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River Nene Middle Level River Ouse
Northampton Ramsey Denver
Wadenhoe March Downham Market
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Oundle Outwell Ely
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10 Amazing things to do on the Fenland Waterways

Boat hire East Anglia England UK

East Anglia boasts some of the most beautiful countryside in the UK. Its a great place to escape that inner city hustle and bustle. You will find an abundance of wildlife & wild flowers. There are lots of traditional pubs, historic monuments and buildings dotted along the waterway routes. Hire a boat for a weeks break and you can visit Cambridge and Ely with its famous Cambridge University. and Ely Catherdral

A Fenland narrowboat break is ideal for the boater who wants to explore “off the beaten track”, getting away from the more obvious canal holiday destinations. This ultimate guide to these undiscovered waterways suggests 10 things you can do to make your hire boat holiday amazing.

1. Middle Level Waterways – March, Ramsey, Upwell & Outwell

Begin in March at our hire boat base, and then maybe visit the Ramsey Rural Museum. When you explore the Middle Levels you’ll discover the twin villages of Upwell and Outwell. Upwell is one of the prettiest villages on the Fenland waterways. (Try mooring at The Five Bells Inn for a real ale.) Outwell Basin also provides some idyllic moorings and The Crown Lodge Hotel moorings are the last opportunity to moor for a drink before the tidal crossing at Salters Lode. From friendly lock keepers, to wind farms and kingfishers; Seven Surprising Differences We Discovered Cruising the Middle Levels.

2. River Ouse – St Ives, Ely & Cambridge

The River Great Ouse is a beautiful river which will allow you to visit St Ives, Ely and Cambridge. You’ll be able to see historic buildings, parks and ancient monuments if you take this route. OuseFest is a local Cambridgeshire event that falls right in the middle of the summer narrowboat holiday season. Don’t Miss #Ousefest on your Summer Narrowboat Holiday!

3. River Nene – Cambridgeshire, Northants

A journey through the Middle Level Navigations to the River Nene, offers many opportunities to moor in open countryside, unwind, and look out for kingfishers and other wildlife. The River Nene passes through Cambridgeshire and Northants where it connects the east of England to the rest of the UK waterway network. If you’re looking for stunning countryside and attractive villages, beautiful lock surroundings with ancient mills, here are The 3 Best Moorings When Narrowboating on the Nene

4. Visit Ely

This city is known for its cathedral, whose famous lantern tower can be seen for miles around. But it’s also worth visiting the many antique centres, ancient narrow streets, timbered houses and medieval gateways. You’ll want to stop here and moor overnight. 3 Ely Secrets Every Hire Boater Should Know

5. Visit Cambridge

This world famous University City is known as the ‘city of perspiring dreams’, the home of students, bikes and colleges. Try shopping, restaurants and punting, while admiring the incredible architecture. 3 Things You Must Do When Visiting Cambridge

6. Visit St Ives

“As I was going to St Ives I met a man with seven wives…”

To visit St Ives on your Fox Narrowboats holiday you will need to spend a week on board because the journey time there and back is approximately 32 cruising hours. Oliver Cromwell’s House has been refurbished to show how it may have looked during Cromwell’s lifetime. The house has eight period rooms and the kitchen dates from around 1215. Find out more about moorings, cafes and the market at St Ives here: Old River Port St Ives

7. Do Museums

A visit to a museum can not only be surprisingly fun, but it is often a free day out! You will be spoilt for choice with Peterborough Museum, March and District Museum, Ely Museum, The Stained Glass Museum, Prickwillow Museum and The University of Cambridge Museums and Collections. Read more: Are Museums Ever Fun? The Answer Might Surprise You.

8. Do Pubs

Pubs are marked on the maps and cruising guides. We asked the Fox Narrowboats team what are some of the best pubs on the Fenland waterways? They were only too pleased to do some pub-related research, and suggested these three riverside pubs along some of our favourite holiday narrowboating routes. Our Top 3 Pubs for Your Fenland Narrowboat Holiday

You may also like Fenland Food and Dining: The Ultimate Boater’s Guide.

9. Do Picnics

On a Fox boats narrowboat holiday you can stop just about anywhere you like. A picnic offers the opportunity to spend some quality family time together, gets everyone outdoors and costs very little money. Find out where to shop, where to stop and what to bring in: How to Use Your Canal Boat Holiday to Plan the Perfect Picnic

10. Do Canal Boating & Day Hire

No experience required! You will be fully trained as a narrowboat steerer as part of the boat handover routine. One of our RYA qualified instructors will explain how to operate the locks and will not let you start your narrow boat holiday until you are comfortable. The training will take place at the start of your holiday if you need it.

Want more details in map format

A map of the river Nene : nenemap
A map of the river Great Ouse : ousemap

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