On sunny days, canoes (per person €10) and motor launches (per person €15) are available for two-hour rentals at the northern end of Haven.

With a bicycle, there are appealing rides south of the city, taking riders through the Mastbos forest and along the pretty Mark riverside. Given a couple of hours you could take in the old market square of Ginneken, pass the pretty moated Bouvigne Castle and cross the invisible Belgian border to Meersel-Dreef with its Lourdes-like Catholic grotto.

Worth a Trip: Cycling Route – Border Loop

To get away from the city bustle jump on a bicycle and take the LF9 cycle path which meanders along through pretty countryside following the Mark River.

Start from Ginneken, a village-turned-suburb at Breda's southern edge which has two big churches and an appealing triangular market square full of terrace cafes. Follow Duivelsbruglaan west out of the square. The LF9a turns left just after the bridge, however, you might want to continue 100m and take the bigger road south at first – it passes right beside very pretty little Bouvinge Castle, which is in its own moat (closed to the public though the gardens do open). To get back on the LF9, continue south, but where the road swerves right, find a tiny cut through to the left to find the cycle path. The most beautiful section of the whole route is just after this but you can follow the river for around 9km (including a well-marked tunnel and shimmy to get beneath the motorway) to reach Meersel-Dreef in Belgium. The only sign that you've crossed the border is an 1843 black-and-silver marker beside the bike path. After that take the first road right (Markweg), then turn left and after 300m on the main village road you'll come to Kapucijnenkerk, a brick abbey-church with the attached tavern De Zevenster aka Bij de Paters (www.zevensterbijdepaters.be) serving its own excellent Drevenier beer (an 8.5% triple). Across the road, stroll into Maria Park where an artificial grotto attempts to draw Lourdes parallels and does indeed pull in local pilgrims on Sundays.

To return a different route you could follow Galdersweg north via Galder and the attractive Mastbos Forest.