11 Cool Ways To Spend Your Summer On A Boat

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Nothing says summer adventure like taking to the water. Whether you want to explore the Cornish coast or live it up in Ibiza, here are 11 cool boat-based experiences to book now…
Photography ATZARÓ

IN THE UK

FOR A SOLO EXPEDITION: Hebridean Whale & Dolphin Trust, Scotland

Fancy a trip that gives back? Scotland’s seas are under huge pressure, becoming more busy, noisy and polluted every year. As the waters deteriorate, whales and dolphins are the two species most at risk. Marine conservation charity Hebridean Whale & Dolphin Trust works with local communities to tackle the issue through boat surveys, ocean trails, wildlife watching courses and more. It runs regular expeditions to gather data from the Hebridean waters and monitor whale, dolphin and porpoise numbers. Expeditions are from seven to 12 days, with each night spent in a different location as you track marine life – no prior experience is needed as you’ll receive full training in species identification and basic boating skills on board.

From £860pp

Visit HWDT.org

FOR A FITNESS CHALLENGE: Adventure Tours, North Wales

Adventure Tours offers trips in and around some of the most scenic spots in Wales. If you’re ready for a real challenge, its new North Wales trip is an eight-day adrenaline-fuelled itinerary across seas, rivers and valleys. You’ll try canoeing, coasteering, white water rafting, kayaking and steering a powerboat – plus mountain hiking. Guests will spend five nights at a boutique hotel and another two in a remote bunkhouse, and the trip includes all meals, transport and help from local guides. Trips run from April to September – you’ll need a decent level of fitness to sign up.  

From £1,295pp

Visit AdventureToursUK.com

FOR A WEEKEND IN CORNWALL: Charlestown Harbour

Charlestown Harbour in Cornwall is an 18th-century port and Unesco World Heritage site. This summer, there’s a new activity for families and groups who want to explore the surrounding waters. The harbour is offering chartered sailing experiences aboard a 1930s schooner for three or six hours. You’ll learn how to hoist the sales, trim the rig and take the wheel, before sitting back to take in the scenic views – you might even spot basking sharks, seals or porpoises. Book the full day to enjoy lunch and wine on the upper deck. There’s also a wild swimming package so guests can swim off the boat in some of Cornwall’s secluded coves, as well as the option of sailing holidays which stop off at other British harbours like Bristol and Gloucester.

From £35pp 

Visit CharlestownHarbour.com

Charlestown Harbour
The Swan At Streatley

FOR AN AFTERNOON ON THE THAMES: The Swan at Streatley

Coppa Club’s Streatley-on-Thames outpost The Swan has recently invested in motorboats for guests who want to cruise along the Thames. The eco-friendly electric boats glide silently over the water and are easy to steer – no prior boating experience is needed. Book the Derby for a romantic afternoon for two; or go for the Sapphire Rose which seats up to eight, including an experienced skipper. Add on a Coppa Club picnic and you’ll get lobster rolls, sandwiches, strawberries and cream, and champagne. 

£30 for 30 minutes

Visit TheSwanAtStreatley.com

FOR A FEW DAYS ON A YACHT: Airbnb Boats

Airbnb has redesigned its website so you can search easily for boat rentals. There are over 500 boats to choose from, including some seriously slick yachts right here in the UK. This motor yacht in Norfolk has three beds for up to five guests, a saloon area with a sofa, and steps leading down to a small galley with everything you’d need for a few days on board. Meanwhile, this 40-footer in Southampton has two double rooms with modern interiors. Moored on the city’s Ocean Village marina, you can add on champagne receptions or spa treatments.

From £144 per night

Visit Airbnb.co.uk

ABROAD

FOR A FAMILY HOLIDAY: SamBoat

SamBoat has over 40,000 boats you can rent around the world. Choose from sailboats or motorboats in destinations like Mallorca, the Amalfi Coast, Santorini, Phuket and Cannes. You can sail the boat yourself (if you have decent experience) or hire one of the SamBoat experts, whether you opt for an itinerary or plan your route on board. We like the sound of the trip in the south of France which starts in Marseille before journeying to Cassis and the Riou Archipelago. Dock at Cassis for dinner and drinks in the sun, then discover Riou’s preserved beaches, creeks and coves. 

From £100 per day

Visit SamBoat.com

FOR A REAL PARTY: The Yacht Week

The Yacht Week offers yachting packages around the world. Skip the booze cruises in Croatia aimed at 20-something partygoers and book a trip around Athens, French Polynesia or the British Virgin Islands. Groups can stay on the yacht with a skipper and access exclusive events in and around the islands en route – think private boat parties and beach clubs headlined by world-class DJs. Trips even include a pro photographer to capture life on board, plus stereo speakers for sundowner sessions. The Athens trip, for example, includes tours of the surrounding islands, day parties at Cavo Bianco in the seaside town of Ermioni, and dolphin watching across the Saronic Gulf.

From £647pp

Visit TheYachtWeek.com

FOR A BOYS TRIP: Boats Ibiza

Heading to Ibiza this summer? Sail around the While Isle or strike out for Formentera with Boats Ibiza. For private trips, it offers small boats, speed boats or yachts and you can add on extras like food and drinks or private DJs. Most vessels come with water sports equipment like paddleboards, kayaks and snorkelling gear. Not sure what you’re after? For a boys trip, the motor yachts are your best bet. Each has space for up to 12 with indoor lounge areas, retractable sunshades and freshwater showers. Just head to Ibiza’s Old Town to pick up your rental for the day.

From €125 per day.

Visit BoatsIbiza.com

Boats Ibiza
Atzaró Yacht

FOR A TRIP OF A LIFETIME: Atzaró Yacht

Last summer, Atzaró – one of Ibiza’s best hotels – launched a yacht for luxury sailing trips in Indonesia. The hand-built phinisi yacht sails year-round, following the seasons, from the calm waters of Komodo National Park to the Spice Islands. Guests can stop off at each location to explore the beaches or swim in the crystal-clear waters. The 18-person yacht has nine suites, four spacious decks with king-size day beds, and a main deck with indoor and outdoor living areas. The crew consists of a diving instructor, chefs and stewards – to name a few – so you can learn to scuba dive, take a leisurely snorkel across volcanic vents, and explore the jungle-draped coastlines on water skis or paddleboards. 

From $14,500 per night. 

Visit PranaByAtzaro.com

FOR A TRANSATLANTIC VOYAGE: Classic Sailing

For sailing regulars, few trips are more thrilling than crossing the Atlantic on your own ship. Classic Sailing runs tours around the world, including 28 transatlantic routes, from Iceland to the Faroe Islands and Cape Town to Saint Helena. Those with decent experience can set sail on trips lasting up to 50 days, but beginners should book a week’s voyage to learn how to coil a rope, tie basic knots and steer by the wind. A great choice for solo travellers, you’ll be expected to get stuck in with night watches aloft the ship. 

From £60 per half-day.

Visit Classic-Sailing.com

FOR CANAL CRUISING IN FRANCE: Loca Boat

If navigating southwest France’s canals with beers and a BBQ sounds like your idea of a great time, you need Loca Boat in your life. The Baïse, the Tarn and the Canal de Garonne offer 300km of waterways with a unique heritage – sail the boat yourself or choose a self-drive model so you can sit back and relax. Stop off at listed sites and medieval towns, catch your dinner on the water, and make your way around local restaurants and bars. For a longer trip, start in Bordeaux for wine tastings and pick up a Loca Boat from the Unesco World Heritage Site of Agen.

From €1,057 per week. 

Visit LocaBoat.com

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