Stunning canal boats you’ll want to set sail in

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  • Anchors aweigh! Fancy an idyllic trip on a watery canal? Take a look at these floating havens with beautiful decors you can actually stay in.

    A strong part of our heritage and history, there are more than 2,000 miles of navigable inland waterways in Britain. Today, they are used primarily for our leisure as canal boat holidays hold that sense of charming nostalgia and idyllic escapism that is hard to find elsewhere. Often brightly painted with attractive, Romany-style flowers and decorations, owners take great pride in their beloved narrow vessels, which are often just 10ft wide, both inside and out. So, if you’re dreaming of waking up to a constantly changing view, take a look at these fabulous canal boats and house boats you can hire. There is sure to be one to float your boat…

    The Harbour House Boat, Isle of Wight
    Sleeps 6, from
    from £198 per night

    This beautiful house boat is a seaside retreat moored on the Isle of Wight’s east coast and filled with vintage finds and retro touches. It has plenty of room with four bedrooms (two double) and comfortably sleeps nine.

    Pops of colour liven up the galley, while the coastal-style living area has views across The Solent.

    Blue Hue, Scotland Sleeps 3, from £85 per night

    This static canal boat is a fabulous introduction to waterside living if you are nervous about sailing. Facilities include a compact yet fully-equipped kitchen with gas oven, bathroom with stand-in power shower and a wood burner for the chillier evenings. For sleeping, there is a bespoke raised double bed and a pull-out sofa for children or a smaller adult. At just 10 miles from Edinburgh, Blue Hue is on a pontoon on the canal side.

    It’s all open-plan, with a clean, blue colour scheme both inside and out.

    Amber Rose, near Windsor
    Sleeps 2, from £149 per night

    If you love cosy vintage style then you’ll love the two-berth Amber Rose. She’s a 30ft narrow boat designed with romantic couples in mind. It offers convertible sofas for sleeping, wet room, fully equipped kitchen with marine cooker, wooden flooring as well as elegant Toile De Jouy soft furnishings.

    This canal boat sails the Thames and no previous canal boating is necessary to cast you off as you will be provided with training on arrival before you start your holiday, including how to
    steer, daily checks, lock operation and safety instructions.

    The Palmer, Hackney East London
    Sleeps 4, from £140 per night.

    Now here’s a spacious wide beam barge for trendy canal boat lovers to stay in. It’s set on a very cool, private wharf in a vibrant, yet quiet, neighbourhood in east London (Zone 1).

    Once on board, the boat offers a generous and super stylish living space, consisting of a large double bedroom (super kingsize bed), a modern bathroom with large shower (just remember to turn the bilge pump on!) and normal flushing loo. The open-plan living room/ kitchen is complete with woodburning stove, sofa bed (double) and well equipped kitchen.

    Luxury House Boat, Cambridge
    Sleeps 3, from £99 per night

    You’ll be forgiven for thinking you’re staying in a ship captain’s quarters when first entering this refined houseboat moored on the River Cam. Its smart masculine decor is decked in smooth hardwood throughout. It is moored by a private lawn and decking area for you to enjoy.

    And now for something spectacular…

    This palatial pad is moored permanently at
    Cheyne Walk in the prime location of London’s Chelsea and, naturally,
    comes with some rather splendid river views. Anchors aweigh and it could
    be yours – all you have to do is put your hands on that £1.5 million,
    plus the £16,000 a year mooring and maintenance charges…

    Yes this is the kitchen of a floating barge and not a penthouse apartment! Take a look at the luxury house boat’s complete and exbhuberant interior in our full luxury house boat article.

    Love the idea of staying somewhere out of the ordinary? Here’s some tree house retreats you have to see.

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