Fun on the Canals

As mentioned under the Narrowboat section, on England’s canals, you’re going to be travelling roughly 3 – 4 mph.  How can you have fun going so slowly?  Well, here’s some things you’ll enjoy seeing and doing along the way.

English Scenery 

Is watching beautiful countryside pass by at a few miles an hour fun?  We think so.  Here are a few of our pictures.


Susan feeding the swans on a sunny morning.



People on horseback riding over a bridge.  In the distance is a tunnel we’re approaching.



Boats moored along the side of the canal.



Puttering slowly along on a bright afternoon.


You’ll be Busy


Besides enjoying the beautiful English countryside, locks, bridges and tunnels will keep you on your toes.


Locks are part of the canal experience.  You’ll likely be working your way through ten or more locks every day.

Pat & Terry push gate

They’re not difficult to operate, and are great exercise.  All you and your crew will need is some teamwork and coordination.


On your canal holiday you’ll have two choices for eating: eat in a pub or eat on board. Many of the pubs along the canals have been there since the freight-hauling canal days of the 1800’s.  They’re a great place to stop for lunch or dinner, or just an afternoon pint of ale.



The beer is local, and the food is good, simple fare.


Sometimes you just like to stay on board for dinner and watch TV or read a book.  After all, you’ve had a busy day!


You are totally on your own schedule

You can take an afternoon off if you like and explore a village, or just take a nap!


A narrowboat holiday is a great way to meet people.  Locals in shops, pubs, or on the canals quickly pick up on your American accent, and love to chat you up.  As the canal system runs through many out-of-the-way towns and villages, Yanks are a bit of a novelty.  You can be the diversion of the moment, and learn a little about the locals!


Here Susan and a fellow traveler discuss lock entry strategy.

If you’re lucky you might get yourself invited into someone else’s bachelor’s party!

Pat & Horned Man

Warning: An English canal boating holiday is not for everyone.  You will not enjoy this vacation if:

You need lots of activity and/or an adrenalin rush to have a memorable vacation.  You’re the kind of person who’s up for visiting seven cities in seven days in order to jam in as much as you can.


You’re more comfortable in groups where someone pampers you, caters to your every need and shows you the sites.  For you, that might include getting somewhat vegetative for a week or more to charge your batteries.

This kind of vacation is neither.  While you’re moving and making decisions all day long in a very different environment, it’s not dangerous, nor does it take special skills.  On the other hand, it’s definitely not sedentary, you are on your own (no tour guides), and you find yourself driving the most “extreme” vehicle you can imagine yourself driving.

But maybe, like us, you’ll love it.  Every day is a new adventure.  Driving a narrowboat is challenging and fun.  You’ll enjoy a great sense of personal accomplishment, meet great people, and just have yourself a uniquely British holiday experience!

Write us, and we’d love to tell you more, and maybe even help you plan your English canal holiday!