‘Our First Canal Boat Holiday’ – August 2019
We hired the Larkspur for a little under a week in late August 2019. We had a terrific time. The boat was wonderful – fantastically well-appointed, immaculately presented, and undoubtedly spacious. It had everything we needed. On our first day Angus came with us for the first hour, to show us the ropes, the tiller, and the locks – and much else besides. Angus was an experienced and patient teacher, expert in guiding novices to crew his boat.
After Angus left us (at Bath) we travelled back past Bathampton, through Bradford (where we moored for one night) and thence further east (another mooring). We refuelled at Trowbridge before heading back to Bath, stopping on the way. Pottering along at just over walking pace, we did not cover many miles perhaps, but had a wonderful time taking things slowly, seeing lots of wildlife (kingfishers, coots, herons etc) and admiring the countryside that flanks the Kennet and Avon canal.
‘Slow boat to Foxhanger (and back)’ – August 2019
We really enjoyed our week on Larkspur, the boat was very comfortable, spacious and well equipped. We had never been on a canal boat before but the tuition provided by Angus was excellent The boat was easy to manoeuvre and moor and we navigated our way to Foxhanger and back during the course of the week. There was plenty of space for the four off us (All adults) to eat and relax. There was a plentiful supply of wood for the burner – not that we needed it as temperatures reached 30 the week that we were aboard. Despite this the interior of the boat stayed comfortable with all the windows open.
It was a super week full of fun and relaxation. We discovered some lovely pubs and met some interesting people along the way. We would certainly recommend Larkspur for a canal holiday. ★ ★ ★ ★ ★
‘An Incredible Experience’ – August 2019
We had such a special time aboard the beautiful Larkspur. She provided plenty of room for 6 of us, and was a perfect holiday for across the ages…Angus was kind and generous with his time and non judgemental coaching, and left us feeling confident for the week ahead. The boat has everything you would ever need, as do the pubs! In particular The Lock Inn with their Boatmans Breakfast! We had a ball, and would rent from Angus again in a heartbeat. A unique experience that none of us will forget – thank you so much. ★ ★ ★ ★ ★
‘Wonderful Week’s Barging on the ‘Larkspur’ – July 2019
We have just spent a wonderful week on Angus Brown’s super barge ‘Larkspur’ on the Kennet and Avon canal. The weather was perfect, the canal very beautiful, and the Larkspur super-comfortable, easy to manage and in perfect condition. On arrival in Bathampton, we were met by Angus, who then showed us the ‘ropes’ and travelled with us for 2 hours towards Bath, only leaving us when he was satisfied that we were reasonably proficient with the boat and the locks. Initially there were 4 of us, but after 2 days our daughter and son-in-law had to return to work in Bath, and the two old folks (70 and 69 respectively) were left to continue on our own. No worries Mate, we handled everything just fine. The canal was pretty busy and we found the other bargers so friendly and helpful. We travelled east to the bottom of the Caen locks, then turned round and came back to our starting point at Bathampton. The Larkspur is a wide-beam boat which does require a little bit more care in manoeuvring, but is easily compensated for by the spacious and very comfortable accommodation. Everything that we needed was available on board, and we ate at the canal-side pubs and coffee shops along the way. Angus was in regular contact by phone to make sure that everything was running smoothly. All in all, we would thoroughly recommend Bloomsbury Boats (Angus) as well as the Kennet and Avon canal for a memorable holiday. ★ ★ ★ ★ ★
‘Fabulous!’ – June 2019
We adored our first canal boat holiday on the Kennet & Avon canal with Bloomsbury, I was going to go on about how great everything was (including Angus who was incredibly helpful and encouraging) but I think all the other testimonials have the same sentiment as ourselves. All I would say is don’t think about hiring this amazing canal boat, book it now you will have the most relaxing, soul satisfying, fun and exhausting (at times (Caen Hill lock)) holiday ever! Brilliant, thanks Angus ★ ★ ★ ★ ★
‘what a perfect birthday present’ – May 2019
“Well, what a perfect birthday present – Angus had even laid on 5 days of wall to wall sunshine for us to enjoy the beauty and serenity of the canals.
The barge was most comfortably appointed and spotlessly clean – we left feeling wonderfully relaxed and at peace with the world!
Thank you, Angus – something we shall definitely recommend! ★ ★ ★ ★ ★
All best wishes, John and Judith Blashford-Snell. (Nr. Shaftesbury. Dorset)”
‘Christmas on larkspur’ – Xmas 2018
The only thing wrong with this trip was it was far too short ! We didn’t want it to end. From the moment Angus met us with the boat we were made to feel welcome and his easy relaxed way of teaching us the ropes made it an enjoyable experience and gave us the confidence to set off on our own with no worries. Larkspur is beautifully fitted out and has everything you need. She is easy to handle even with a crew of two. This part of the K & A canal is lovely with nice scenery, aqueducts and picturesque villages and easy access into Bath for good shopping. All in all a wonderful experience,thoroughly recommended and it won’t be our last canal holiday. Once again our thanks to Angus for making us feel so welcome. ★ ★ ★ ★ ★
Karl and Karen
“A relaxing week aboard Larkspur” – October 2018
We were a bit nervous, picking up Larkspur for a week with just the 2 of us on the K&A but we needn’t have been. Angus gave us a thorough hand-over and walk-through and the boat is well-equipped and very comfortable. We spent a lovely week navigating the waterway between Bath and Seend at a gentle pace, and came away wanting to do it again. We saw herons, moorhens, buzzards and some very friendly sheep, picked blackberries for our breakfast from bushes overhanging the canal, and pottered along from place to place just enjoying the special atmosphere, visiting hostelries and sampling fine local brews along the way. We had some very nice Tapas in Bradford-on-Avon and sat on the rear deck in the sunset enjoying a glass of pale crisp white. A lovely week. ★ ★ ★ ★ ★
“Sept canal cruise” – September 2018
Had a fabulous time on larkspur. Boat was beautiful, very comfortable and spacious. Angus could not be more helpful. He was very welcoming and great at showing us the ropes.
Everyone on the canal was helpful and lighthearted. Lots of eating and drinking establishments on the route, all worth a visit. Lots of lovely places to see. Would recommend this trip to everyone. ★ ★ ★ ★ ★
“Larkspur is a beautiful boat” – September 2018
Our family, 2 adults and 2 children, 6 and 8 years old had an amazing week aboard Larkspur. Angus gave us excellent guidance on handling the boat and dealing with locks. The extra space the broad beam gave us, meant we never felt cramped even on the one rainy day and the wood burner really heats and dries everything out. When the tiller began to vibrate and we called Angus he had someone come and sort it out very quickly. It turned out to be a fender wrapped around the propeller shaft that we picked up in the famous Caen Hill Locks. We had many compliments on our boat and we enjoyed many of the pubs as well as the stunning landscape and wildlife the Kennet & Avon canal offers. ★ ★ ★ ★ ★
“Great boat and first class service” – September 2018
Thank you Angus. Boat was very comfortable and everything was very well thought through. You were a charming and gave us just what we needed to get going. My only regret was not to spend more time moored next to the Cross Guns! ★ ★ ★ ★ ★
“Fabulous week on the Kennet & Avon!” – August 2018
We’ve just come home from a wonderful week on the Larkspur on the Kennet & Avon canal. Angus met us on Saturday morning and spent 3 hours with us showing us all the aspects of the boat and sailing into Bath with us so we could get some practice on a lock and also in turning the boat. He set us up for any problems we might encounter (like cutting fishing wire from the propeller which we had to do on one occasion) and he made a point of including our children (aged 11 and 9) and showing them how they could help. We were initially a bit nervous about taking this wide boat out on our own (as my husband had never been on a boating holiday before) but we soon relaxed into it. We made it all the way to Honeystreet and back (tackling the Caen Steps up and down) in our week and visited some lovely canal side pubs for food along the way (The Barge Inn at Seend Cleeve and The Somerset Arms at Semington being two of the loveliest). The volunteers along the way were extremely helpful (especially at the Caen Steps) as were other boaters who were all happy to chat and share a story. The boat was really well equipped with everything we might need. The beds were comfortable and the boat was a pleasure to sail. Angus was relaxed and enthusiastic and we knew that we could call him at anytime should we have a problem. We all had a really enjoyable week (tiring at times but with a great sense of accomplishment) and we hope it won’t be our last boating holiday. ★ ★ ★ ★ ★
“Fantastic trip on Larkspur”. – July 2018
We had an amazing 4 nights/ 5 days on The Larkspur.
Angus met us at Bathampton and helped us to bring our gear on board. The boat is amazing, very spacious, well equipped and very clean. Lovely bedding and soft towels!!
Angus took us to Bath giving us clear and full instructions on how to use the boat, mooring and getting through the locks. He left us in Bath once he knew we were happy and confident. Nothing was too much trouble for Angus, he is very friendly and helpful.
We would certainly recommend The Larkspur and are looking forward to another holiday in the near future.
Thank you Angus!! ★ ★ ★ ★ ★
“Excellent host and excellent boat”. – July 2018
Located in Bathampton near Bath, Angus has thought of just about everything that you could possibly need to have the best holiday possible while floating along the canal at a sedate pace, watching the world go by.
Angus shows you the ropes in how to sail the boat until you’re confident of sailing her, whether you need an hour or 4 times that Angus will stay until you’re ready to sail alone.
The boat is beautifully finished and there is plenty of space aboard. Even the bathroom has his and hers sinks and a flushing toilet, so no need to mess about with emptying chemical toilets which is not my idea of fun on holiday.
We will definitely do this again and soon. ★ ★ ★ ★ ★
“Fantastic time had by all!!” – June 2018
We hired Angus’s canal barge for 4 nights, 5 days for a 80th birthday present for my mum.
Three of us stayed on the barge, which is of a very, very high standard. We had plenty of room as there is a double bedroom and 1 twin bedroom. The barge is very well equipped with everything you need. Beautiful fluffy towels and high end bedding, with the added touch of flowers and a bottle of wine for us to enjoy.
Angus met us at Bathampton and helped us to bring all our gear on board. Angus is extremely friendly and helpful. He spent about 2 and half hours with us, showing us clearly how to handle the barge and the locks and only left us when we felt confident and comfortable.
We had a fantastic time, we were lucky to have sunny weather so could really enjoy the peaceful pace of travelling on the canal.
Everybody is friendly and helpful on the canal.
My mum had a fantastic time and really enjoyed being involved and helping with the locks, she said it was the healthiest she had felt for a long time.
We will be definitely be booking again with Angus as soon as we can.
Highly recommend booking with Angus if you want an enjoyable and comfortable holiday on the canal. ★ ★ ★ ★ ★
“Quiet Christmas break” – December 2017
We enjoyed Larkspur between Christmas and through the New Year for a week. Angus is so passionate about canal boating, ensuring we had an excellent experience. Fantastic teacher, knowledgeable, patient, kind and full of enthusiasm. A joy to communicate with, offering the level of friendly support, assistance and service you can only receive from a person who actually owns, and fitted out, the boat.
Boating in the winter with a log burner and central heating providing total comfort in 22 tonne of luxury is idyllic. There is so little traffic that we easily reached the top of Caen Hill locks and had a wonderful stay in Devises.
10 feet wide with an extensive steering platform means you could never go back to a standard 6 feet wide traditional narrow boat. 2 private bedrooms, comfortable beds and bedding, full head room, flush toilet, beautiful wooden fitout, 240v power, main saloon next to the steering platform and a full kitchen rather than a galley.
Just so impressed with Angus and the whole experience. I completed extensive research before choosing Larkspur and I can assure you–look no further– you will be delighted. ★ ★ ★ ★ ★
“Brilliant boat holiday.” – October 2017
We were met by Angus in Bathampton where we picked up the boat and he gave us a very thorough review of all things “canal boat” including safety issues which were valuable for our daughter and her 3 young children. Although we had taken several canal trips when our children were younger this was by far the most comfortable. The boat has been beautifully finished off inside by Angus and we wanted for nothing. He has thought about everything. Risking the weather in late Oct/Nov. we loved having the wood burning stove in the lounge taking the chill off the evenings though we were fortunate with little rain and some lovely sunny days. We will never forget this trip and thank you Angus for the exceptional work that went into providing us a brilliant holiday. ★ ★ ★ ★ ★
“Friendly, professional, safe, and great fun!” – October 2017
We (two of us) spent 4 nights and 5 days cruising the K&A from Bathampton to Foxhanger and back on this superb boat, the Larkspur. Being a widebeam boat there was plenty of room and everything worked brilliantly. Despite the size, and with Angus’ help at the start of our holiday, we were able to get the hang of steering the boat very quickly (we had only done one canal holiday before). We particularly enjoyed stopping overnight at the Barge Inn at Seend and at Bradford. Good weather. Some great scenery. Lots of birdlife etc. Angus provided everything we needed and the start and finish of the holiday all went smoothly. Great holiday. And thank you. ★ ★ ★ ★ ★
“”Amazing boat, Amazing scenery, Amazing owners, AAA”” – September 2017
Been on a few holidays and this is the first time I have left online feedback….. Boat is great, very comfortable inside with all mod cons and a fantastic bathroom and shower. Luckily we had great weather so little time was spent inside except late in the evening where the log burner def made us feel nice and snug. Angus was super helpful and great with the boat handover and getting the kids involved on how to help with day to day tasks and mooring the boat. My first time for this type of holiday and we had a blast, would highly recommend to anyone. Kids had a great time getting involved with the locks and swing bridges which makes a refreshing change from iPads or iPhones ★ ★ ★ ★ ★
Fun, Safe, Friendly and Professional – August 2017
We (just two of us) spent 4 nights and 5 days on the Larkspur cruising on the K&A. It was a great time. Angus was helpful in every way possible and got us started with some necessary tuition. We had only done one canal holiday before – so were in need of a refresher. The boat was excellent in every way. Inevitably wide and long, but this was in no way intimidating or difficult. You get the hang of it quite quickly. There was plenty of everything. Fuel. Logs for the stove. hot water. electricity, wifi etc. We cruised from Bathampton to Foxhanger and back. We particularly enjoyed mooring close to the Barge Inn and Seend and also at Bradford. We were fortunate to have good weather throughout. Some lovely country and interesting bird and animal life and good contact with some very friendly boaters along the way. We’d be very happy to recommend Bloomsbury Boats to others. Thank you! ★ ★ ★ ★ ★
Luxurious and relaxing – July 2017
From the very start Angus was so helpful. In the past when we have hired boats, the instruction was minimal but Angus spent well over an hour if not two, taking us up the canal to Bath helping familiarise us with the boat and how to handle it, lock operation and turning it around. The boat itself has plenty of space, the extra width, compared to a traditional narrow boat, makes such a difference in terms of how it feels to be on board. More like a small apartment than a boat. The fittings, layout and equipment are all to a very high standard. Thanks Angus for a great week. ★ ★ ★ ★ ★
Luxurious boat, Fantastic family holiday – June 2017
Fantastic luxurious boat and furnishings, very clean, the owner had clearly thought about everything a holiday maker might need on the boat to make for an enjoyable holiday and it was provided. Great list of things to visit and pubs to eat at. Great tuition received on picking up boat by Angus. Brilliant family holiday with two teens. We had to work as a team on the boat at all times overcoming various obstacles such as a boat ahead of us becoming unmoored with no one aboard blocking the canal, locks running too low lower down the canal, aqua ducts, locks, bridges, turning around, running aground, mooring etc.. We spent each evening together playing board games, it was so nice not to have any t.v. for the week, could spend such great quality time together Dad even fell in the canal which was very funny!! Such precious memories we will all remember for a lifetime. May brilliant time of the year to go too, lots of baby ducks and cygnets on the canal coming up to the side hatch to be fed. Thank you very much Larkspur and Angus ★ ★ ★ ★ ★
Great Holiday – May 2017
We hired Larkspur as a family of absolute beginners. We received plenty of advance information and guidance before our trip. The boat itself is very comfortable and well equipped and was spotless. Angus provided a couple of hours of guidance for us, covering operating the boat, water, electric and waste and went through a couple of locks with us, and went though a few points of etiquette. This proved invaluable, as it is a large vessel and takes some getting used to navigating. We would definitely recommend hiring Larkspur. ★ ★ ★ ★ ★
Great week, Fab boat..would highly recommend – April 2017
Hi Angus Just a quick line to let you know how much we really enjoyed our stay on Larkspur. The boat had all the trappings of modern living in comfortable luxurious surroundings. With my crew of wife, daughters 22/19 and a 15 year old lad I was a bit concerned beforehand how we would cope. Space was never an issue with really comfy beds and the ever important Wi-Fi for the young uns. Everyone mucked in for the locks and really enjoyed the experience (not one dust up). Although the cooking facilities were great we mostly chose to eat at the lovely canal side pubs. The wood burner really took the edge off the chilly evenings. Don’t ever put a TV on board as it would stifle the laughter we had. Thanks once again for a great time. Kev ★ ★ ★ ★ ★
Fun in the Sun – April 2017
We had a wonderful week on Larkspur. Tuition from Angus was top notch and set us on our way for a thoroughly enjoyable holiday. We felt really privileged to be entrusted with such a beautiful boat which, after just a few hours, felt like home. The weather was perfect – sunny by day and cool by night giving us a good excuse for cosy evenings with the wood burner. Thank you Angus and Larkspur for a wonderful holiday. Chris and Dave ★ ★ ★ ★ ★
Fantastic boating holiday – September 2016
I hired Larkspur in September for a 4 day trip. Larkspur exceeded all expectations! We were 6 adults – and the boat comfortably slept all of us – in the two rooms and on the very comfortable sofa bed. The boat is beautifully fitted out, very spacious, and with everything you need. Not only that, it has a lovely wood burning stove which we didn’t really need as the boat is quite warm, but is lovely. Angus is a lovely guy – he spent a good few hours driving with us on the first morning (none of us had driven a barge before), taking us into Bath and back and giving very patient tuition. He also went the extra mile and picked up our shopping from Waitrose that we had pre-ordered, so it was waiting at the boat when we arrived late morning. The stretch of countryside we sailed was beautiful, the boat is simple to drive and a lot of fun. A fantastic experience, great value and we would definitely hire again. Can’t recommend enough! Thank you Angus. ★ ★ ★ ★ ★
Brilliant holiday! – October 2016
We have had a fantastic holiday! The boat is gorgeous – beautifully decorated and spotlessly clean! The wood burner was lovely and much envied by other boaters! Our teenage boys loved driving the boat and mooring and doing the locks – kept them very active! We are really looking forward to a return visit : ) ★ ★ ★ ★ ★
Poised for Perfection..!! – August 2016
1. what a beautiful wide beam – and presented perfectly on handover – clean from stem to stern
2. great coaching from Angus – even beginners would soon get the hang of handling Larkspur
3. lovely accommodation with little expense spared, from White Company towels to the wood-burner (which fortuitously, we didn’t have to use!)
4. incredibly appointed bathroom with full size shower and twin basins with sumptuous tiling throughout
5. amazingly kitted out kitchen – if you want to eat on the boat rather than at a canal-side eatery, you could prepare a gastronomic delight in the beautifully finished kitchen; also small touches like including washing up liquid, cling film and kitchen foil lifted the experience for us
6. very simple controls from the inverter to the hot water boost – and all very clearly labelled for ease; permanently visible battery health indicator LED a masterstroke
7. we enjoyed that Larkspur didn’t have ‘rental’ written all over her – the admiring comments from walkers, other boaters and other renters were manifest. ★ ★ ★ ★ ★
…very well equipped….! – August 2016
“We had a fantastic holiday on Larkspur, very well equipped with no expense spared right down the the pillows and the duvet . Angus has prepared the boat very well adding spares like phone adapters , pins and windlass’s. Larkspur is very comfy super clean , modern and luxurious we turned a few heads on our trip . Well done Bloomsbury, canal holidays the way it should be”. ★ ★ ★ ★ ★
Fantastic Holiday! – July 2016
A fantastic holiday made easy by a well appointed and well directed boat! ★ ★ ★ ★ ★
A very well equipped barge! – July 2016
Thanks Angus for a great holiday! Everything went well, this is a very well equipped barge! ★ ★ ★ ★ ★
Thoroughly enjoyed it! – July 2016
“Just to say we thoroughly enjoyed spending 4 days 3 nights on Larkspur last week. The boat was easy to operate and is very well fitted out. Even with six of us, the extra width of the boat meant it did not feel at all cramped inside. Thank you for your thorough briefing and instruction on Day 1, which set us up very well to operate the boat on the canal. All of us enjoyed the trip and will certainly consider another in the future. “★ ★ ★ ★ ★
A Weekend Away – July 2016
“Hi Angus, we had an amazing time on your wide beamed boat, the extra width makes all the difference when there are 6 in a confined space. Thanks for all your help on getting the provisions aboard and your patience with the instruction. The people who live on the canal are a friendly and helpful bunch as we found out at the locks etc,so thanks again for the hire of your wide beam and maybe we’ll see you again in the not to distant future. Hope you can access the photo ok I’ m not very techno adept. Bye” ★ ★ ★ ★ ★
Very helpful! – June 2016
“We thought you were really helpful and appreciated the time you spent with us familiarising us with the boat. Everything you could think of was provided. I think we underestimated the concentration needed when steering the boat so next time would choose to go with more people so we could share the steering. We did get some very complimentary comments from other people and would suggest you have your advertise on the side of the boat!” ★ ★ ★ ★ ★
Highly recommended! – May 2016
“Wonderful time had by all on the Larkspur. Very spacious, comfortable and fitted out to a high standard with some really nice bespoke touches. Would highly recommend” ★ ★ ★ ★ ★
Right Luxury! – April 2016
“This boat is unlike any other canal boat – right luxury! The extra space and all the smart fittings made a huge difference to our week – and the logburner made everything cosy when the weather got cold. “ ★ ★ ★ ★ ★
Excellent Trip! – April 2016
Well furnished Boat, very comfortable and clean, had a great time, thanks so much! ★ ★ ★ ★ ★
A fantastic experience!! – June 2016
We really enjoyed our stay in luxury accommodation which was extremely comfortable, well appointed and designed! ★ ★ ★ ★ ★
Beautiful Boat! – June 2016
Beautiful Boat, admired by all on the Kennet and Avon – tasteful and classey! ★ ★ ★ ★ ★