Boat trips and holidays

If you don't own your own boat there are plenty of other ways you can get out and about on our canals and rivers. From hiring out a boat with friends for an afternoon to taking a two week holiday with your family there’s something out there to suit everyone's budget.

If you don’t fancy taking charge of a boat yourself there are plenty of other ways to get on the water. Taking a boat trip is a wonderful way to see the canals and rivers as you can relax while someone else does all the hard work.

Alternatively you could book yourself into a hotel boat or take a meal on a restaurant boat. In this section of the website you’ll find everything you need to know about taking a boat trip or holiday on our canals and rivers.

The boats

As much as a canal holiday is about exploring new territory and leaving the everyday at home, most of us still like to have our little luxuries follow us. Which is why most people are hooked after their first time on a canal boat.    

One minute you could be admiring the picture-perfect views from the tiller of your boat, the next you could be putting your feet up in front of the telly or relaxing in a nice, hot shower.

Canal boats can also be surprisingly spacious - welcoming news for large families. But narrowboats and barges aren't the only types of boat available; choose the best boat to suit your needs and your canal holiday.


Narrowboats can be quite roomy with plenty of headroom. Longer craft can sleep up to 12 people.

Some of our major canals and rivers have a wider set of dimensions and so can accommodate boats of up to 14ft wide – this is where the barge comes in. These spacious vessels are the 4X4s of the waterways but with more space comes fewer routes, as these boats are obviously limited to those canals and rivers that can handle them.


These too can also host large parties but they are more flexible in their design. You could choose one that's smaller and easier to manoeuvre or even a cruiser that has steering above and below deck – ideal for moving your boat in comfort come rain or shine.

Last date edited: 18 October 2019