Forget Barbados, Majorca and Tenerife, Manchester, Newcastle and Liverpool are officially a cities of 'nabbers' (short for narrow boaters), research has revealed.

Compared with this time three years ago, just over three quarters of people from the North of England are more likely to go on a narrow boat holiday on UK canals this summer.

Celebrities like Prunella Scales and Timothy West are leading the trend by vacationing on canals all over the North of England, according to research from Arniston Bay wines and ICM Omnibus.

Travel stress is cited as the main reason.

Almost half of women from the North find travelling abroad more stressful, compared with just over one-third of men.

Airport delays are the main cause of stress for both sexes, with travelling time and expense cited as stressful.

In contrast, the main reasons for the narrow boat’s soaring popularity are freedom and escape from everyday life and sheer relaxation.

TV presenter Craig Doyle said; “I can see why people would want to relax on the UK’s thousands of miles of linked waterways.

"It’s all about fresh air, relaxation and ‘me-time’. It’s the ultimate in freedom and escape from the stresses of everyday life. I’m going to be on the waterways myself this summer."

Royal Wedding fever is definitely behind us with only 5% of the people surveyed wanting to share their narrowboat with William and Catherine.

Women most wanted to share their boat with Jamie Oliver, who beat Colin Firth and Alan Carr.

Men meanwhile, wanted to share their narrowboat with either Welsh singer Katherine Jenkins, Jennifer Aniston or Holly Willoughby.

For more information about Arniston Bay, visit