A canal boat holiday is the perfect way to experience the beautiful English countryside from a unique angle in the most relaxing way possible. Glide along the glassy water ways and enjoy the freedom of being at the helm of a gently moving vessel.
Canal boat holidays make a great gift for someone like your dad, who always presents a conundrum with Christmas looming. They are also a fantastic choice for families with children and people who want to bring along their dog.
Watch this cheerful little video to get a taste of life on the open canal.
For an idea of how to go about booking a canal boat holiday, read the four P's below.
Pick a waterway
The first thing you need to decide is which waterway you wish to explore. Most of the best kept canals are located in the midlands; from Bath up to Leeds. Take a look at this UK canal map, which details all of the routes on offer.
If you, or the person you are booking for, is new to canal boats, then ensure that the route you pick is suitable for beginners.
You don't need a license to drive a canal boat, however you will need to take instruction from whoever you hire off before "setting sail". Accidents are very rare, given the 4 mph speed limit and the design of the boats, however some basic knowledge and common sense is required.
Prices do vary with the seasons; the summer months of June, July and August being the most expensive time. During this period, a self drive hire boat for two people for a week will be in the region of £400. This is purely a rough guide, as costs between companies and various boat types vary greatly. However, you can always rest assured that the cost of a canal boat is cheaper than most hotels.
There are lots of perks to holidaying in this way. You aren't restricted to one location and get to explore miles of stunning scenery, stopping off at little villages or even cities that take your fancy and enjoying a refreshing new view with each passing minute.
If you're a dog owner, lots of the boats for are pet friendly and so it's possible to take them along with you. Dogs tend to love canal boat holidays, with all that fresh air and more walk options than you can shake a stick at.