploring the chilly but beautiful national park. I'd recommend taking advantage of the current off-peak season and savouring the slow pace and tranquility.

Narrow boat holiday with Beacon Park Boats

Beacon Park Boats
Hillside Road, Llangattock,
Powys, NP8 1EQ
+44 (0)1873 858277 | https://beaconparkboats.com/

My stay with Beacon Park Boats was complimentary however all opinions are my own. 
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