Getting around Britain

Travelling Britain’s coasts and waterways

Britain's coasts and canals

Travel by canal boat

Britain has thousands of miles of inland waterways and hundreds of islands scattered along its beautiful coastline. Cruising along a canal in the Midlands countryside or travelling on one of the small local ferries to a remote Scottish island are both wonderful experiences. Canal boats can be hired, and scores of ferries run between Britain’s offshore islands. For extensive information on Britain’s canals, rivers and lakes and to book accommodation, a boat or a hotel boat, visit the Canal River Trust website. If you wish to hire a narrowboat to take yourself on a real adventure, you can book with a specialist travel firm or contact Canal & River Trust.

Catching a local ferry

Britain’s local ferries can offer anything from a 10-minute river journey to a 7-hour sea cruise and will give those travelling a truly unique experience. 

Many of Scotland’s ferries are operated by Caledonian MacBrayne. They sail to lots of different destinations, such as the Isle of Skye to the Kyle of Lochalsh, or the 5-hour journey from Oban to Lochboisdale in the Western Isles. They offer a variety of different ticket types, from unlimited rover tickets for a specific period of time, to island-hop passes or all-inclusive coach tour and ferry tickets. 

River ferries really are an interesting alternative to the more usual forms of transport and. The ferry across the Mersey, between Liverpool and Birkenhead, is still used by many commuters. London’s river trips, such as the one that runs from Westminster to Tower Bridge, offer a different perspective on the city and make a change from tubes, buses and cars. Discover more information about ferry routes and timetables by visiting the local tourist centres.