Family Day Out with Narrow Boat
As many families during this summer, we were looking for ways to spend time outdoors. There are several canals within 30 minutes drive and during lockdown we were enjoying numerous walks along the water.
Another way to enjoy the canals is to hire a narrow boat and explore British waterways. This is exactly what we did one Saturday morning with Drifters Waterway Holidays. You can hire a boat for any number of days, but as it was our first time we decided to try out a day outing.
The booking process is very easy and can be done over the email. Joining instructions and some guidelines with regard to boat and navigation will be emailed to you ahead of your visit.
When we arrived at ABC Boat Hire at Gayton Marina, we were shown to our boat Daylark and the engineer talked us through the major points, like turning, stopping and docking. Luckily, my husband was very keen to try his hand at being the captain, so I could relax and trust him with the navigation!
You can dock anywhere along the canal network, avoiding private mooring spaces, so we took the opportunity to stop couple of times for pictures and lunch.
The boat inside is well equipped. I was glad to discover it was also well prepared for any season of the British weather. The outside area can be protected from the elements with plastic cover. Or if rain gets too much, you can hide inside the boat.
There are also rain jackets provided for the captain who always have to steer , no matter the weather. There is even heating if you are boating in the middle of winter! Luckily for us, the weather was nice and we were able to enjoy our outside space to the fullest.
Inside the boat you have a seating area, small stove, sink and a toilet. Cutlery and plates are also provided, so you don’t have to worry about these things. The table can be fixed either inside or outside.
We brought our own lunch and enjoyed sausage rolls, sandwiches and cakes with fresh cups of tea. But if you don’t fancy preparing food in advance, there is a solution. You will pass a few pubs, conveniently located on the canal, so you can stop at any of them and have a classic British lunch with a drink or too.
You will be provided with the map and detailed description of the places that you are passing. If you have time, you can get off and explore nearby countryside or have a cheeky drink or two.
The boat does not travel very quickly, so it is a fantastic way to really relax and just enjoy the world passing by at a slow speed.
My kids loved the day, as we were constantly spotting things on the shore, like animals, old houses and farms. We took some bread to feed the ducks and that was a success. They also wanted to help daddy to steer the boat, so it is a great opportunity to share the knowledge and let them be a captain for a day. We took our fishing net, which was used to catch anything floating past the boat.
There are also plenty of boats moored on either side of the canal, some of them are really interesting with imaginative names, or paintings or pots of flowers or pirate regalia. You literally do not have to do anything, the entertainment comes to you on the boat.
While we were on the canal we saw plenty of families enjoying a similar day out. There was also a couple of birthday parties in fancy dresses.
I thought the boat day hire was a great opportunity to try this activity without a week long commitment. The whole family loved the day and we are definitely thinking of having a longer break some time next year.
Boat holiday is a great solution in the time of the pandemic. The boat is hired by a single household and you are able to enjoy a bit of exploration without depending on other people.
Britain is criss-crossed with canals and waterways, so if you fancy something similar Drifters Waterway Holidays offer plenty of locations in the UK with various routes and durations. Give it a go- ahoy!
Disclaimer: Our visit was hosted by Drifters Waterway Holidays, but all opinions are my own.