Our line-up of luxury UK breaks afloat will inspire you to get on the water...
There's something exciting and novel about a boating holiday. Whether you're a seasoned cruise addict, an enthusiastic sailor or just someone who enjoys watching world go by at a sedate pace, then we think our line-up of luxury UK breaks afloat will inspire you to get on the water.
In our line-up you'll find gentle inland waterways, beautiful river trips, spectacular loch adventures, working ships and even an offshore fort if you're looking for a night away with a difference. And if you can't make your mind up, then how about a 12-night voyage around the entire British coast on a big luxury liner? We like to think we have every boating holiday covered.
A word about 'driving' your own boat - and living aboard. The days of cold, leaky cabins with no luxuries or mod-cons have gone, you'll be pleased to hear. Today's boating holiday vessels are easy to steer and moor, and very comfortable, too. Expect Jacuzzi baths, hot tubs, WiFi - all sorts of creature comforts that will make your break a real pleasure.
So do enjoy browsing our selection of boating holidays - and get ready to step on board for a wonderful, relaxing break...
Loch Ness Highland adventure
Step aboard the maginficent Torridon class cabin cruiser, the Pride of the Caley Cruisers fleet, and enjoy a week-long adventure that takes in the very finest Scottish Highland scenery. Torridon is a stunning new vessel, fitted out with two master double cabins (each with electric flush toilet and shower en-suite), and also a side cabin with twin bunks.
The cruising area really is stunning. From your start point at Inverness, you'll steam out onto magnificent Loch Ness. At its south-western end is pretty Fort Augustus, followed by some lovely intimate stretches as you head across Loch Oich and Loch Lochy. You'll find plenty of places to moor, great food and drink along the way and a real sense of achievement as you build experience and appreciate the quality of this Highland holiday experience. Better still, all the locks are electrically operated and have keepers, so you'll be well looked after and will have a bare minimum of physical effort.
On board you?ll find a 32″ flat screen TV with DVD player in one saloon, a second 24″ TV with DVD player in the aft cabin, as well as onboard WiFi full-size fridge, toaster and microwave.
A week on a Torridon-class cruiser costs £2321 in June with Caley Cruisers (01463 236328, caleycruisers.com).
Explore far-flung St Kilda’s diverse landscapes, spectacular gardens, Neolithic standing stones, medieval castles and sheltered waters whilst travelling aboard the luxurious Hebridean Princess. The vessel is a firm favourite with the Royals; its 30 elegant cabin size makes it ideal for those who enjoy learning about nature, geography, history and gardening. A seven night stay costs from £3,995pp based on two sharing an en-suite cabin including exquisite food and fine wines, welcome cocktail party and two gala dinners. More details from Pride of Britain Hotels (0800 089 3929, prideofbritainhotels.com).
Sail and Bike Isle of Wight
Join your yacht in Hamble (a few miles to the south of Southampton) on a Friday afternoon for an evening sailing to Cowes. Pick-up bicycle, then enjoy a comfortable overnight on board the yacht. Next morning, set off for a full day of biking around the Isle of Wight, following road or off-road routes and finishing in Yarmouth for a second night, or rejoining the yacht to sail back to Cowes. This is sure to be a fun activity weekends for everyone, regardless of sailing experience (the skipper will look after you very well). There are plenty of route options which can be tailored to suit abilities and fitness levels. You can bring your own bikes or hire on the island. Price is £295 per person. For more details visit Universal Yacht Charter).
No Mans Fort
No Man’s Fort is an extraordinary man-made island in the middle of the Solent. The package includes lunch and dinner, a welcome glass of champagne and a tot of rum too to steady your sea legs. After overnighting in one of the 22 luxury bedrooms, you will enjoy a full English breakfast before departing back to Portsmouth. If that’s not enough to tempt you, the fort will soon be adding to the luxury, with two helicopter pads for private use, a nightclub, laser tag, games rooms, snooker room, meeting space, rooftop hot-pool, glass-floored lighthouse, gallery restaurant, wine bar and spa facilities with signature sea salt treatments where the salt is sourced from just five metres away. Book an overnight experience on full board from just £450 per room per night with Amazing Venues or call 0330 333 7200.
The Beacon Park Boats fleet is designed and built by the company itself, incorporating features such as 4-poster beds, roll-top bath, on-deck hot-tub, home cinema system, wood-burning stove, central heating and free wifi. Sleeping 2 to 7 people, each boat has permanent beds with luxurious sprung mattresses, porcelain sanitary ware, a high-spec kitchen, BBQ, wooden picnic table and chairs. With at least 6’ 2 headroom and large windows in the open-plan living areas, the boats feel very spacious, and more than half of them are wider than traditional narrowboats. The luxurious quality of the boats is matched by the surrounding scenery. Considered by many to be Britain’s most picturesque waterway, the Monmouthshire and Brecon Canal passes through the Brecon Beacons National Park and Blaenavon World Heritage Site and has just 6 locks. Perfect for first-timers on canal holidays, the boats have special thrusters’, making them very easy to manoeuvre. A seven-night stay on a vessel sleeping four costs £1,346 in late June. More details from beaconparkboats.com
All aboard the Alice Rose in Cornwall between April and October The year, guests at The Nare hotel in Cornwall can cruise up the Fal and Helford Rivers on the hotel's new 38ft classic motor launch boat, the Alice Rose. The Fal and Helford Rivers are delightful un-spoilt waterways full of creeks and falling within an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty and Special Area of Conservation. Relax in comfort on board as you experience the magnificent views of the third largest natural deep water harbour in the world, guarded by St Mawes and Pendennis Castles. Scheduled sailings for up to eight guests available with Coxswain and Chief Steward from 10.30am to 3.30pm, including lunch at £85 per person. Prices to stay at The Nare (narehotel.co.uk, 01872 501111) start at £179 per person per night from April (double room for two at £358) which includes breakfast and afternoon tea.
Topsy’ is a 2014-refurbished wide-beam boat – not a narrowboat at all - offering luxurious boating holidays from Bath along the beautiful Kennet and Avon canal. The saloon not only has sofa and chairs but a solid-fuel stove, too. There’s a smart’ TV with Freeview and access to more than 450 on-demand movies, plus a vintage Bang & Olufsen record deck and vinyl collection. There is a full-sized bathroom with a Jacuzzi bath. Two double cabins feature pocket-sprung mattresses, silk-filled duvets and Egyptian cotton sheets. The galley has a full-size cooker, fridge and washing machine under oak worktops, with a coffee machine and other gadgets. Topsy is based at Bath Marina, with immediate access to the elegant city’s sights, while the rural beauty of the Kennet and Avon canal is well worth exploring in the course of a week. A week’s rental in August is £1945 with Waterways Holidays (01252 01252 339023, waterwaysholidays.com) to include all fuel used during the cruise, bed linen, towels, car parking, buoyancy aids, tuition on arrival and WiFi.
Here’s a cruise with a difference. The THV Patricia is a working boat; its duties include maintaining navigational buoys, checking wrecks, possible sea rescues and looking after lighthouses, particularly around the Bristol Channel, North Sea and River Thames. It is not a cruise and the schedule is always different - embarkation can be anywhere from Swansea, Southampton or Harwich – but it all adds to the adventure. The boat operates a policy of open deck and the Captain welcomes people on the bridge. It is possible to stay on board for a week, there are 6 comfortable cabins with en-suite, a dining room and sitting area. Passengers can stay on board between April and September. Prices for seven nights full board (excluding alcohol) begin at £3080 per Executive cabin based on double occupancy and from £1990 for single. More information from WildWings (wildwings.co.uk, 0117 9658 333)
Princess Cruises has 12-night holidays sailing around the British Isles on board The Royal Princess, launched by HRH the Duchess of Cambridge in June 2013. Leave Southampton and call at St Peter Port, Cork, Dublin, Liverpool, Belfast, Glasgow, Invergordon, Edinburgh and Le Havre, before returning to Southampton. Prices from £1,457 per person with Princess (0843 374 2401, princess.com). Price is based on two adults sharing an inside stateroom and includes all accommodation, all main meals and on board entertainment.
Experience Edinburgh from the water. Belle Boatique is a charming moored houseboat just minutes from Princes Street, Grassmarket, Edinburgh Castle and the Royal Mile. This two-bedroom houseboat sleeps four and features a lounge with TV/DVD and hi-fi system perfect for those evenings when you want to sit back and watch a movie. On deck you will find sun loungers, a BBQ and seating area, perfect for a warm spring evening. Welcome packs and beauty treatments can be pre-booked with the owner in advance. You can also bring your dog for £20 if you wish. A four night stay from 17 April costs £1,204 with holidaycottages.co.uk/scotland
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