The 10 most beautiful places to sail boats

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Being an island, Britain has no shortage of places for sailing, while the UK as a whole has an unprecedented selection of beautiful places for pleasure craft. Naturally, any selection in the top 10 is bound to be subjective, but the places below are well loved by the sailing community.

Lake sailing

The Lake District, England's largest National Park, offers five of the most beautiful places to sail in boats, each with its own distinctive character. These are Buttermere, Coniston Water, Derwent Water, Ullswater and Windermere. Buttermere provides a mix of good boating and pleasing fell views. Often called England's loveliest lake, Coniston Water is a long, straight lake, which boasts a boating centre and top-class landscapes. Derwent Water is set beside an eye-catching panorama of soft blue hills. Ullswater is often called England’s most beautiful lake, whilst Windermere is England’s largest natural lake and The Lake District’s most popular attraction.

Canal sailing

The Crinan Canal is sometimes referred to as Scotland's most beautiful shortcut. As it is about 14 km long, you can easily spend a leisurely six or more hours sailing the whole length and enjoying Scotland's ruggedly beautiful, unspoilt west coast landscape. Wales also has beautiful canals. The Monmouthshire and Brecon Canal, most of which is set within the Brecon Beacons National Park is a very scenic network of waterways, rich in cultural heritage.

Loch sailing

Upper Lough Erne, in County Fermanagh, Northern Ireland, is a charming section of the Erne river, just right for a slow, romantic sailing trip. Crom, where the loch sits, is 2,000 acres of tranquil landscape managed by The National Trust. Scotland’s lochs are popular too. You can sail on Scotland’s Loch Katrine on The Steamship Sir Walter Scott or Lady of the Lake and take pleasure in viewing The Trossachs, an area of woodland glens and braes.

River sailing

Wales’s River Cleddau, from the Cleddau Bridge eastwards, meanders through gently beautiful scenery. Most of the river is designated as quiet water, having a slow speed limit and no wash. The busy port of MIlford Haven is nearby. The upper Cleddau is something of a secret known only to a few, a waterway that seems to take you into another world in this charming part of the land of the red dragon.

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