Women's Weekly - March 06

A trip on the canal

Q. Our children want to try a canal-boat trip during spring half-term. How do we get started? Linda Stone, London

A. There are over 3,000 miles of navigable waterways to explore in Britain, cutting through towns, villages and open countryside. If you contact Drifters, a consortium of award-winning, holiday-boat companies, it will send you brochures to help your family make a decision. There's a choice between self-drive narrow boats or hotel-boat holidays where someone else does the steering and cooking. Families nearly always prefer the fun of steering their own narrow boat and learning to navigate the locks. Check Drifters' website for a map of UK waterways, and tips for beginners to see which canals are easiest to navigate. You can call Drifters on 0845 762 6252, or visit www.drifters.co.uk .

There are plenty of other ideas for enjoying canals, such as cycling or walking along the canal towpaths, or taking part in events and celebrations during the year.