The Tranquility of Canal Boat Holidays on Britain's Waterways.
This is probably the best way in the world to escape the rat race. It must be one of Britain's finest secret assets, a legacy left to us by an era set in the industrial revolution by the engineers and navvies who changed the face of our landscape for ever. Names like Thomas Telford, William Jessop and James Brindley were the main pioneers and in more recent times Tom Rolt and Robert Aickman. These two men were responsible for the revival and restoration of many waterways after canal transport was superseded by rail and road. For years since the Second World War the canals were left in decline and many turned into stinking ditches filled with mud and litter. After countless man hours by enthusiasts and volunteers many of these canals have been restored to a navigable condition for us to enjoy today. Although there are still some areas where commercial traffic is utilised, the main traffic on the canals today is from the leisure industry and there are many companies now offering canal boat holidays like Anglo Welsh all over Britain.
So why choose a canal boat holiday? Well, there are many reasons. Britain holds some of the very best scenery in the world, much of which you can't see from a car or coach and in a canal boat at four miles an hour there's plenty of time to enjoy it. And then there's the wild life. Herons adorn the banks and towpaths and then you get that glimpse of electric blue as the kingfisher dashes past on its way to the next over hanging branch to await and capture it's next meal. Red kites patrol the skies and voles swim the waters, and if you're very lucky you might even see an otter.
The landscape is forever changing as you move along, from the rural and isolated to the industrial and derelict to the modern and redeveloped, and with careful planning you can choose your mooring. In fact you can wake up in the morning to a different garden every day and you don't have to mow the grass. Restaurants and pubs are in plentiful supply if you choose not to eat on board and there's often one or two nearby to choose from.
So what are the boats like? Today they are well equipped with all the galley facilities you would expect in your own kitchen at home. There's central heating for Spring, Autumn or even Winter cruising, and for those who like extended cruising there's even a washing machine/tumble dryer. Bathroom facilities include a shower, basin and pump out toilet and some boats have a bath. The boats are easy to handle in the water and a crew of two or more make light work of the locks where you can meet other boaters and you always get a cheery wave and a "good morning" from people you meet along the way.
So when your nearest and dearest asks "Let's go to the beach", or "let's holiday abroad", or "let's take a coach trip this year" - I've got a better idea, why not go on a canal boat holiday instead? You won't be disappointed.
The writers of Travels on Tranquility have no association with advertisers on this page.