Life in the water: four books about life on the British rivers and canals | boating holidays

Maidens' Trip cover image copy

Maidens’ Trip: A War Adventure on the Grand Union Canal

When three 18-year-old ‘girls’, including author Emma Smith, sign up for a tour boat as part of the war effort in 1943, they transport steel to Birmingham, coal from Coventry, lose their bikes and find a cat – and themselves. (Bloomsbury, £10.99)

Stories from the Tillerman

Tales from the Tillerman: A Lifelong Love Affair with Britain’s Waterways

Seasoned water lover Steve Haywood combines a history of the British canals with 50 years of anecdotes and lively diatribes about his own water escapades and the changes in the boating landscape he has encountered along the way. (Adlard Coles, £12.99)

Waterways past and present 9781472912015

Slow adventurer Jasper Winn spent a quiet year exploring Britain’s waterways on foot, bicycle and boat. Combining history, engineering and wildlife, he finds a unique sense of community in our “wet roads and waterways”. (Bloomsbury, £11.99)


Water Gypsies: A History of Life on Britain’s Rivers and Canals

Born and raised on a boho houseboat in Chelsea, Julian Dutton has written a social history of houseboats. Ranging from ancient to modern-day Britain, it explores how economic necessity gave way to pleasure cruiser tourists and families like his seeking an alternative lifestyle. (History Press, £14.99)

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