England Holidays
Boating in England

Rivers are the lifeblood of a country and English rivers are no different. Before the introduction of the railways and motorways they and the canals that connected them were the highways along which goods and people travelled.

Now they lie mostly silent, having fallen out of use.

But even as far back as the end of the 19th century (when Jerome K Jerome wrote his delightful book Three Men in a Boat), the English have loved to 'mess about on the river' and luckily not much has changed since.

So, many of the old canals are being restored and colourful boats once more criss-cross the country.

A boating holiday is not something we've ever tried before, thinking that it was somehow not 'active' enough travelling at a mere 5mph along some canal. But - as I'm reliably informed - this is missing the point!

Canal Boats Moored Along the Canal Towpath
© essentially-england.comCanal Boats Moored Along the Canal Towpath
© essentially-england.com
Autumn View Along the Leicester Branch of The Grand Union Canal © essentially-england.comAutumn View Along the Leicester Branch of The Grand Union Canal
© essentially-england.com

Colleagues and friends who have tried their hands at England holidays by boat enthuse over the peace and tranquillity, the challenge of locks and the relaxation a narrowboat holiday can bring. And it's not all sandwiches or pub lunches, either.

So will this be our next challenge. Do we dare change from exploring canals from the towpath to exploring England from aboard a boat? Well, we might if we can get over the worries of driving (and stopping!) a 60-foot long boat.

Fancy A Narrowboat Holiday Along A Canal?

Have our canal photos given you ideas about a narrowboat holiday or short break on the water?

The canal system in England and Wales is over two thousand miles long. There are plenty of different routes and circuits you could choose from, from cityscapes to quiet villages, or remote countryside. You can decide between an adventurous trip with locks and tunnels or a nice and easy float along a canal with no hassles. Below are some ideas...

Rowington nr. Warwick
Sleeps 6

Narrow Escape
Sleeps 4

Canal Boat Hire
Sleeps 6

We understand that not everyone wants to go racing off down the canals, but may still want to experience the canal boat lifestyle. So here are some narrowboats that are permanently moored.

Moored Narrowboats for Accommodation Only

Sleeps 2

The Thistle Dream
Uxbridge, Greater London

Sleeps 2

Narrowboat Gift Ideas

Do you want to experience a narrowboat cruise along a canal, but don't fancy taking the tiller? Or perhaps you know a narrowboat lover and want to give them a special treat.

How about these "eat and cruise" gifts that could make someone's day...

Canal Cruise with Traditional Hotpot
Ormskirk, Lancashire

Canal Cruise with Afternoon Tea

Evening Canal Cruise with Tapas or Aperitifs
Ormskirk, Lancashire

Or what about these exciting London based gift ideas...

Fish, Chips, and Sips on a Barge

Stay on a Boutique Barge

The London Shell Co. Dining Experience

And, of course, there's more to boating in England than a narrowboat on a canal.

One of England's best places for messing about on the river is the Norfolk Broads and that's a part of the country we definitely love. So next time, instead of renting a cottage close to the beach, we might take a deep breath and try a holiday on the Norfolk Broads.

Return to the England holidays page for more inspiration and ideas.