The Association of Pleasure Craft Operators

The APCO Guide to Inland Waterway Boating Holidays

APCO - for a boating holiday UK

Inland Waterways - Where can we take a boating holiday in the UK?
There are over 3,500 miles of canals, rivers and lakes in England, Scotland and Wales that are navigable by holiday hire craft - the survivors of a vast network of navigations constructed as the transport arteries of the industrial revolution.
There is no better way of exploring Britain's countryside than experiencing a canal boating holiday. Contrary to a once popular belief, rivers and canals are not dirty and polluted and very few miles of them pass through urban areas. The majority wend their way through peaceful and often spectacular scenery, away from the noise of roads and the rush of 21st century life.

Take a boating holiday and explore the UK
Cruising through Scotland's Great Glen on the Caledonian Canal

With so many miles of waterway to cruise - at an average speed of 4 miles per hour - the choice is endless. The canal and river system criss-crosses the centre of England, covering the Midlands counties with a maze of waterways and extending northwards and westwards to Merseyside, Lancashire, Yorkshire and into Wales. Or head south to Oxford or London and explore the Royal River Thames along its route from the capital to Lechlade. Scotlandís waterways include the spectacular Caledonian Canal, cutting through the highlands of the Great Glen and linking together Loch Ness, Loch Oich and Loch Lochy.
Unlike rivers, canals do not stick to the valleys, but climb over hills using flights of locks or burrow through in long, cool tunnels. Cross the mighty Pennines on the Leeds & Liverpool and Rochdale canals or experience the stunning scenery and spectacular tunnels of the Huddersfield Narrow Canal. High embankments and aqueducts carry canals across the valleys - to look down from a boat on Telford's 120 feet high Pontcysyllte Aqueduct, carrying the Llangollen Canal over the Dee valley, is an unforgettable experience.
Nowhere will you live closer to wildlife than on our waterways. In spring and summer wild flowers paint the banks in a blaze of colour. The busy mallard, stately swan, silent heron and even the secretive kingfisher are among your nearest neighbours. Remember to take your camera!
But a waterway holiday is not just boating. Many attractions are next to rivers and canals, from a tiny village church or mill that features in the Domesday Book to great cathedrals, castles and stately homes such as Lincoln, Windsor and Shugborough Hall. Study the colourful history of our waterways at the national museums in Gloucester and Ellesmere Port. Walk the Moorlands of Yorkshire and Staffordshire, the battlefield at Bosworth or the Brecon Beacons. Visit historic centres such as Chester, Bath and Oxford or - if you prefer the big city life - you can moor opposite Birmingham's International Convention Centre, by London Zoo, or in Manchester's Castlefield complex.

Passing one of England's great cathedrals at Worcester on the River Severn

These are just some suggestions. For those who like to plan their UK boating holiday in detail contact APCO about where to obtain further waterway maps and guides. Your boat is a floating holiday home Ė look forward to relaxing, enjoying exploring the inland waterways and visiting some of Britainís most famous waterside places and its best kept secrets!

About APCO
Explaining the purpose and background of the Association of Pleasure Craft Operators.
APCO Members
Listing all APCO member, with their full contact details.
Handover Scheme
When hiring a boat you need to be sure you will be given suitable tuition.
Boat Grading Scheme
Explaining the Boat Grading Scheme from VisitBritain for Hire Boats and Hotelboats.
Boaters Code
British Waterways guide to how all canal users should behave. PDF download
Boaters Handbook
The BW handbook, available here as a PDF to download, covers everything from Boat Handling, Safety and Rules of the Road.
Kid's pages
Things for the children to do, including a waterways game courtesy of British Waterways.
Useful Links
Links to other useful waterways websites.
Joining APCO
Benefits and membership information for companies considering joining APCO.
Members Section
Information for APCO members, password needed to enter.

Above, entering the River Avon at
Shakespeare's birthplace
of Stratford upon Avon.

Self Drive Holidays
Hotelboat Holidays
Day Hire Boats
Specialised Services
Frequently asked questions
Canal Maps & Guides
Association of Pleasure Craft Operators (APCO), Marine House, Thorpe Lea Road, Egham, Surrey TW20 8BF
Tel:  01784 223603 Email