Narrowboats are ideal if you don't want to venture too far from home but still want a holiday or short break with a difference. The UK has more than 3,000 miles of navigable waterways - from 200-year-old canals to large rivers - and, at a leisurely speed of around 3mph, you can relax as pretty villages and scenery glide by. And, of course, there's always the option of mooring to explore inland.
A slender narrowboat can navigate most of the locks on the British canal network. Before you set off, you'll be given full instructions on how to pass through locks, and when you book, you're usually offered the choice of a route with as many or as few locks as you want. Life on board is quite luxurious - most narrowboats have all the mod- cons, including not just cooking facilities, showers and loos, but often CD players and a TV, too.
A good route for beginners is the Warwickshire Ring, a week- long trip that passes the historic city of Warwick and continues down the Oxford Canal, which meanders through 77 miles of unspoilt scenery between Coven- try and Oxford. This is one of England's most charming canals, punctuated by cast-iron bridges, dense forests and chocolate- box villages such as Cropedy, before joining the Thames at Oxford.