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The charity making life better by water

Plan your canal getaway and discover a world of waterway wonders

We are urging people to look ahead and plan a canal escape for when the coronavirus lockdown lifts: a responsible, safe and relaxing way to get away from it all without leaving the country.

A man enjoying steering a narrowboat

The nation's holiday hire boats offer the chance to explore a wide range of locations across England & Wales, from countryside to former industrial centres, staying aboard a private narrowboat with just family and friends. Spanning over two hundred years of history, the waterways have now transformed into green corridors running through many towns and cities.

Looking ahead

Richard Parry, our chief executive, said: “Research shows that simply being by the water makes people feel happier. As we begin to look ahead towards life after lockdown, what better way to see the countryside and soothe away the stress of the past few months than a trip to – or on – the waterways?

"Whether it's a hire boat holiday to explore tranquil miles of canal, a trip to one of the wonders of the waterways, or just a walk along your favourite towpath, they offer a perfect getaway while staying safe and avoiding international travel.

“The original ‘Seven Wonders of the Waterways' list, compiled by the waterways restoration hero Robert Aickman over 60 years ago, offers a fascinating insight into our industrial heritage, and it's truly inspiring to see these spectacular feats of engineering still in active use today.

"This connection to the past grounds us all, while the slow pace of canal life lets us put aside the anxieties of everyday life, especially in such extraordinary times when we need it more than ever.

Read the latest guidance

All the latest coronavirus updates can be found on our dedicated coronavirus page.

Please check this information regularly, to ensure you can enjoy your time by the water safely.

We look after nearly 2,000 miles of canals and rivers across England & Wales, running through the hearts of the nation's towns and cities and meandering through the countryside.

Packed with wildlife, history, astonishing feats of engineering, varied landscapes, a waterway getaway offers something for everyone. There are many ways to explore them, from hire boat holidays and day boat hire, to daytrips to heritage sites, paddling along a coast-to-coast canoe trail, to towpath walking weekends.

For more information please visit our page on boat trips and holidays.

Last Edited: 15 June 2020

photo of a location on the canals
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