There are few more relaxing ways to travel than by narrow boat. Once you have mastered the rudder system of steering—push left to go right, right to go left—off you go, at a pace slightly faster than walking.
The Leeds and Liverpool canal has 150 years of history rising up along its banks and the story of the Industrial Revolution unfolds before your eyes. Shipley, Saltaire, and Skipton may not have quite the same ring as Hamburg or Florence , but you will marvel at the grand architecture of the former millhouses and candy factories, designed and built with the care previously reserved for cathedrals. Step ashore and wander around the remarkable “model” village of Saltaire, created by the impressively named Titus Salt for his workers. The harmonious design of the houses is matched by the solid beauty of the library, gymnasium, concert hall, and factories with their majestic chimney towers, modeled on Tuscan campaniles.
Titus Salt ensured there were no pubs in Saltaire, but the Leeds and Liverpool canal has got some wonderful places to drink beer. One of the greatest pleasures during a narrow boat vacation, next to firing up the engine on a misty morning after a hearty breakfast, is mooring up at a riverside pub as the sun goes down and strolling up to the bar for a pint.