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Narrowboat Holidays - A different kind of holiday.

Narrowboat Holidays - A different kind of holiday.
https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/ Photo credit: Elliott Brown

Most people all over the world live in either houses or apartments. Both of those are, despite some minor (or major if you think about Asia) differences, pretty much the same. Boats, on the other hand, are a different beast altogether. I can say that because I had the experience of living inside one for the better part of two months while I cruised the English canals.

It all started with France. I work as a writer and editor from the comfort of my home and planned to spend the summer learning French

Storm on the Horizon

All was well until I was notified that the classes had been pushed back because of some obscure issue and that all reservations would have to be rescheduled or the money refunded. I was depressed since I was looking forward to my semi-holiday in France but a letter from a friend lifted my humour back up. He told me that he was going to take a holiday in a narrowboat and that he needed someone to go with him and help him work the boat. I knew nothing about narrowboats or sailing for that matter, but I knew I didn't want to stay at my apartment and so I signed up immediately.

Narrowboat Tips:

  • Do not bring too much luggage. Folding, collapsible bags are best.

  • Do not bring your best clothes. Remember to bring something warm and something waterproof.

  • Slow down and relax, you are on holiday, not taking part in a race.

  • Walking or sitting on the roof of the boat whilst it is in motion is extremely dangerous. It is easy not to notice the arch of a bridge!

  • If anybody falls in the canal turn off the engine at once.

  • If you are out of the marina, cruise at least five hours a day to keep the power system charged and try not to burn power unnecessarily.


  • A New Experience

    Narrowboats are truly something else. They are narrow, tight, long and heavy. At the same time, they are very comfortable (if you don't mind being a little cramped) and have all the comforts of modern life, including DVDs, oven, showers and even satellite internet!Narrowboats are truly something else. They are narrow, tight, long and heavy. At the same time, they are very comfortable (if you don't mind being a little cramped) and have all the comforts of modern life, including DVDs, oven, showers and even satellite internet! Still you have to have the right spirit for this kind of holiday, it's all about relaxing and really slowing down to enjoy the views and the adventure.

    However the boats don't run by themselves. If you're moored within the marina you can usually get hooked to the mains electricity, but when you are sailing the task to keep the power and water levels high is solely depending upon you. There are also instructors at most places where you can rent one of this boats but even with all the lessons in the world, you are going to learn most of it by trial and error. The flood gates are a prime example of this as you will need both teamwork and precision to get through them. This gives the whole holiday the feeling of an exciting adventure.

    I can tell you that I had a blast riding the narrowboat through the canals of the English countryside. It was an excellent way to slow down and appreciate the views around us. Plus, it was a really great environment to work at. The holidays certainly renewed my creative juices and I recommend them wholeheartedly.