We love and care for your canals and rivers, because everyone deserves a place to escape.

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.

Boating on the Grand Union Canal Boating on the Mongomery Canal

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.

The Narrowboat

Despite the name narrowboats can be quite roomy; with usually at least 6ft worth of headroom, and longer vessels can accommodate up to twelve people.

They have three main designs and are steered by the use of a tiller at the stern (back) of the boat.

  • ‘Traditional’ sterns, where the cabin extends all the way back to the steering position
  • ‘Cruiser’ sterns have an open space in front of the steering position
  • ‘Semi-traditional’ sterns have an enclosed space, which looks traditional but still gives your crew space to stand

The barge

Some of the 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.

The cruiser

These stylish, yacht-like boats are sleek and stream-lined. Like the narrowboat, cruisers are also fit to accommodate large parties but they are more flexible in their design. New to steering a boat? Choose one that's smaller and easier to manoeuvre. Unsure of weather conditions? Choose one with steering above and below deck – ideal for sailing your boat in comfort come rain or shine.

Last date edited: 8 July 2015