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Narrowboat hire in the UK

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Narrowboat hire in the UK

We are planning a trip to the UK in early June 2019. We are interested in hiring a narrow boat for the four of us and I would like advice about which canals to explore. Our time will be one week, and we would like to be more in the countryside than the industrial cities. Quaint villages and hopefully an aqueduct or two would be fun. We don't mind locks and we will probably want to have bicycles on board. Any ideas? Also, which companies would you recommend?


11 replies to this topic
Buckingham, United...
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1. Re: Narrowboat hire in the UK

Have a look at Link, I would suggest Grand Union in the Midlands - take in Stoke Bruerne, home of Canal Museum, BlisworthTunnel lovely area.

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2. Re: Narrowboat hire in the UK

I suggest the Kennett and Avon system. The flight of Locks at Caen Hill are particularly awesome!

Preston, United...
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3. Re: Narrowboat hire in the UK

Where are you based or where will you come into the UK if not from the here? Is there a particular area of the country you would like to explore? There's no point in my giving you some detailed recommendations for one area to find you prefer another or somewhere is easier to get to.

Having said that, without answers to the above my top canals are, in order: -


Leeds & Liverpool

Macclesfield/Peak Forest

Trent & Mersey

Many others will point you to the Llangollen because of the last few miles and that aqueduct - my view as a narrow boat owner is that it is overrated as a whole and can be exceedingly busy.

England, United...
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4. Re: Narrowboat hire in the UK

goutweed welcome to the forums.

You can also search for previous threads on the subject to get a wider range of information.

Put Narrowboat or Canal into the small search box above your post and a list will come up

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1,610 posts
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5. Re: Narrowboat hire in the UK

If you are interested in aqueducts look up Edstone Aqueduct of the Stratford upon Avon Canal

its on part of the Avon Ring

There are two smaller ones too on this canal

Wiltshire, United...
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6. Re: Narrowboat hire in the UK

Kennet and Avon <<The flight of Locks at Caen Hill are particularly awesome!>>

Having navigated it in a boat with 6 competent adults working hard I can say it is spectacular... but absolutely not for a couple in much less than a day!

However the K&A east of Devizes is a joy - IMHO

Preston, United...
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7. Re: Narrowboat hire in the UK

PMQ - I’d advise you not to accept any invites to help on the locks at Wigan or on the Rochdale canal then!

The Kennet & Avon isn’t on my list, not because it’s not a fine waterway, but because it can be a pain to find places to moor especially the further east you go.

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8. Re: Narrowboat hire in the UK

I always jump in on narrowboats! We love it. 65 year olds from the US, two of us in fairly good health. For rookies, try Ellesmere to Llangollen, three locks each way, the big aquaduct, a short tunnel...take a couple days in Llangollen marina, head back. Most enjoyable and great for first timers. Get boat from Blackwater Meadow Marina. More challenging but also great...Caldon Canal, start in Northwich go as far as you can...but a ton of locks, better be in good shape and know what you are doing. I think the Llangollen trip was a great first time experience for us...not as demanding, we had a chance to ease into it and get our sea legs and loved it...then went back for the Caldon. My view, having done them both.

Lytham St Anne's...
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9. Re: Narrowboat hire in the UK

Sounds like good advice from John

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10. Re: Narrowboat hire in the UK

If you decide on the Caldon, then start at Stoke on Trent or Stone, not at Northwich. You will save yourselves a lot of locks that way.

For scenery and interesting small towns you cannot beat the Shropshire Union Canal, especially south from Barbridge or Nantwich. There are locks but they are more ‘doable’ than many.

I always suggest a look at www.canaljunction.com where there is a summary of the different canals and routes

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