choose a traditional narrowboat...
and take your best friend with you.
Find your perfect pet friendly boating holiday. Use our live availability search of over 1,800 self-drive hire boats from more than 80 UK bases on the UK inland waterways. Reserve online or call our boating team on 01252 796400.
Pet Friendly Boating Holidays
Canal and Norfolk Broads boating holidays are perfect for all the family - four legged friends included. Dogs love being with the 'family pack' and enjoy the ever changing surroundings. And there is plenty of wildlife for them to watch!
Most boats are pet friendly and many waterside pubs will allow dogs in the bar area or garden.
All boats are thoroughly cleaned before each handover, but if you'd prefer a pet free boat, please tick the appropriate box in the advanced search options.
Not just for dogs
We have welcomed a variety of different pets aboard, so if you don't want to leave your hamster or guinea pig behind, you can still bring them along. Just make sure they are kept securely in their cage as there are plenty of nooks and crannies on-board a boat for them to hide in and they could cause damage to furnishings and wiring!
African grey parrots, cockatiels, a minor bird and budgies are some of the feathered varieties who have come along, but please don't put them too close to the curtains, as they are a popular form of bedding!
One special pet was 'Crispy' the Pekin duck. He wore a smart bow tie and a nappy with frilly pants. Of course, he took them off when he went in for a swim.
Is there a cost?
Yes, there is typically a charge of between £15 to £35 per pet, although some boatyards do permit one pet free of charge. This small cost is much better value than finding a pet sitter or kennels and your pet probably prefers it too! On some of our narrowboats, the boatyards will happily accept up to 4 pets without charge, depending on the size of the boat.
Please be aware that some of our smaller 'sports style' cruisers on the Norfolk Broads only have room for one small dog, so you may need to choose your boat with your pet in mind.
Please remember it's your pet and therefore your responsibility. If he or she causes any damage to the boat, the boat operator would expect this to be paid for, as they cannot insure their boats against pet damage.
Narrowboat, cruiser or yacht?
If you choose a narrowboat holiday on the canals, it's so easy to get on and off the boat with your four legged friend at a lock or in a bridge-hole and take a leisurely stroll along the towpath while comfortably keeping pace with the boat.
Take a lock key with you and then you're ready to set the next lock for your crew as you will probably reach it before them.
On the Norfolk Broads, nearly all our cruisers and all of our yachts welcome pets. We tend to suggest the forward steering cruisers for larger dogs, or older pets that might struggle with steps, as they are generally all one level inside.
You have plenty of opportunities to hop off your hire boat and take a lovely walk in the surrounding villages and countryside.
The forward steering cruisers and yachts should be able to pass under the lowest bridge at Potter Heigham; we recommend you cruise or sail to Horsey Mere and moor in the dyke by Horsey windpump. From here it's a very pleasant 30 minute walk across fields (mind out for the cows and keep your dog on a lead) to the gap in the sea defences (Horsey Gap), which leads onto a magnificent beach.
In the late autumn and early spring there may be seals on the beach, but if there aren't any you can let your dog have the run of the sands. Return via the pub, the Nelson Head, for a well deserved pint and bite to eat.
Buoyancy aids are offered on arrival for all the crew and some boatyards, particularly those on the Broads, will provide a doggy life jacket for a small deposit. Alternatively you can purchase your own doggy lifejacket on our Maps & Guides page.
If you are not sure how to start looking for your perfect pet friendly boating holiday, why not give us a call on 01252 796400?
As well as being keen boaters, we all have pets and would be happy to help and offer inspiration.