Boating around Britain – Discover the beauty of a holiday at home
When trying to choose a holiday in recent years, the variety of destinations has become dizzying. Affordable travel has made almost anywhere in the world a possibility for your two weeks away.
Travel options aren’t in short supply either; you can enjoy short trips by car, coach or train. You can stay in a luxury hotel or rent an outrageous Airbnb apartment. You can get close to nature in a tent or yurt, hire a caravan or even stay in a log cabin in the middle of a forest.
However, with the fluctuating nature of world economies this year, it can be hard to guarantee good value when booking holidays abroad. Coupled with the prospect of the UK’s changing relationship with the EU, some British holidaymakers might be left considering whether it’s worth going out of the country at all.
But don’t despair; the UK has a lot to offer including an incredible array of beautiful scenery and rugged coasts. No matter where you choose to visit, you are sure to discover a string of national treasures. Museums, stately homes and castles are just waiting to be explored and are never too far away.
Bring on the boats!
One of the most unique and beautiful ways to enjoy the UK countryside is taking a boating holiday. There’s no laborious check-in, no passport control, and plenty of leg room when you finally get on board. Let’s face it, it’s ideal for people with a fear of flying!
Boating offers far more flexibility than other types of holiday because you’re not bound to one campsite and you don’t have to return to the same hotel all the time. It’s something the whole family (including your pets) can get involved with: navigating; steering; mooring and lazing about on the deck – there is a way for everyone to join in.
You can go at your own pace, enjoy the sites along the waterways, and stop off wherever you fancy. Whether you’re holidaying on your own, with your partner, with the family or with your mates, there are boats and locations all around the UK to suit all group sizes, budgets and interests.
Explore the mysteries of Scotland
Scotland is home to perhaps the most mysterious body of water in the UK: Loch Ness. The best way to explore this legendary location is a boating holiday on the Caledonian Canal. This spectacular route links Inverness and Corpach as well as taking in a number of freshwater lochs including Loch Lochy, Loch Oich and Loch Ness.
If you fancy a more undiscovered retreat, another option is to leave the lochs. Head to the Isle of Arran on the coast and hire a boat to explore the island. With moody mountains, charming natural springs and masses of beautiful coastline (including palm trees on the south coast!), it’s an ideal option for solitary travellers, couples or small groups looking to enjoy some hiking and wildlife spotting.
Let the charming Welsh countryside enchant you
Some of the UK’s most spectacular national parks and natural beauty spots can be found in Wales, In fact, it’s home to Britain’s first Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty – the gorgeous Gower Peninsula.
Wales now has five AONBs and exploring these by boat is not only affordable, but also allows you to take in the stunning scenery from a different perspective. Popular waterways for boating holidays in Wales include the Llangollen Canal (which crosses the border between England and Wales) and the Monmouthshire and Brecon Canal (which runs through the Brecon Beacons National PArk) – ideal for fun activities with the kids, or a serene escape to nature with your partner.
Experience true natural beauty in Northern Ireland
There is something inherently wild, solitary and yet charming about Northern Ireland’s abounding natural landscape. The freshwater lake Lough Neagh is actually the largest lake in the UK and is a popular boating spot fo rholidaymakers who want to enjoy outdoor activities with their family (such as fishing or sailing).
If you want an urban twist, the other option is to heat to Belfast on the River Lagan, which runs 53.3 miles from the Slieve Croob mountain (County Down) to Belfast.
Discover old-fashioned English villages
England’s waterways are bursting with history, culture adn beautiful surroundings of both rural and urban character. Rural waterways, such as the Kennet and Avon Canal, the Cheshire Ring, the Four Counties Ring and the Warwickshire Ring have countless quintessentially English delights to offer in terms of historic castles, picturesque villages and rolling countryside.
Many cities across the country also have urban waterways, rivers and canal networks to explore including Birmingham, Bath and Bristol. Apart from the Thames, London also has canals in Paddington, Little Venice and West Drayton.
The Norfolk Broads are always one of the most popular options. The Broads cover a 125-mile network of navigable rivers and lakes across Norfolk and Suffolk. You can begin your exploration on the River Yare in Norwich and enjoy a gentle ride through the beautiful scenery of Brundall and Breydon Water on the Southern Broads without a care in the world. The Broads has also held the European Charter for Sustainable Tourism in Protected Areas since 2006 and is in the Top 100 Sustainable Destinations in the UK.
Set sail and stay!
The problem with being able to fly quickly, cheaply and easily is that we often forget to appreciate the natural beauty that we have available at home. England, Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales are home to some of the most tranquil, interesting and exciting locations in the world – and people fly in from all over the world to see them!
So, if you’re worried about selecting your holiday destination, relax. Taking a “staycation” is now in vogue, and exploring the UK by boat is one of the most affordable and memorable ways to spend some quality time with your loved ones and friends.