Discover the beauty of Britain by water. Relax as you meander through rolling countryside on a barge, cruiser or a flotilla sailing the South Coast. There are many options available with our suppliers. A week in mid-August for a family of 4 starts at £800 including a £100 fuel deposit that is refundable. A large narrowboat sleeping up to twelve people for the same summer period costs £2913 and a 3 berth yacht £2995.
How to choose where to go:
Norfolk Broads – You can book a cruiser or a static houseboat on the broads. Nearby Great Yarmouth is wonderful for families; feel the sand between your toes, play the penny arcades, enjoy all the fun of the fair and finish your day with warm doughnuts on the pier. Then rediscover fun in the outdoors at BeWILDerwood, from zooming through a tree canopy on a zip wire, storytelling, boat rides, salt marsh walks and seeking out enchanting Crocklebogs, Twiggles and Boggles at Wobbly Wires and Slippery Slopes, in this magical woodland park.
At Strumpshaw Fen Nature Reserve, in the heart of the Broads, you can glimpse swallowtail butterflies, kingfishers, birds of prey whilst following trails through flowering meadows. Then take trip to Whitlingham Country Park and enjoy activities such as archery, paddle boarding and kayaking.
The River Thames – Book a cruiser and take in the splendours of history at Hampton Court, Windsor Castle, Clivedon, Henley-on-Thames and Oxford. Stop at an old English pub and enjoy the rich countryside. For those who would prefer a narrowboat holiday, these all start in Oxford and if your intention is to cruise to London you will need to book a fortnight.
English/Welsh Canals – When the canals were built in the eighteenth century little did the builders realise they were building not just for transporting goods but also for future holidays. Choose just one of the English or Welsh canal systems this year and we are sure that you will want to try more in the years to come. They are all very different but one thing remains the same and that is the glorious scenery you will pass through at leisure. The problem is which one to choose; Cheshire Ring and Llangollen, Heart of England, Kennet and Avon, Leeds and Liverpool, Monmouth and Brecon, Oxford and Midlands or the Cambridgeshire Fenlands. Most of the waterways offer a choice of traditional narrowboats as well as sports cruiser style vessels.
Scottish Lochs and Canals – The Highlands provide a backdrop of incredible beauty for your boating holidays in Scotland. During your Caledonian Canal cruise, much of your time will be spent on lochs nestled in the rugged valleys along the Great Glen, a geologic fault line that shaped the landscape of the region. Hilltop castles, quiet waterside towns, lake resorts, cosy pubs and rich, melodic bagpipes… The Highlands are an ideal destination to hire a boat in Scotland! Laggan is the main base in the Caledonian Canal and Loch Ness is just a 3 hour cruise away. Alternatively choose a narrowboat and cruise to the magnificent Kelpies and historic Edinburgh and experience the incredible Falkirk Wheel. You have a choice of three styles of narrowboats from small two to four berths, perfect for couples or small families, to larger six to eight berths for larger parties, and they are all beautifully designed and fitted.
Northern Ireland Loughs and Rivers – A look at a Shannon-Erne waterway map highlights the pretty stretch of the Shannon-Erne Canal. This passage links up the two canal systems of the Shannon and Erne rivers. The canal is 63 kilometres (39 miles) and runs from Leitrim Village to Upper Lough, it has 18 locks and is as stunning as it is tranquil. The starting point is at Killadeas on the Lower Lough Erne, just above Enniskillen. Enniskillen is the largest settlement in County Fermanagh, separating the Upper and Lower Lough Erne.
There are a number of islands on the Lower Lough Erne with the ruins of monastic sites and churches including Devenish Island, White Island and Boa Island. White Island is one of the most visited on Lough Erne, home to a 12th Century Church ruin as well as the much debated 8 enigmatic figures carved in stone dating back to the 6th century.
On the Upper Lough is the National Trust grounds and property of Castlecoole and Killyhevlin Hotel which has a bar, restaurant and spa for those wishing to enjoy a relaxed afternoon at the spa followed by dinner. There are plenty of wooded islands on the Upper waterway, but an Island well worth a visit is the Hare Krishna Island. Moorings are available at Inis Rath jetty. The island is home to a welcoming Hare Krishna Community, where you can experience a fully functional Hare Krishna Temple as well as take a walk around the scenic trails, spotting an abundance of wildlife including peacocks.
South Coast Flotilla Sailing – We recommend this type of holiday to families with teenage children that have an interest in sailing. The trips take place during the month of August and depart from Port Hamble Marina. Our supplier is operating two shorter, one week Solent route and one, more challenging, two week route that will take you to Weymouth and back. During your sailing holiday you will explore some of the gems of the south coast, and get to know those well-known spots that make the Solent such a fantastic cruising ground. Among the ports of call will be the Isle of Wight, home to iconic sailing haven Cowes, Chichester, Lymington and Beaulieu. The Weymouth route includes Poole and Studland Bay amongst others.