Taking a family holiday on the Inland Waterways is one of the easiest ways of getting on the water. Whether you’re on a narrow boat in the Manchester Ship Canal, sailing a traditional gaff rig boat on the Norfolk Broads or on a motor cruiser on one of Scotland’s Lochs, you’re sure to be savouring all that Britain can offer. And once you’ve got it mastered why not persuade your family to go to Europe, there are plenty of waterways to explore there too.
Built in the 18th and 19th Centuries as a transport system, the Inland Waterways of Britain are rich in industrial heritage, urban scenery and culture. There is no better way to explore the unknown and mostly forgotten areas of our country than by boat.
Sum it up
Gentle and relaxing, Inland Waterways is all about slowing down and enjoying the countryside. You can take your time explore Britain using the huge network of canals, rivers and lakes.
Try it out
There are many companies across Britain and Europe that have a range of boats available for hire and most provide the necessary tuition for your family to take a boat out safely for the first time.
What you'll need
When your family hire a boat it should come equipped with all the safety kit and buoyancy aids you will need. Some boats also come with very basic wet weather clothing but you may want to bring your own.
Think about packing non slip deck shoes, a torch, hard wearing gloves (to operate the locks), a canal guide and a map. Warm clothing for the cool evenings and walking shoes are also a good idea.
Get a qualification
The RYA offers a one day Inland Waterways Helmsman’s Course (minimum age 12) which will give you enough knowledge to navigate the Inland Waterways safely with the supervision of a responsible adult, or the one day Inland Waterways Crew Course (minimum age 8) where you can learn about being a useful crew member.
Please be aware that age restrictions apply for certain courses.
More information here on Inland Cruising
Find books for your course at the RYA Shop
Our handy guide shows the books & DVDs that go with your course!