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somerset east, Eastern Cape, South Africa
June 6, 2004
The boats are well fitted, with a full kitchen, TV, CD player, etc. We rented bikes from Canaltime and would ride into town in the mornings to buy groceries, etc.
The canal and surrounds are picturesque. There are plenty of canalside pubs where you can get pub lunches and beer, but you would have much more fun self catering. We enjoy jogging and Milton Keynes has absolutely beautiful jogging trails. On top of it all, ìt's a very economic holiday because it is self catering. We recommend this holiday very highly.
From journal Narrowboats Milton Keynes
April 8, 2003
We hopped on and off whenever we saw an interesting pub, village, or ancient building. No driving after dark, so evenings we tied up near a pub and sampled the delicious local specials. At one point the canal went OVER a road and we took photos of the cars below.
We stopped at the Narrow Boat Museum and learned the history of the narrow canals and boats. Boats are very comfortable with heat, A/C, TV, VCR, shower, and microwave. Stocked the kitchen after a stop and short walk to a major grocery. Hot tea was very welcome the one day it clouded over and drizzled rain off and on.
One day we tied up the boat and took a train to London and saw some major sites. Spent the first night at the hotel next to the canal boat marina. Not very tourist friendly. The pub was good, but I would not go back to the restaurant and motel.
The marina starts you off with a video lesson on how to drive the boat, turn around, open and close locks, operate the heat, and how to fill the water and gas tanks. We filled up water once (easy), and didn't use enough gas to refill tank.
We would all go again and consider it a lifetime experience. Fall was light jacket weather, lush, green fields, sheep grazing, trees still had their leaves, and fall flowers were blooming. Nights were chilly but cozy with the radiant heater on the boat and hot chocolate before bed.
Take rain gear, flashlight, and warm coat for the walk back from the pub along the canal tow paths. No car is needed. We took a bus or taxi from the canal dock to the Milton Keynes train station. Bus took 30 minutes ($2). Taxi(one hour and $15). An all-day rail/bus pass (about $25) got us into London on the non-stop train and on any bus or subway we chose all day long and back to Milton Keynes again.
Stick with pub food. Hot, fast, inexpensive, and delicious. Restaurant food was slow, expensive, and not near as good as the pubs. The canal was lined with wild rose bushes everywhere. I would like to go in the spring when they are all in bloom. I bet it is absolutely gorgeous. Tie up anywhere along the canal shore - FREE. A few places are reserved for hotel guests, but just head down the canal 50 feet and tie up. There is a path along the entire length of the canal system on at least one side and some areas both sides. Every bridge has steps up to the road and a walkway to cross over. Take walking shoes and a camera.
From journal Narrow Boats in England
February 20, 2001
From journal Canal-boat Cruising