The UK coastline is miles of beautiful, historic and entertaining spots to take a holiday, but why limit yourself to just one or two areas?
Travelling by boat gives you the opportunity to take in as much of it as possible, whether you have a week, a month or even a whole year to explore.
Staycations have proved increasingly popular in recent years, with travel restrictions and costs prohibiting fancy holidays abroad for some. But you can still get the same effect by visiting areas on your doorstep, without the need for passports, flying and customs queues.
We can’t promise the weather will be as glorious as the Mediterranean – although some parts of Devon, Cornwall and the Isle of Wight still have regular periods of sunny days in the summer, with plenty of chances to sunbathe and have a dip in the sea.
The UK seaside resort is no longer beset with tacky games arcades, donkey rides and knobbly knees competitions on the beach, as sites of historical significance, nature and architecture are all playing a part in bringing visitors to our shores from further afield and making the British Isles a destination for all ages and interests.
Boat hire for private charters
If you are an experienced sailor, you may decide to hire a boat and sail yourself around the UK coast. From yachts to motorboats, and from large groups of friends to small family excursions, there is a boat option to suit most needs, many of which can be picked up in one destination and moored at your final stopping place, to be collected.
These can come with added extras for watersports for the more adventurous among you, including snorkels and diving equipment, or even jet skis. Some boat charters are also available with a captain to steer your way through the waters, so all you need to do is sit back and relax and watch as you cut through the water, admiring the gorgeous scenery on offer.
Sail and stay throughout the UK
You can get houseboats to stay on throughout your journey, or plan your trip around marinas throughout the country and stay in a hotel or B&B for a few days at each place, giving you the chance to really get out and explore what the UK has to offer.
The beauty of the British Isles is that it is a relatively short span – approximately 31,000 kilometres – but with hundreds of fascinating destinations to visit. You may find it difficult to decide, where to go and where to just pass through, but our regional guides of what to see and do in each place give you a glimpse into what is on offer, to hopefully make that decision at least slightly easier.
Cruising for the more discerning traveller
If you would sooner have a trip that has more of a specific itinerary, many cruise lines now offer trips around popular areas of the British Isles. Southampton and Liverpool are regular embarkation points and cruises from these areas can take in the South Coast, the East Coast and Scotland, and Ireland depending on the trip you choose, and how long you want to spend on your travels.
Whether you want a short trip across just three days or a longer holiday, cruising provides excursions to areas of interest and makes travelling around the British Isles a breeze.
River cruises across the waterways
The UK has a wide selection of rivers, canals and estuaries criss-crossing their way around the country, and barge holidays give an opportunity to enjoy travelling as much as the destination. It is a true adventure that can see you navigate bridges, aqueducts, tunnels and locks on your journey, before mooring up on a convenient towpath and heading ashore.
Beautiful waterside villages, bustling cities and miles of unspoilt countryside can all be explored as you make your way through the water. You can stay for as long or as little time as you like in each place and enjoy a relaxed pace of life gliding your way from destination to destination.
Activities to enjoy
Boat travel may just be your preferred method of transit, and it is what the British Isles has to offer at each terminal that is your main reason for wanting to explore in this way.
English Heritage and National Trust properties, medieval ruins and historic castles might be high on your agenda, with many open throughout the year and providing a slice of culture to your trip.
Food may also be a deciding factor on where you are going, with regional delicacies and local-produce restaurants tempting your tastebuds. Look out for food festivals and events around the UK too, which are gaining in popularity and can often include demonstrations by renowned local chefs.
Whether surfing off the dramatic coastlines of the UK, attending a kite festival, or taking in a literary or music event, there is almost always something going on somewhere in the UK, and timing your trip to catch one, or even several, of these is a must, to really take advantage of the delights of the British Isles as a staycation destination. Travelling by boat means you can set your own pace, admire breathtaking scenery, and have a holiday experience to remember forever.
Article by Kate Sheppard