What is an 'Insider Experience?'

The authentic and immersive ‘Insider Experiences’ on our cruises allow our guests to connect with the people and places they explore.

There are many advantages to a relaxed barge cruise, that lures many travellers to return time after time. One of the aspects we can’t emphasise enough is that a hotel barge holiday gives you the time and space to get some less conventional insights into the place you are exploring. We call these insights ‘Insider Experiences’. They are not always mentioned in our published itineraries as many are spontaneous, often determined by the interests of the guests onboard. However, they contribute to an important sense of really understanding the history and culture of the regions you cruise through on one of our holidays, as they provide a fascinating glimpse into local life.

Flower Garden, Cawdor Castle, Scotland, August 2014

People and Places

Wherever you choose to cruise with us, there are opportunities to hear the stories of local people and their lives away from the tourist traps. For example, in Holland you may visit the workshop of a master clockmaker who will be happy to demonstrate his incredible traditional skills. On the canals in Burgundy, a friendly lock-keeper may offer you a tour of his cottage and garden, before sharing a game of boules and a glass of Pastis.

Past guests have been shown the beautiful grounds of a Scottish castle by its knowledgeable head gardener, while one group was even treated to a private tour of a Renaissance chateau by the Count himself, followed by a foray into his personal wine cellar.

Friends or family enjoying a delicious meal aboard luxury hotel barge Athos - european canal cruises

History and Heritage

Local life is often the key to delving deeper into the history of the waterways you will be cruising. A trip to a Thames-side boatyard, for example, will give you the opportunity to watch highly-skilled master builders crafting a traditional river vessel such as a slipper launch. On the River Loire, guests have often enjoyed a trip out on an open wooden boat, sharing a glass of white wine with its cheerful owner as he tells a few interesting tales.

Lockhouse Canal Nivernais 2

Immersive and Authentic

If the idea of really getting ‘under the skin’ of local history and culture appeals to you, feel free to get in touch with our knowledgeable sales team. They would be more than happy to recommend a hotel barge cruise that satisfies your desire for an authentic and immersive personal experience.

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