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  • Llangollen Canal boat hire

    cruising the Llangollen Canal...

  • UK Narrowboat holiday

    relaxing holidays afloat...

  • Canal Boat holidays

    work together & operate the locks...

  • Active weekend Boating holidays

    climb the Hatton flight on a canal boat holiday...

  • hire boat in Southern England

    Explore the Kennet & Avon...

  • traditional boating breaks

    enjoy cruising a traditional narrowboat...

Find your perfect Canal boating holiday or Norfolk Broads boat hire at the best direct booking prices. Check price & availability on over 1,800 hire boats from 80 bases then reserve online or call our boating team on 01252 796400.

UK Barge Holidays


Barge Holidays, Canal Barge Holidays, Barge Hire, UK barge hire

Canal barge holidays on the UK canals and waterways are a great way to slow down and relax whilst watching the scenery drift slowly by or enjoying the hospitality of the many canal side pubs, restaurants and places of interest. Barge (also known as Narrowboat) hire is available from many locations across the UK and we have teamed up with over 25 of the top hire boat operators to provide you with a comprehensive online holiday search of over 400 of the best boats available.


You can instantly check availability on hundreds of boating breaks and make your reservation online. Your booking is then made directly with your selected boat operator at their direct booking prices which includes special offers where available.


You can choose short break barge hire, (either a weekend from Friday afternoon to Monday morning, or midweek from Monday afternoon to Friday morning) or a full week or longer. The wide choice of locations also means that you can select from an active vacation with plenty of locks and the occasional tunnel and lift bridge or a more leisurely route out into the open countryside with only a few or no locks to operate - the choice is yours. We are always very pleased to offer advise if you would like more information on a particular route.


UK barge hire usually includes all fuels used during your holiday, including diesel for the engine and gas for cooking and heating. Most boats also include bedlinen within the standard price and towels are provided for overseas visitors. Your boat will be your floating home for your holiday break and therefore includes most home comforts including colour TV a good size cooker and oven, fridge, shower or bath, plenty of cupboards and storage space. Luxury boats often also include a 240V electrical supply and benefit from a microwave oven and video or DVD player.


Pubs are one of the best things about a canal boat holiday. All boats have everything you need to self cater but you'll also find lots of waterside pubs and eateries. We recommend purchasing a guide to the waterway for more information about the pubs along your route. Most pubs are pet friendly and will allow dogs in the bar area.


All narrowboat type barges are steered from the back using a tiller. There are three types of stern (back) available:


Cruiser Stern - A large open rear deck area with a rail surround. Ideal for the a number of people to stand at the back in the open air.


Traditional Stern - a small open standing area (or counter) for the steerer in the style of the original canal working boats. Great to get a tradition boating experience, but still with open space at the front of the boat for the crew to enjoy the scenery.


Semi-traditional Stern - A cross between the cruiser and traditional back, with a small open deck for the steerer and an open deck area in front enclosed by side walls with open top. This style is ideal for families where mum and dad want to keep a close watch on the kids who can sit in the partially enclosed area without losing the feeling of being fully involved in all of the activities.


Cruising is available most times of the year and all boats have central heating (some also have a solid fuel stove) so you can enjoy autumn or spring cruising when the scenery is often at it's best and the waterways are very quiet and peaceful.