If you live your daily life in the fast lane, why not put the brakes on and take a holiday, long weekend or day trip in the slow lane on the Great British waterways?  Hiring a narrow boat is a fantastic way to experience the best of the British countryside whether as a family, group of friends or on a romantic getaway for two.
Children will love the novelty of a narrow boat holiday, making it the perfect choice for families.  They can get involved in planning the route, map reading, operating the locks and even scrubbing the deck.  There is an abundance of wildlife to see on the British canals including ducks, swans, kingfishers, toads and even otters.  Maybe they can keep a record of everything they spot!  It is easy to moor up your boat on most canals so you can get off and explore local towns and villages further on foot or bike adding to the adventure.
Let’s take a closer look at the canal break hotspots of the UK…


Llangollen Canal, North Wales
Why not experience canal boat hire from Anglo Welsh?  Possibly one of the most beautiful canals in Britain in the foothills of Snowdonia, the Llangollen canal was built around 200 years ago to aid transport of goods during the industrial revolution.  This 46 mile waterway meanders from the low lying, sheep pastures and farm land of the Cheshire plains, through Shropshire to the beautiful Welsh mountains ending in Llangollen.  With 27 locks to negotiate there is much to see and do along the way.
A highlight of boating on the Llangollen canal is crossing the infamous Pontcysyllte Aqueduct, towering 125 feet above the River Dee.   Considered to be a Welsh National Monument and granted World Heritage status in 2009, it is both the highest and longest (1000 feet) cast iron aqueduct in the world and an incredible feat of engineering.
Llangollen itself is also worth a visit particularly for steam train enthusiasts.  A steam hauled Heritage Railway line runs alongside the River Dee, 7.5 miles from Llangollen Station to the beautiful village of Carrog.  A tourist hot spot.
 Leeds Liverpool Canal
Ship Inn, Lathom
Ship Inn, Lathom

The Leeds Liverpool canal is one of the longest in the country, unique as it crosses the highest mountain chain in Britain (The Pennines).  There are some fabulous pubs on this canal, my personal favourite being “The Ship Inn” in Lathom, serving a range of fine ales (always at least six on offer), premium lager and stouts.  It also boasts a cosy atmosphere with log fires, home cooked food and an annual beer festival.
Another great pub at the other end of the canal in the World Heritage town of Salitaire, Shipley is “The Boathouse Inn” .  Salitaire village was originally founded by leading industrialist Sir Titus Salt in 1853.  Salt built an entire village for his workers to live and work in the wool industry, providing a better quality of life than local competitors.  The original boathouse was built in 1871 and eventually underwent major refurbishment in 2009, resulting in a fabulous, modern pub inside whilst retaining many original features and its historical exterior.  Definitely worth a visit.
Norfolk broads
The Norfolk Broads
The Norfolk Broads

With over 150 miles of lock free waterways the Norfolk Broads (now a protected wetland and National Park) is one of the most popular areas for a British boating holiday.  There are five rivers flowing through the Broads – Bure, Yare, Ant, Thurne and Waveney intertwined with an abundance of shallow, man-made lakes, bridal paths and waterways.  There is so much to see and do on the Norfolk Broads from visiting historical windmills to wind-surfing and fishing.
A highlight is mooring next to the cathedral in the medieval town of Norwich and exploring the culture, shopping and magic of the city.  There is also the attraction of Great Yarmouth, with 15 miles of coastline ranging from secluded, white beaches to family fun, bustling bays.
For something a little different Redwings Horse Sanctuary situated just outside Great Yarmouth is the UKs largest sanctuary for rescued horses, donkeys, ponies and mules.  It is free to visit and ran as a charity.   Visitors are welcomed daily to meet the animals, watch horse care demonstrations and learn more about the charity on a Walk and Talk around the 70 acre site.  There is a children’s play area, café and Horse Wise education centre on site.