By: Wayne Barker
Sometimes going to the same place year after year for your holiday can become a little tiresome; sometimes you fancy something a little bit different. If you yearn for a holiday that is both relaxing, filled with great scenery and still retains some of the comforts of home you could do a lot worse than a canal boat holiday. If you haven’t ever considered one of these kinds of holiday you are in for a real treat.
Canal holidays are one of the greatest ways to bring a family together and (barring the sometimes erratic English weather) can be a great way to unwind and just take it easy.
Here are 10 reasons why you should ditch Benidorm this year and go on a canal boat holiday:
1. Its kid-friendly – while you might think children and confined spaces don’t mix, there’s plenty for kids to do on a canal holiday. And unless the weather’s dreadful, apart from sleeping, you’re not likely to spend much time on the boat. There are too many places to see and visit.
2. Its pet-friendly – if you don’t want to leave your dog at home, or shell out for boarding kennels, many operators allow dogs on board. And the amount of walking you’ll do makes this a fantastic holiday for dogs. Just remember to bring blankets for them to protect sofas and bedding.
3. You can go wherever you like – Unlike some holidays where you’re tied into a package deal, hiring a canal boat gives you a lot of freedom. Many operators offer a choice of different cruising routes, so you can simply pick whichever one appeals to you most and visit the places that interest you.
4. You can come and go as you please – You don’t have to stay on the boat at all times. If you pass something or somewhere that interests you, you can simply moor the boat and explore, obviously making sure you choose a suitable spot.
5. You can bring your bike. Boat hire companies will usually allow you to take a limited number of bikes on board with you. Towpaths and country lanes are perfect for taking the family on exploratory bike rides.
6. It’s perfect for beginners and canal enthusiasts. You don’t have to have the experience to drive a canal boat. Boat hire companies provide full training before you leave their premises, during which time staff is on hand to answer your questions and put to rest any concerns you might have.
7. You’ll see places you’d not get to see otherwise, and discover some hidden gems. It’s amazing the kinds of sites that you will see that other people won’t – just because they are out of the reach of the city center!
8. You can enjoy the great outdoors. Although you will spend a lot of time on the boat you will be driving from the outside and if the weather is good there is nothing more relaxing than sunbathing on the top of the boat (it beats the business of a beach and you don’t have the screaming kids that sometimes are obligatory at6 a hotel pool!)
9. It is fun whatever the weather! Yes, the English weather is erratic but the inside of a narrowboat is cozy and you can really connect as a family – something that seems to be getting lost in modern life.
10. It’s wallet-friendly! With people still tightening their belts you can be sure that you are going to be spending a bomb on useless souvenirs and overpriced hotel bar drinks.
Leave your preconceptions at the door and try a different kind of holiday this year – you never know what you are going to discover!
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When not dreaming of what to do for a holiday next year (we all need at least two!) Wayne Barker writes for Hire A Canal Boat, one of the largest providers of luxury narrowboat hire in the UK.