Boating Holidays on the canals & rivers of Southern England


The South of England might have fewer waterways compared to other areas of the UK, but what it lacks in quantity is more than made up for in quality, especially with the choice of scenic routes through the picturesque Southern Counties. Hire a canal boat in the South of England and explore the popular Kennet & Avon, the River Wey near Guildford, River Thames or the Basingstoke Canal. Each waterways has its own unique character and history.

The Basingstoke Canal:

The Basingstoke Canal meets the River Wey shortly before it joins the Thames and then climbs up several flights of locks including the Deepcut Flight before leaving Surrey and entering the county of Hampshire. The Basingstoke Canal is a tranquil green corridor, despite running through some of the most densely populated areas in the Home Counties commuter belt, which has changed little since it was constructed two hundred years ago. The Basingstoke Canal is ideal for a short break, especially for novices, offering gentle cruising past some excellent waterside pubs and the ancient remains of King John's Castle.

The Kennet & Avon Canal:

The third of the most Southerly waterways (but perhaps the best known after the Thames) is the Kennet and Avon, which spans from Reading in the East to Bath in the West, home to the impressive Caen Hill flight of locks. The Kennet & Avon was re-opened in 1990 with the assistance of Lottery grants and the efforts of volunteer workers. It allows visitors to visit the Roman city of Bath by boat (cruising over the Dundas and Avoncliffe aqueducts) and for the adventurous it is possible to pass through Deep Lock to cruise along the River Avon to the floating harbour in Bristol where Brunnel's famous ship the 'SS Great Britain' is moored. The Kennet and Avon is a great choice for week long holidays or just a short break getaway!

The River Thames:

Finally, no boating visit to the South is complete without a mention of the River Thames itself. We have a choice of motor cruisers available from the Windsor area or traditional canal boats and wide beam barges available from either Henley or Oxford. The river offers a wide variety of scenery, from the millionaire riverside mansions of Bray and Henley to the beautiful narrow Upper Thames, meandering though some of the very best scenery in the Cotswolds.