If you fancy taking a romantic and relaxing holiday on the canals of Britain, but dont fancy steering the boat, working the locks and cooking, why not try a narrowboat hotel?
What is a Narrowboat?
Narrowboats are named after their special design, which allows them to fit in the locks on the UK canal system. Usually a narrowboat is no more than 6ft 10in wide and the maximum length is 72ft.
What is a Narrowboat Hotel?
The name says it all. You will travel on a narrowboat (or pair of narrowboats) that are floating hotels. This is one of the most relaxing holidays you will ever find as everything is done for you. You dont even have to decide where you are going to go each day just let the boat take you. The only decision you have to make is whether to stay on board and relax, or perhaps disembark and walk along the towpath for a while.
You will be served delicious, home cooked food for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Your morning coffee will come with home cooked biscuits and your afternoon tea will be accompanied by home baked cakes.
A Typical Day at a Narrowboat Hotel
Your day will begin with a cup of tea at around 8am. If it is a nice day, you might fancy a walk before enjoying your choice of breakfast. There is always a cooked breakfast available. While you are having breakfast a crew member will usually tell you about the menu for the rest of the day. This gives you the chance to say if there is anything that you dont like, or would prefer not to be served. Usually, when you book your cruise, you will be asked if you have any special dietary requirements or specific dislikes. If you do, it is important to say so that the crew can buy appropriate supplies.
After breakfast your boat will slip her moorings and start the days journey along the canal. You can stay on board and relax, watching the scenery move gently past, or you can walk along the tow path. You wont get left behind as the boats move at a maximum speed of 3pmh. You can usually walk for as long as you want. Ask your host before you start about possible rejoining points.
Morning coffee is usually served with homemade biscuits to keep you fortified until lunch. Your boats will probably moor up for lunch. Lunch is always homemade and often a light snack. If the weather is good, lunch may be served as a picnic.
After lunch, your boat will continue on its leisurely journey past constantly changing scenery. At mid afternoon you will be served afternoon tea, with homemade cakes.
Your boat will usually moor up for the day around 5 6pm, to give the crew time to cook your excellent homemade dinner. Some boats even allow you to prepare your own dinner. Wine is usually served at dinner time and there is usually a bar if you fancy a drink after dinner whilst relaxing with your fellow passengers and reflecting on your day.
Every evening your boat will moor in a different place. Sometimes you will moor close to a town, sometimes you will moor in the peace and tranquillity of open countryside. Sometimes you will moor surprisingly close to an excellent hostelry!
If your journey takes you past historic sites or towns, the boats will often moor up to give you a chance to explore.
Where can I go?
The canal and river network of the UK is extensive. Most narrowboat hotels leave their winter moorings in Spring and travel extensively around the country, before returning to their winter moorings in Autumn.
When can I go?
Most companies operate between March/April and Sept/Oct, giving you the opportunity to enjoy your favourite season afloat from the spring sunshine and wildflowers, through heady days of summer to the subtle colours and shades of Autumn.
Narrowboat hotels, as the names suggest, are narrow since they travel in canals. Take soft luggage and minimum possible luggage.
Narrowboat hotel companies
You can choose holidays offered by a range of companies, and this excellent website http://boatingbreaks.org.uk has all the information you need, including schedules, prices and contact details. http://www.moonboats.co.uk/ offers more luxurious holidays on the canals.
If you fancy a relaxing, get away from it all break then you cant beat a trip on a hotel narrowboat. Travel with friends or family, or travel alone and make new friends. Whichever company you choose to travel with I am sure you will have a wonderful holiday and return home, rested, relaxed and rejuvenated.