For many UK families, messing about in boats is in their island blood. Look up in the branches of most family trees and there’s a seafaring type tucked away somewhere. We’re never more than a few hours from the coast and even staunch UK landlubbers find the ocean’s siren call hard to resist.

But, unless you grew up splicing, tacking and bracing, sailing probably seems like a daunting prospect. It doesn’t have to be. Did you know you can sail a narrowboat, open locks and navigate the country’s inland waterways safely and easily without any experience at all? So if you’ve a hankering for a canal holiday this year, all you really need’s a boat, a route and a few willing kids to man the tow path from time to time.


1/5 Monmouth & Brecon Canal, Brecon Beacons National Park

The 56km long Monmouth & Brecon Canal runs right through Brecon Beacons National Park in South Wales. So it probably goes without saying that ‘impossibly lovely’ is included as standard in this holiday.

Apart from being an International Dark Skies Reserve, Brecon Beacons is home to working water mills, historic houses, outdoor activity centres, adventure playgrounds and almost endless stretches of wild, open countryside to explore. And 40km of the canal’s also lock-free, making it perfect for beginners or the truly, shamelessly idle.

Beacon Park Boats build their own narrowboats and craft them from natural materials inside and out. This is the luxury end of the market and not one detail’s missed from log burning stoves and crisp, white bedlinen to solid wood kitchens and bathrooms. But all boats are family-friendly and Beacon Park couldn’t be more welcoming to kids and pets.

The 5-Star Condor narrowboat is 52ft long, sleeps six people and up to two pets. It’s one of seven boats in the Beacon Park fleet and sails the Monmouth & Brecon Canal from Llangattock.

Prices: From £2230 in mid-July for 7-days sailing on Condor.

Find out more about The Condor and Beacon Park Boats

Discover things to do with kids in the Brecon Beacons National Park in South Wales