When my husband suggested spending a day overlooking the English countryside via canal boat, I was immediately on-board. I've seen canal boats in England, and I was always intrigued by them. My kids loved the idea too, and I have a few tips to share with you if you're considering taking your kids on a canal boat ride.
1) Be prepared - Once you're out on the canal, you don't want to have to turn back for anything. There were a some pubs on our route, but other than that, we had to come prepared with everything we needed for the day. My mother in law packed a lovely picnic with lots of snacks and we were happy to have some cold beverages since it was a very warm day. Other essentials included sunscreen, antibacterial hand cleaner and a good camera for capturing all of the views from the canal.
2) Rent a day boat before deciding to cruise the canal for an extended period of time. We had a fantastic day on the canal, but I don't think my sons, ages 5 & 7, would have been able to spend much more time on the boat. Like most kids their age, my sons are very active, and I think they would've gotten bored if we had rented the boat for several days or a week. Maybe when they are a bit older, but for now, one day was just right.
3) Go with friends or family. We were lucky to have some family with us on our canal boat ride and it really was a life saver. The boat was very easy to maneuver, but it takes a bit of strength and focus, so my husband and I took turns as captain. It was nice being able to trade off every once in a while so that the other one could relax. Having our family there was great too, because we had a few extra sets of hands available to help make sure the kids were happy and safe. I don't think we couldn't have done so well if it was just my family of 4. I think having friends or family with you is essential.
To sum up our day on the canal... The weather was great, we were with good company, and it was the first time my kids and I got to go on a narrow boat! It was an experience we all really enjoyed and I would definitely do it again some time.
Have you ever spent the day on a canal boat? Is this something you'd like to do with your family?
The company we used to rent our canal boat: Heritage Narrow Boats