Since ancient times people have assigned healing properties to water and many recent studies have concluded that time spent by water makes people feel happier and more relaxed.
Water makes up 70 per cent of the human body and around 70 per cent of the Earth, so perhaps it’s not surprising we are drawn to it. In his book ‘Blue Mind’, marine biologist Walter J Nicholls describes the immeasurable sense of peace we feel around water as our “blue mind”, saying “when we are by the water it…cuts us off from the rattle and hum of modern society.”
Last year, The Canal & River Trust, the charity that cares for our 2,000 mile network of canals and rivers, published research that shows spending time by the waterways can make you happier and improve your life satisfaction. And the report shows that the associated benefits of visiting a canal or river increase with the length of visit – with higher levels of happiness and lower levels of anxiety for longer trips.
So why not take the chance to escape the hyper-connected, over-stimulated modern day life by taking a relaxing break on the canals.
We’ve put together our Top 5 reasons why a canal boat holiday can help you relax and unwind:
Escape to the country – there are over 4,000 miles of navigable canals and rivers to explore in Britain, many of them passing through tranquil unspoilt countryside, so a canal boat holiday is a great way to escape from urban living
Connect with nature – Our inland waterways are havens for wildlife, providing homes for many types of birds, plants, animals and insects, so it’s a great way to connect with nature
Slow down – the speed limit on the waterways is just four miles per hour, so you’ll immediately switch into a much more slower pace of life
Bring your pets – interacting with animals is said to reduce anxiety and we welcome one or two pets on all our boats, so you can bring your furry friends along for an extra stress busting boost
Enjoy an outdoor workout – exercise also helps to reduce stress, and with locks to open and close, towpaths to walk, local attractions to explore and plenty of fresh air, a narrowboat holiday can provide an excellent outdoor workout.
By Kevin Yarwood, manager of our Great Haywood canal boat rental base
We know – through the many comments we get about greener boating and the sales of aquatic-friendly ‘Poddy’ cleaning products in our boat yard shops – that many of our customers are keen to be as environmentally friendly as possible on their canal boat holiday.
Here at Anglo Welsh, we are gradually taking steps to help reduce our footprint, particularly when it comes to designing our new boats. For example all our new Bond, Heritage and Constellation class boats have energy efficient LED lighting and the latest engines with lower emissions.
To help spread the word, here are 10 reasons why narrowboat holidays are a greener holiday option, and the best ways to reduce your impact on the environment while afloat:
Reduce your carbon footprint – an Anglo Welsh holiday has at a 20 times smaller carbon footprint than a two-hour flight, and as soon as you swap your car for one of our well-maintained boats, you’ll be using a third of the fuel and emitting a sixth of the pollution. Plus, by heating your water from the engine and charging your batteries while cruising, you can further reduce your carbon footprint while away.
Enjoy the fresh air – there are over 2,000 miles of navigable canals and rivers in England and Wales, many running through long stretches of countryside where the air is cleaner, fresher and more invigorating.
Get in touch with nature – look out for the many species of wildlife that live on our waterways, including the more frequently sited ducks, swans, damselflies, dragonflies, hedgerow birds and fish, as well as protected species like water voles, otters and kingfishers, and you’ll feel closer to nature.
Recycle more – we offer good recycling facilities at all our yards, so separate your recyclables whilst on the boat and if you miss recycling opportunities on your journey, you can dispose of them responsibly on your return.
Use green cleaning products – be kinder to the environment and aquatic life by using the Poddy cleaning products provided onboard and bring microbead free toiletries with you for your holiday afloat.
Burn greener fuels – if you book one of our boats with a multi fuel stove, burn the environmentally friendly fire logs provided (and also available in our shop at Great Haywood) as these are made from recycled sawdust and wax instead of coal.
Bring your own hot drinks cups – so if you stop off to buy a coffee somewhere on your narrowboat holiday you won’t need a ‘difficult to recycle’ disposable cup.
Reduce your use of plastic bottles – you can use water from the boat’s tank to make a cup of tea but you will need to stock up on drinking water, so we suggest bringing one large bottle or canteen, decanting it into reusable cups and topping up at water points.
Bring your own shopping bags – ready for shop-stops en route and avoid products with excess packaging.
Bag all rubbish – help keep rubbish and plastic out of our waterways by making sure all your bin bags are tied securely so they can’t spill open, and only dispose of your bagged domestic rubbish inside bins marked domestic waste.
We feel better by the water – Since ancient times, people have assigned healing properties to water and today we still turn to water for a sense of calm. With hundreds of miles of tranquil unspoilt countryside to cruise gently through, a canal boat holiday is an excellent way to unwind.
Our canals are in great shape – With over £1billion invested since the turn of the Millennium, Britain’s beautiful canal network is in better shape than ever so it’s the perfect time to dip your toe in the water.
You don’t need to be an expert – A licence isn’t required to steer a narrowboat and boat steering tuition is provided as part of our holiday packages, so it couldn’t be easier to get afloat.
Ditch those tablets – Boating offers plenty of activities to keep idle hands busy – steering the boat, working the locks and planning the route, so iPad addicts are happy to take a break from their screens.
Pop into a pub – There are hundreds of waterside pubs to enjoy along our canals and rivers, many of them historic inns, welcoming families with traditional pub grub.
It’s like a floating safari – Our inland waterways are havens for wildlife providing homes for many types of birds, plants, animals and insects, so narrowboat holiday-makers can enjoy watching out for wildlife along the way.
Enjoy an outdoor workout – Working the locks, exploring local attractions, walking the towpaths and being out in the fresh air make a narrowboat holiday great for keeping fit.
You can take your dog – We welcome dogs on all our boats so you don’t have to leave your furry friend behind and rack-up doggy care bills.
Go for the greener way – As soon as you swap your car for a boat, you’ll be using a third of the fuel and emitting a sixth of the pollution so as well as enjoying the environment, you’ll be kinder to it.
Take a floating history lesson – Britain’s canal network is a ‘working heritage’ made up of thousands of historic structures, which were often world-firsts on the global civil engineering stage – like the incredible Pontcysyllte Aqueduct in North Wales, now a World Heritage site.
To book a holiday or break on any of Anglo Welsh’s fleet, call our friendly booking team on 0117 304 1122.
We offer a range of different types of holidays such as City Breaks, Relaxation Cruises and Popular Destinations
So why choose Anglo Welsh?
More than 55 years providing unique canal boat holidays.
Modern & spacious narrowboat holiday fleet – from 2 to 12 berths.
Wide choice of narrowboat hire locations and canal.
Canal boat holiday routes for novices & experienced boaters.
Flexible holiday booking, no hidden costs.
Family friendly holidays, pets also welcome.