News article created on 31 January 2020

Water-way to holiday

Narrowboat hirers overwhelmingly recommend boating holidays on our beautiful inland waterways.

Three ladies walking alongside a boat Taking a boat holiday

We are encouraging you to get afloat with a hire boat holiday this summer by publishing research showing that nine out of ten people (eighty-eight per cent) who hired a canal boat last year were ‘very satisfied’ with a further eight per cent saying they were ‘satisfied’.

The quintessentially British pastime caught the imagination of hirers, with ninety-eight per cent recommending their summer holiday to family and friends.

A relaxing low-carbon adventure

Matthew Symonds, national boating manager for The Trust, says: “As we all become increasingly aware of the impact we’re making on the planet, the Canal & River Trust is urging people to ditch flying overseas for a relaxing low-carbon adventure on the nation’s waterways.

“We are delighted to report that last summer’s hire boaters were overwhelmingly happy with their holiday choice and would recommend their holiday to others.

"When you visit a canal or get behind the tiller, it’s not surprising why. The nation’s waterways flow through some of the country’s most breath-taking countryside, bringing you face to face with some amazing wildlife and passing by the doorsteps of hundreds of historic waterside pubs and restaurants.

“The combination of a relaxing yet active holiday appeals to families, while for those looking to enjoy the tranquillity of the waterways, it is a unique way to see Britain from a different perspective. Whatever the motivation, it looks like hire boating is as popular as ever.”

Hundreds of routes and destinaitons

Ed Helps, from the management board at trade association British Marine, adds: “With around one thousand canal boats available to hire from over fifty locations around the country, there are hundreds of narrowboat holiday routes and destinations to choose from.

"From the rural Llangollen Canal in North Wales with its world-famous UNESCO World Heritage Status Pontcysyllte Aqueduct to stretches of canal that take boaters right into the heart of vibrant cities like Manchester, Leeds, Birmingham, Oxford and Bath, canals offer holiday-makers the chance to slow right down and explore some of the nation’s best countryside and waterside destinations.

“It’s easy to learn how to steer a narrowboat. Holidaymakers get a good handover with all the information they need for a safe and enjoyable trip when they pick up their boat.” 

The online survey taken by one hundred and seventy-one boating holiday makers was promoted through postcards distributed by volunteer lock keepers and some hire boat operators between May and October 2019.

For more information about holidaying on the canals, go to or visit Drifters Waterway Holidays which offers over five hundred and fifty canal boats for hire, operating from forty-five bases across England, Scotland and Wales. For more information, call 0344 984 0322 or visit