(This article was first published in 2016 and was updated February 2017.)
Oxford Canal, February 2016
Our canal boats are available to hire all the year round, and each season on the canal offers a different – but equally wonderful – kind of holiday experience…
Spring on the Oxford Canal
The South Oxford Canal offers wonderful holidays all year round; the change in seasons makes for a different kind of holiday. Spring is truly a magical time of year, as the canal-side flora and fauna burst into life. Sheep are lambing, and you will share the water with moorhens, swans, ducks and their young.
And there’s plenty to do ashore too. The Oxford Literary Festival (http://oxfordliteraryfestival.org) runs from 25th March to 2nd April, and on 1st May the people of Oxford take to the streets for the annual traditional May Day celebrations (May Morning in Oxford – Oxford City Council), starting at 6am with the choristers of Magdalen College choir singing Hymnus Eucharisticus from the Great Tower.
Summer on the Oxford Canal
These are the months when the weather is at its finest on the canal with an average of nearly seven hours per day of bright sunshine in June. Conditions are perfect for a canalside barbecue, or a relaxing drink in the garden of one of the many wonderful canal pubs along the route (for links to 10 of the best, please click here: Oxford Canal pubs).
Each summer, Oxford plays host to the Oxford Festival of the Arts (http://www.artsfestivaloxford.org), a celebration of the city’s rich heritage and thriving culture. The 2017 Festival will take place between 24 June and 8 July, with a wide range of events across the fields of music, drama, art, dance, poetry, literature and entertainment.
Autumn on the Oxford Canal
Early autumn is perhaps the most beautiful time of year to be on the canal, as the leaves turn from green to golden and the farmers harvest their crops in the fields along the canalside. Evenings turn a little chillier, so you may want to pack an extra layer. The first frosts of the season arrive in late October, but don’t worry – our cosy boats are equipped with wood-burning stoves.
On 4th and 5th September much of the centre of Oxford (a short walk from our boatyard) will be taken over by the famous St Giles Fair, one of the greatest and most prestigious funfairs in the UK, dating back to 1625.
Winter on the Oxford Canal
Frosty winter mornings on the Oxford Canal offer a different, but equally beautiful perspective of life on the canal. Snow is an occasional visitor, but with a mean temperature of around 4°C in January navigation along the canal is always easy.
Or, if you prefer to take in the magical atmosphere of Oxford at Christmas time, why not use one of our boats as a floating apartment near the heart of the city. Visit the Christmas market, or the charming Christmas Light Festival which takes place in late November each year (http://www.oxfordschristmas.com).
For advice on the best time of year to plan your visit to the Oxford Canal, please call us on 01865 554343 (+44 18 65 55 43 43 from outside the UK), or click here to information about how to book online.