Holiday Planning

How to get the best out of your boating holiday

Planning a holiday can be a great experience, but it can also be a little stressful if you're not quite sure what's what. That’s why we’ve put together this canal route planning guide - which give you a little head start on how best to plan your canal boating adventure!

Canal Journey Planning

1. Decide on the Area


A very popular choice is the countryside on your doorstep. Seeing the area by canal gives a whole new perspective to an area you know well, but with the confidence of knowing the best places to stop for provisions. 

Alternatively there may be an area of the country or a historic town that you have always meant to take the time out to explore – so why not take that opportunity now? 

2. Suggested Canal Routes


A number of canal maps and guides are available for planning your trip or locating all the sites of interest, pubs, shops and facilities along your route. The guides relevant to each route are indicated on the route information pages .

These may either be ordered from our website, or purchased at the start of the holiday at the marina .

3. Who is going?

As you take the holiday at your own pace, 2 active adults can easily handle a narrowboat. If you are considering a route with more canal locks or with younger children in the crew, it might be worth considering taking a larger boat with another family to share the experience.

As you cruise along, one person steers and the rest of the crew is free to watch the scenery or even walk the towpath alongside. At locks (and when mooring) one person stays on the boat to steer whilst at least one person works the lock mechanism. When you are first taught to operate a lock it may appear bewildering but by your second or third go, you will already wonder what you were worried about.


4. Type of cruising

Our various start bases all have a wide selection of routes and each is generally typified by particular geographic features dictating the style of the canal.

For instance, Goytre has few locks and plenty of walking opportunities within the Brecon Beacons; Alvechurch boasts the biggest lock flights in the country for larger or more active groups; Whitchurch & Wrenbury are both on the beautiful winding Llangollen canal; Worcester gives the opportunity for some lovely river cruising and Gayton offers some of the best short breaks and is handy from London or Birmingham.

See all our marinas here


5. Choose your canal boat

Having narrowed down your choice of areas, the number of people and your holiday dates, use the availability checker at the top of this page to see the options available to suit your criteria.

From here you can view a gallery of each boat, and click on the 'more information' button to view more in-depth details.


What stern type is best for me?

There are 3 different stern types on narrowboats:

  • The Traditional
  • The Semi-Traditional
  • The Cruiser stern

None of our fleet have Traditional sterns as they offer the least amount of space at the back. Cruiser sterns have the most space while a 'Semi-Traditional' offers a little less space than a Cruiser. 

Typically, a Semi-Traditional stern will also have some seating either side while Cruiser sterns generally do not have seating, except for at the very back for the captain to sit on whilst driving.

The stern type is specified in the boat details section, and in the details when you book.

View all boats

Get your price and book


Having found a number of boats via our availability checker that suit your needs, you can then go ahead and book your holiday!

Once you've inputted all of your personal details you'll then be taken to our secure payment screen where we require a minimum of 25% of the original hire charge, or the balance if you're booking within 8 weeks of the start date.

There is no itinerary - you set your own agenda. In a week by canal you are likely to cover the distance you could cover in an hour by car yet the journey will be a far richer one!

If you have any concerns or questions about your canal route planning, just call our booking office on 0330 333 0590 (UK local rate). We are open 7 days a week and there won't be a 'silly' question we haven't heard before...

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