Canal boat trips win the hearts of countless holiday-makers every year by offering the best of both worlds – all the comforts of a cosy home-away-from-home combined with that 'on the road' excitement of exploring pastures new.
Even beginners will find they learn the ropes quickly (if you need a hand, check out our guide to hiring a canal boat) and that it doesn't take long before you are manning your own boat.
Sedately floating along an intricate network of glittering waterways, wending your way through rolling green hills, chocolate box villages and patchwork fields, you can absorb all the tranquility of nature and leave the concerns of everyday life behind.
So, where are the top destinations for your canal boat holiday? We have picked a few of our favourites to share:
This stunning part of Britain is renowned for being the country's largest protected wetland, enticing over seven million visitors to its banks every year. Nature lovers come to marvel at the abundance of wildlife such as otters, voles, butterflies and deer, as well as the rare and beautiful plants of the region.
The idyllic waterways offer glorious scenery with quaint villages and market towns to visit en route, plus a handy collection of convenient moorings means you can dine at a waterside pub should it take your fancy or stretch your legs with a country walk.
Kennet and Avon Canal
This notoriously lovely selection of waterways spiderwebs the countryside between Bristol and Reading, taking in endlessly charming countryside scenes and running through vibrant cities, picturesque villages and bustling market towns on a tour of the south west of England.
Highlights include the magnificent Georgian architecture of Bath, the undulating hills and farmland of Wiltshire, the floating harbour of Bristol and the Dundas Aqueduct.
Canal du Midi
Explore the delights of the French countryside with a canal boat holiday along the Canal du Midi, a UNESCO World Heritage Site which meanders its way through some of the most picturesque destinations in southern France.
Expect fortified towns of gleaming white stone, solitary monasteries and quirky medieval villages, brimming with rural charm. Additionally, those who love to be beside the seaside will be happy to hear your canal boat can take you all the way to the cornflower blue of the Mediterranean where you can visit the beaches and dine on sumptuous seafood to your heart's content.
The 78 mile long Oxford Canal links historic Oxford with Coventry in the centre of England and is commonly thought to be one of the prettiest canal routes in the country.
Free from large-scale development, this region offers a unique glimpse into the past with traditional villages and pubs boasting architecture that dates back to the 18th century. We love the postcard perfect village of Thrupp where you can indulge in a leisurely lunch or sample a selection of real ales at the waterside pub.
From the famous Pontcysyllte Aqueduct (pictured) to the staircase locks at Grindley Brook, this 90-mile canal route in Wales offers a host of breathtaking sights.
For a short break, opt for the gentler 30 mile long canal section between Llangollen and Whitchurch which includes only 2 locks.