The Best Boating Holidays in the UK
Boating holidays are one of the best ways to unwind; a perfect antidote to the stresses and strains of modern life. Whether you choose a leisurely canal boat holiday through inland waterways and picturesque countryside, a motor cruiser vacation in Britain’s famed wetlands or an exhilarating sailing adventure off the UK coast, being on the water can be a relaxing, invigorating and memorable experience.
England, Wales and Scotland boast over two thousand miles of canals and rivers that wander beautiful countryside, quaint towns and bustling cities. It’s no wonder that canal boat holidays are so popular in the UK. You don’t need a license or even any experience to operate a canal (narrow) boat. They glide through the water at about four miles an hour and are very simple to operate. You can moor almost anywhere along the way, visit local attractions, have a picnic or drop by a pub. Two of the favourite canal boat holiday routes are:
The Thames Ring
a circular route that takes two to three weeks to explore in its entirety. The route takes you through London past some of the city’s most famous landmarks and on to Oxford. Along the stunning route there is plenty to see and do.
The Llangollen Canal
Considered by many to be the most beautiful canal, it stretches from the Cheshire region of England up into the Welsh hills. You will pass through the breath-taking Pontcysyllte Aqueduct, where you feel like you are suspended in mid-air, one hundred and twenty-eight feet above the valley floor. The trip there and back takes a week.
One of England’s favorite boating holiday destinations is the Norfolk Broads, the country’s largest protected wetlands. With one hundred and twenty-five miles of navigable waterways and not a lock in sight, it’s an ideal place to hire a motor cruiser and explore the rivers, lakes, nature preserves, unspoiled villages and market towns while taking in the picture perfect scenery.
Ocean Sailing Holidays
For a completely different boating experience, you can venture out into the ocean on a sailing holiday. The waters off Scotland’s west coast and the Hebridean Islands are one of the best places in the UK for a yachting vacation. You’ll be surrounded by stunning seascapes and the islands, mountains, lochs and inlets that give this unique area its legendary mystique.
You’ll no doubt encounter some the areas spectacular marine life including whales, dolphins, porpoises and seals. You can visit remote communities, ancient archaeological remains and stop by one of the bustling village pubs where the locals are likely to treat you to an impromptu ceilidh.
There are numerous yacht charter companies that cater to every taste and skill level. They generally offer three types of charter, bareboat, flotilla and skippered. Bareboat charters afford you complete freedom to sail wherever you like but you must be a qualified, experienced sailor.
A flotilla charter allows you to man your own boat, but you travel in a group of yachts under the guidance of an experienced skipper. And of course a skippered charter comes complete with a crew. Several charter companies also offer learn to sail holidays where novices can earn their Royal Yachting Association certification.
Boating holidays in the UK are a great way to explore the country, get in touch with nature and take in some stunning scenery. You are sure to return relaxed, refreshed and looking forward to your next chance to get back out on the water.