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Canal boat(15 Posts)
Has anyone ever been on a canal boat holiday? Is it hard work? I’m a bit nervous I’ll be hopeless at it & end up staying in one place for a week!
It's the best holiday ever. I grew up on boat holidays and then went on my honeymoon on a narrow boat.
It's so much fun. Locks are hard work if there's only a couple of you but if you don't have many to go through it's fine! There's normally a pub at the end anyway!
Opposite point of view here. I had my honeymoon on one too, DH really fancied it, and I didn't object, so.... But we are over 50, and not very fit, so it was a lot more physical than we imagined, leaping off the boat to tie it up, DH dangling into the engine every morning to check the oil. Also, things kept getting caught on the propellor, involving more dangling into the base of the boat. Locks are harder work for one person (DH steered, I did locks). On the plus side saw lots of herons, and even a kingfisher one day. Might be an idea to hire a boat for a day, to see how you got on?
Really great, done it a couple of times, once with friends (stopping at pubs along the way) once with family. Wouldn't take young kids and you have to be comfortable hopping on and off but it's great fun.
We've done it twice with kids (well once with a non mobile baby, once with 3 kids aged between 7 and 12 at the time). Both were good holidays although the older 2 children did the locks most of the time which initially was a bit of a worry (to me, not them or DH).
Wouldn't do it with a child under 5 or 6, nor with most teens - depending on personality.
I went on an awful canal boat holiday with parents and younger siblings as a mid teen but it was down to the sibling dynamic, struggling with being essentially trapped with my family for a week and rather intense parental expectations of performing gratitude and togetherness! I actually left the holiday mid week and went home alone by train, which possibly most parents wouldn't allow these days... Previous to that holiday I'd enjoyed a canal boat holiday with my family at age about 11.
We own a Dutch barge which we keep in France. We’ve done canal holidays here. I’m less keen on UK canals as they are so crowded,some being almost motorways with hen and stag parties.
Positives are lovely waterside pubs, gentle pace of life, relaxation, helpful live aboard people and camaraderie with others.
Negatives are very hot in warm weather, dull in between locks unless you like reading and board games and the crowds. Bradford upon Avon is a queue. A pretty queue but a queue nevertheless.
We like French canals as we can moor anywhere, have few other boats anywhere near us, deserted towpaths that the dog can trot happily along and automatic locks and connected waterways system. Much more varied cruising and scenery plus good wine.
In UK I’d not want more than a long weekend, to be honest.
Our is surprisingly hard work but then it’s unsurprising that moving a 26 metre steel hulled bathtub by rope is definitely a good way to work the abdominal muscles. British locks are physically harder than French ones but French ones are deeper and there’s ladder climbing involved to tie up. We sleep very well with combination of boat handling and cycling on towpath with doggo and collecting kindling and logs for the wood burner.
Thank you for the replies. Don’t sure if I feel better about it . I have a 3 year old & a 9 year old so it probably wasn’t the best choice but we don’t have to pay for it so just said yes! We’re starting in Worcester which I think is quite nice so maybe we won’t travel too much...
You definitely won’t travel too much! We rarely do more than about 10 miles on a busy day. The 9 year old will be useful at locks nd the three year old can feed the ducks. It will be lovely but not quite as relaxing as it can be without children. Worcestershire is very pretty.
Oh god, no way would I find a canal boat holiday with a 3 year old relaxing.
Locks can be bloody dangerous. 3 year olds cooped up in the cabin or lurching around in the roof.
Add in horrible chemical toilets, being in a cramped narrow space to cook...
3 year old is going to be a bit of a challenge - life jacket at all times outside the cabin and will need watching like a hawk at locks. 9 year old and one parent operating the boat, other parent guarding the 3 year old! Or is this a holiday with other people, given you said you don't have to pay?
We went in October or November last year, it was my first time and probably last.
The in-law invited us and it was free so we thought why not.
There was 6 of us, myself, my partner, our two kids (3&4 at the time) and the in-laws
It was bloody boring, it got dark early and the tv barely worked.
The kids had an okay time, but there isn’t a lot for them to do.
We walked along the canal with the dog, had lunch, played board games, more walking, ate in some nights, went to pubs other nights.
That is literally most weekends at home for us, so it’s not really a holiday in my eyes.
I went on loads of canal boat holidays as a child. It is doable with a 3 year old, but yes life jacket is a must and also watch your 9 year old if they are not confident swimmers especially around locks. I used to steer the narrow boat aged 9 into the lock and do the locks with the key, but I stopped after my younger brother fell off a lock gate and nearly got sucked down. Make sure you stop near pubs with good play areas to let the kids burn off steam and take lots of colouring/board games/tablets with fav TV shows to keep them quiet.
Should have stuck with Butlin’s
Im possibly going next year on my friend’s 40th. Just for 2 nights and 5 of us going. Can’t wait if its booked!