In a torrential downpour, we drove from Manchester to Devizes – city ebbing away into countryside as the rain beat down hard.
Our destination? Devizes Marina – a peaceful mooring station filled with brightly coloured barges and home to the lodge we were staying in for the weekend. The well-designed wooden chalet had big glass doors that opened onto a balcony overlooking the marina, two large rooms with en suites hidden behind the wardrobes and of course…. a hot tub. All of the essentials for a cosy weekend.
It’s an unsuspecting holiday destination, tucked quietly away from residential surroundings but provides perfect peacefulness if you’re looking for a slower pace to unwind your week. And with a pub and Lidl within walking distance, stocking up for a weekend of barging and gorging was easy to do.
Saturday bought sunshine – the perfect day to get out onto the Kennet & Avon canal. We rented a boat and with some helpful instruction from the staff at the Marina, set sail.
Gray – my sister’s fiancée – immediately took charge of the driving, leaving us to gossip as the boat made its way down the water, bordered by reeds, weeping willows and the odd heron. It’s an easy route and scenic for a beginner, with no locks to navigate. Steering the barge really was so easy that even I managed to do it without any major mishaps…!
Two pubs adorn the one-day route. We stopped at The Bridge Inn for lunch; the portion sizes were pleasantly massive and the menu full of your typical pub favourites.
We then turned the boat (not as hard as it sounds) and sailed off to Devizes – a market town, packed full of restaurants and shops, meaning we had the ability to stock up on M&S hot chocolate fudge pudding and have a ramble before heading back onto the water.
The lovely thing about life on the canal is that it really is life as four-miles-an-hour, meaning you can hop off for drink, sip tea as you float along and soak up the joy of simply slowing down. If you need a weekend of retreat and relaxation, I’d highly recommend it. And finishing the day off with a hot tub is never a bad thing…