Wednesday, 27 February 2013 9:10 PM
A boating holiday is an ideal way to relax and explore new destinations, as well as get involved in a range of activities. Depending on where you choose to visit for your getaway, you'll find a wide variety of pastimes to keep you busy during your time both on land and on the water – read on to find out more.
Get close to nature
If you love watching wildlife in its natural habitat, you'll certainly get plenty of chances to do so during a canal boat break. The riverbanks are often home to all types of flora and fauna, while specific destinations like the Norfolk Broads are full of creatures and plant life at every turn.
The Broads comprise Britain's largest protected wetland, in which there are numerous nature reserves. Places like Strumpshaw Fen, How Hill and Hickling Broad are home to a wide variety of birds, including egrets, kingfishers and owls, as well as butterflies and creatures like otters and water voles. You might be able to spot some animals and plants from your boat, as well as watch the fish in the water beneath you, or you could venture on to land and watch from afar in a viewing hide or follow a nature trail.
Explore on two wheels
Taking to two wheels is a great way to explore even more of the landscape during a boating holiday, and there are numerous destinations ideal for this type of getaway. Take a looking at the biking breaks offered by Le Boat to learn more about various locations.
An especially renowned spot is Holland, where the bicycle has become something of a national emblem. Hire some bikes and, once you reach somewhere you'd like to explore in more detail, you can take to two wheels and follow the towpath or set off on a sightseeing tour.
You can arrange to go on a tour with a company, or even use the GPS facility on your mobile phone to guide you to some of the top attractions in your chosen destination. Fields full of flowers and windmills, vibrant cities and charming Dutch villages are among the areas worth exploring by bike.
Enjoy a round (or two)
If you prefer something more sedate, golf might just fit the bill, and one of the top destinations for a golfing getaway is Ireland. The Shannon-Erne rivers pass a number of settlements where you can play on championship courses, and you'll find around 20 clubs based in the area.
Among the greens you can test your abilities on is the 18-hole course at Dromoland Castle Golf & Country Club, designed by American golf architect Brook Wigginton, and the course at Carrick Golf Club, which is situated on the banks of Drumharlow Lake and Boyle River. Head towards Lough Ree and you'll find a couple more renowned courses at Glasson Golf Club and Hodson Bay.
Go horse riding
If you enjoy horse riding, you'll find France an ideal destination for a boating break that allows equestrians to indulge in their passion. The River Lot, Brittany, Camargue, Aquitaine and the Canal du Nivernais are all great spots for a riding break, and you can enjoy gentle hacks down towpaths, forested walks and even beachside rides throughout these areas.
Take riding lessons or a trek in Beaucaire, St Gilles or Port Cassafieres, or admire the wild horses to be seen in the meadows of Douelle.
Cast a line
Another popular pastime to try out during a boating holiday is fishing, and there are lots of locations ideal for an angling break. Ireland is well-known for its fish-filled waters, but Scotland is also a good choice, with its many lochs.
Follow the course of the Caledonian Canal and you can cast a line over the side of the boat, or head to lakes like Loch Ness, Loch Oich and Loch Lochy to see what you can reel in. Common species to be found in the canal and the lochs include pike, brown trout, eels, salmon and rainbow trout, while ferrox have also been caught here but are somewhat rarer. Angling aficionados might find it's worth renting a kayak to get into the tighter spots you can't really reach from a larger vessel.