If you’re looking for something a bit different for your next trip away, how about a houseboat holiday? Being free to discover new places each day, while meandering through quiet waterways and beautiful scenery, could be just the change you need.
Today’s holiday trends are about all things quirky. So floating holidays on yachts, motor boats, narrow boats or barges, though relatively commonplace, are popular choices amongst anyone looking for a slight change from the type of UK holiday homes most of us are used to.
A quick online search for houseboats brings up information on boating holidays on lakes, canals and lagoons the world over. So soon you could be on your boat, flying a Jolly Roger, for a fortnight or two, anywhere you wish – try the UK, Amsterdam or France or maybe further afield in the USA, Canada or exotic locations in India.
Where to go – a brief guide
First, let’s sail within England’s fair shores, on the River Thames. This is a firm favourite amongst holidaymakers as you can stop off along the Thames Path and visit London’s Tower of London, the Houses of Parliament, Big Ben and the London Eye, as well as soaking up the vibes of the city. Other popular English waterways for boating holidays include the Grand Union and Oxford canals, as well as the peaceful lakes and waterways of the Norfolk Broads.
Ireland is speckled with over 300 miles of lakes and connecting rivers and canals to choose from for your houseboat holiday. A boat is the perfect way to enjoy the atmosphere and make the most of traditional Irish hospitality in pubs and eateries along the way. For peaceful waters, ideal for fishing, try the quiet Upper and Lower Lough Erne lakes. Alternatively, you can glide along the River Shannon or along the Grand Canal and Barrow systems for even quieter waters.
Bonnie Scotland with its highland scenery plus countless canal cruises has plenty to offer. Popular for quiet houseboat holidays are the Union, Caledonian or Forth and Clyde canals. You can float towards the country’s capital, Edinburgh, and view its castle or bob along to the city of Glasgow for some great shops and museums.
Running through one of the most stunning areas of Wales, the Monmouthshire and Brecon Canal stretches 37 miles and offers peaceful, beautiful countryside with very few boats on this part of Wales’ waterways. Stop off at the market town of Brecon (check out the prestigious Brecon Jazz Festival in late summer), Hay-on-Wye and Five Locks in Cwmbran. There will also be ample opportunity to meet the locals and enjoy interesting villages, excellent restaurants and bars along the way.
The opportunities for worldwide houseboat holidays are of course endless, but many of the most popular countries to drop anchor in are in Europe: notably, France’s region of Burgundy, favoured by wine and food buffs for its beauty and peaceful moorings on the Burgundy Canal. Simply float along at your leisure, stopping off at vineyards and prestigious restaurants of your choice – an experience which is likely to be a great alternative to many of the more usual French holiday homes you may find online. Meanwhile, the Loire, Brittany and the Canal du Midi are as highly regarded for houseboat holidays in France. Boating, as well as cycling, is of course a way of life in Holland and a break in Amsterdam on a houseboat can be a great alternative to a pricey hotel or guest house. Moorings are often placed near to surrounding shops, restaurants and cafes, ideal for soaking up the atmosphere.
For a voyage further afield, India keeps coming up trumps with online searches as we land on the beautiful and traditional houseboats (Kettuvallum) in the area of Kerala. These boats were originally used for transporting goods before roads and bridges were built throughout the Kuttanad region of Kerala. They can now be rented out, fully renovated, with all the comforts of home.
Alternatively, Canada and the United States are as popular, offering countless boating holidays to choose from, from stylish Sausalito boats in San Francisco and five-star houseboats in the heart of Arizona to family-sized houseboats on the lakes of British Columbia, or on the St Lawrence River with its 1,000 islands just waiting for you to stop and drop anchor.
Looking for Travel Insurance?
If you’re off on a boating holiday soon, don’t forget to get a travel insurance quote from Staysure. We cover cruise and boating holidays at sea (with qualified crew and within 17 miles of the coastline). We are award-winning specialists at providing travel insurance for the over 50s. Our policies enable you to enjoy your holiday with peace of mind, safe in the knowledge that help is at hand, even if you have pre-existing medical conditions.
If you would like more information, give our travel insurance specialists a call on 0800 033 4902 and they will be glad to help. Alternatively, you can get an online quote in a matter of minutes.