There are many reasons to stay in the UK this summer and cruise the waterways through the great British countryside rather than going abroad.
1. Peace and Tranquillity
You can choose when and where to cruise and moor your boat (depending on availability of moorings). Take a trip down a lesser known waterway and moor away from others. Experience calm and unwind.
Photo: Middle Level Navigations by Helen Dobbie
2. Discover New Waterways
Boat owners could benefit from hiring a boat somewhere they have never been before, such as isolated waterways (e.g. Forth & Clyde Canal; Brecon & Abergavenny Canal) or those that may be too far to cruise to in a time limit.
Photo: Mon & Brec by Tim Lewis
There will be different things to see and do every time you move your boat to a new location. Take a look at the individual waterways pages for some inspiration or invest in a waterway guide from IWAShop.com
Photo: Canal Museum at Stoke Bruerne, Grand Union Canal by Stephen Dawson
There are today over a hundred hire firms operating on the waterways of Britain. Simply decide which area or waterway you might like to visit and take a look at the hire boats in that area.
Photo: Lancaster Canal, Hest Bank by Phil Sharpe
5. All Mod Cons
The hire boats of today are a real home-from-home featuring showers, flushing toilets, central heating, full-sized cookers and fridges, microwaves, TVs, DVD and CD players.
Photo: Boat interior courtesy of Kate Boats, Warwickshire
A four-berth boat will cost in the region of £1000 for a week in June. Which may sound a lot, until you bear in mind that it represents the entire cost of the holiday – there are very few extras to pay for once you are aboard. Your boat is your home and your entertainment for the week. Furthermore, there are all kinds of deals normally on offer: early booking bonuses, short break/long weekends, late availability, long-term hire rates etc.
Photo: Hire boats, Grand Union Canal by Pete Yeomans
7. No Airports
Getting up at the crack of dawn, the rush to get to the airport in time to check in, the panic experienced when passports are misplaced, cramped flights, airplane toilets, lost luggage, hotel transfers. That doesn’t sound like a holiday…
8. Things to do for Kids
Take a trip around the UK network and there will be plenty to show and teach the children. Introduce them to how a lock works, waterways wildlife and local history. A boating holiday is also a great way for the kids to get some fresh air and exercise to use up some of their energy!
Photo: Smethwick Pumping Station, Birmingham Canal Navigations by Angela Acott
The wide range of habitats along canals and rivers gives them unique biodiversity. Bird sightings, range from the majestic mute swan, moorhens, herons and ducks, to those that are harder to spot, such as kingfishers. Other wildlife includes water voles, otters, dragonflies and rare butterflies.
Photo: Kingfisher by William Richardson
10. Support the Waterways
Like every other boat owner, boat hire companies contribute funding to their relevant navigation authority, such as Canal & River Trust or the Environment Agency. So, by hiring a boat you are indirectly contributing to the maintenance of the waterways network, as well as supporting local waterside businesses along the route.
Photo: Hatton Locks on the Grand Union Canal, Warwickshire by Mark Hewson
- Find out more about the navigable waterways in the UK – including information about hire boat companies for each waterway.