River Dee, Chester, Cheshire
A wonderful historic walled city with a Roman amphitheatre just outside its boundaries, there’s a lot to see and do in Cheshire, but make time for a real treat, sit back and relax on a two hour river cruise on the delightful River Dee.
The two boats, Mark Twain and Lady Diana, leave from the boat house at the Groves and the two hour cruise, (there is a short 30 minute cruise as well), heads south out of the city passing Heronbridge and Eccleston Ferry with its Grade II listed ferry house.
The deep tranquil river meanders past some beautiful houses then around the Crook of Dee and through the elegant Eaton Estate, home to the Duke and Duchess of Westminster.
The boat turns round just after the colourful and superbly engineered Iron Bridge at Alford before returning back to Chester. Look out for swans, herons, cormorants, moorhens and even the electric blue flash of a kingfisher darting amidst the unspoilt flora along the river banks.
Caledonian Canal Boat Trips, Northern Scotland
Between Inverness in the East and Fort William in the west is the Great Glen which nearly splits Scotland into two and includes the spectacular Caledonia Canal and Loch Ness. The dramatic 62 mile long steep sided glen boasts stunning Scottish scenery, nature reserves and great feats of engineering.
The celebrated Thomas Telford designed the 22 miles of canal including 29 lochs and the amazing Neptune’s Staircase. This is the longest staircase loch in Britain raising the canal 19 metres over a quarter of a mile.
Stop off at places like the private marina at Aldourie Castle on the southern shores of Loch Ness, lively Fort Augustus or Fort William, known as the gateway to Ben Nevis. This is a unique boating holiday experience that you’ll find hard to beat!
Ouse River sight-seeing tour York, Yorkshire
The River Ouse, the fourth longest river in the UK, runs through the spectacular city of York before spilling into the sea at the Humber estuary on England’s east coast. This river cruise will allow you to admire the cityscape from a different perspective as you glide leisurely on the water and enjoy great food and drink or even afternoon tea!
Jump aboard any one of the five boats at the King’s Staith Landing or the Lendal Bridge Landing to enjoy the comfortable saloon or airy upper deck and learn about York’s colourful history. The boat skipper’s commentary tells you about the city’s history including the Romans and Vikings who arrived via the River Ouse before settling and creating the historic old city.
You can take a 45 minute or 1 hour cruise to the Clifton Bridge in the north of the city and the Millennium Bridge in the south, passing through the vibrant heart of the ancient walled city. Sailings take place every day between April and September.
Mersey River Explorer Cruise, Liverpool
Explore Liverpool’s world famous UNESCO designated waterfront skyline from the legendary Mersey Ferry. The 50 minute cruise has an entertaining recorded commentary pointing out the waterfront highlights and famous landmarks such as the Royal Liver Building, the Beatles Story, Spaceport, and the U-boat story.
You can jump on and off at Liverpool’s Pier Head or Seacombe and Woodside on the Wirral, and the cruise will give you a real snapshot of the history of this fascinating city. Once back on dry land there is so much to discover. Don’t miss a visit to Albert Dock, the beating heart of Liverpool’s historic maritime waterfront with bijou shops, museums and a fantastic choice of places to eat and drink.
Llangollen Canal, Llangollen, Denbighshire
This beautiful canal links Llangollen in Denbighshire with Hurleston in south Cheshire, crossing the border between England and Wales. The area attracts visitors from afar to enjoy picturesque countryside and breath-taking feats of engineering; the reason it is now a designated World Heritage Site.
Go back in time and take a horse drawn boat trip and watch fish swim lazily by as you pass through the Welsh mountains. You can choose from a 45 minute trip, just long enough to relax and unwind or a 2 hour trip which includes possibly the most beautiful part of the canal and the man-made Horseshoe Falls.
At its highest the aqueduct towers 38 metres above the River Dee and the iron trough, at 306 meters long and 3.6 metres wide, offers great views of the Dee Valley and beyond. All boats run out of Llangollen Wharf, which is a popular visitor attraction. Less than one mile away is Llangollen, a lively picturesque Georgian town guarded by mountains and the ruins of a 13th century Castell.
The Broads National Park, Norfolk & Suffolk
The Norfolk and Suffolk Broads are arguably one of the most beautiful combinations of navigable lakes and rivers in the UK. The 125 miles of lock free man-made waterways were formed by the flooding of peat works centuries ago and by the end of the 14th century the broads were formed.
The best way to really explore is by boat and there are lots of options from day or week long cruises, sailing or rowing. You’ll be surrounded by wildlife, no matter what time of year and be delighted at the variety of bird life, waterfowl and marine life including seal pups on the sea washed estuaries.
Take time out to stop off at one of the charming market towns, villages or welcoming riverside pubs. Wroxham is known as the capital of the Broads and has Roys, the world’s largest village store, Horning is a very pretty waterside Broadland village on the River Bure and well worth mooring alongside for a relaxing lunch, time it right to visit the annual boat show early spring.
The Lake District, Cumbria
Lake Windermere is England’s largest lake with boat cruises from 45 minutes to 3 hours or you can have a Freedom of the Lake ticket that lasts for 24 hours. There are 3 boarding points: Bowness, Ambleside or Lakeside are all very pretty places with shops, cafes, pubs and attractions to spend some time.
The Ullswater steamers are one of the Lakes’ best kept secrets, offering a quiet, calm and relaxing cruise. There are five vessels, but look out for the beautifully preserved 19th century heritage vessels, the Lady of the Lake or Raven where you can sit outside or in the comfortable saloons with a bar serving snacks and drinks. The 8 mile voyage, lasting 1 hour opens up wonderful vistas of the northern Lake District’s mountains including Helvellyn, Place Fell and more.