Canal Holiday Activities
Plenty To Do On The Canals… from walking to sightseeing to fishing to cycling … or just laying back and relaxing!
- Relaxing, enjoy the company of friends, watch the countryside slip by.
- Working the boat and locks; steering, winding lock paddles and pushing lock gates.
- Walking the towpath, footpaths and lanes, Cycling the towpath and to local villages
- Sight seeing; stately homes and gardens, castles and shopping for local village produce.
- Fishing in the canals is encouraged with a permit, but swimming is not allowed.
So Much To Do On A Canal Holiday.
If you fancy cruising through the countryside just chilling with a half-full cup of tea in your hand, curling up with a good book by the barbeque as the sun sets and sleeping a deep and deserved sleep, then you’re in the perfect place – a canal cruise has to be one of the most relaxing holidays.
But if you’re interested in history, walking, the environment, nature, folk-art, canoeing, photography, drawing, different cultures, ambling through rural villages, eating and drinking, or even going clubbing in some of England’s most vibrant cities then the canals can offer those too. And don’t forget just enjoying fresh air and good company!
Some people choose canal holidays for the pleasure of cruising for cruising’s sake, but you may have a specific agenda. Perhaps you want to travel through an area of interest, see familiar territory with fresh eyes or visit special places, such as museums, historic towns, tunnels, viaducts, ‘gatherings’ or festivals. With a bit of planning, your canal holiday can be tailored to your own tastes.
Are There Places to Visit?
There are lots of castles, stately homes, gardens, nature reserves, golf courses and other attractions canalside or within easy walking distance. See our Places to Visit FAQ.
Can We Go Shopping?
There are lots of canalside gift shops selling painted canalware and holiday mementos. In some places you can find art galleries or pottery workshops. Or your holiday boat could even provide the ideal city centre base for a ‘shop till you drop’ session!
Can We Go Fishing In The Canals, Or Go Swimming?
Fishing is the most popular sport in the UK, much of it in canals which are normally well stocked with fish. Permits are needed in most cases, your hire boat or hotel boat firm will advise.
Swimming is not allowed, canals are fairly clean but shallow and often muddy and can contain underwater objects. There is also the danger of catching Weil’s disease if you have open cuts.
What Can The Kids Do?
If you want some ideas about keeping the younger members of the family occupied see our Family Holidays FAQ.
Can We Take Bikes, Paddleboards, Canoes?
Many of the canal towpaths of England and Wales are bike-friendly and having access to a bike is a good way to open up the countryside around the canals. Bikes can sometimes be stored on a deck or even the roof of the boat.
Paddleboards and Canoes might also seem like some useful ‘cargo’ but they have to be stowed somewhere safe too. Hire boat decks are usually designed for people, not bikes or boards. Roof storage can be a problem with low bridges and tunnels, and if your bike or board damages the boat the cost will not usually be met by the hire firm’s insurance. You must check with the hire company prior to departure.