Good news – our holidays can resume on 4 July

Visit Britain approved as Good to Go

The government has given permission for staycations in England to return from 4 July.

The Welsh government has said it will make the decision on whether to open up the country to tourists again on 9 July.  If this is given the go ahead, it’s likely to take effect from 13 July.

The date for proposed resumption of Scottish tourism is 15 July.

We are looking forward to welcoming you back to our boat yards.  In the meantime, we are putting in place measures to help keep our staff and customers safe during the pandemic.

These measures are based on the guidelines that have been produced by government, British Marine and the Canal & River Trust.

Key measures

  • Social distancing: We are putting in new social distancing measures at all our boat yards. These include signage to help keep staff and customers 1m+ apart, as well as staggering boat collection and return times to reduce the number of people on site at one time.
  • Cleaning: We are introducing extra cleaning measures for all our boats between each hire. This includes the use of approved antiviral cleaning products, and paying extra attention to surfaces that are touched regularly, such as door handles, taps, guard rails and keys.  We are also ensuring our reception areas are regularly cleaned, and hand gel or hand washing facilities are available.
  • Boat Handovers: We are providing extra information to customers in advance of their holidays, about our boats and how to operate them. Handovers will be done a little differently, but you will meet one of our professional instructors and be shown how to steer and operate the boat.  Handover staff will wear masks and gloves.

Individual Drifters operators are providing more information about the measures they have put in place on their own websites and customer communications.

There’s more advice and guidance for using the canals safely here:

Up to date travel advice from the government can be found here:

For more information about restrictions in Wales go to:

For further information about restrictions in Scotland go to:

Cancellations due to coronavirus

Bookings made through Drifters are subject to each operator’s own terms and conditions.

During the 2020 season, Drifters operators are accepting holiday deferrals where customers have to change their booking due to coronavirus*.  Where deferrals due to coronavirus are not possible, vouchers or refunds will be given.

*See individual operator’s websites for qualifying reasons

Great British Boating offers a range of canal boat holidays on the 2,000 miles of Britain’s inland waterways, with all of the information you need to plan and make the most of your time. You can adventure at your own pace along our recommended routes, watching out for wildlife and stopping to enjoy traditional pubs, tea rooms and country walks, as well as exciting historic attractions and cultural events.

Our peaceful canals and rivers offer a great way to relax and discover Britain from a unique perspective. Choose from hundreds of top quality boats offering all the comforts of home, and all operated by established canal boat holiday companies.

Our canal boat hire operators offer a range of holidays from each starting point.

Short breaks are three-night weekends or four night mid-week holidays. They are great for beginners, providing the chance to get a taste of life afloat on Britain’s inland waterways.

One week holidays provide seven nights away, starting on a Friday or a Saturday.  A week afloat offers the chance to travel further and explore more waterside attractions.

Longer holidays can be 10-days, two weeks or even longer.  These holidays offer the chance to travel round some of the larger circuits, taking in a wide range of landscapes and destinations.

To find out more about the different holiday options available, please use our interactive map below.

        Start Points- Click on any start location to view all of the local routes available

Please use the Key to the left of the map to view recommended Attractions and Places of Interest

Find Your Perfect Boating Holiday
circular cruising rings for canal boat holidays
Focus on Northern Waterways
Visit the canals and inland waterways of England
Focus on Central waterways
Focus on Southern waterways

Things you need to know

Great British Boating offers information and advice to help you decide on the right boat, departure point and journey for you.

Operating Locks

It’s easy to learn how to steer a narrowboat and operate the locks. You don’t need a licence and all our narrowboat hire operators provide expert tuition and detailed pre-arrival information.

Easy Access

Great British Boating offers the choice of over 40 canal boat hire departure points, and most are located within a reasonable train or taxi ride from an international airport. Transfers can easily be arranged.

Discover more things you need to know

Things to see & do

From quiet country pubs and village churches, to exciting historic attractions where history and culture come to life, you’ll find plenty of places to visit on your canal journey.

Warwick Castle and the River Avon
Royal Shakespeare theatre in Stratford-Upon-Avon
Walking holiday in the Heart of England along the Heart of England Way
canal and river boating holidays from Worcester.


Take a look at what some of our customers say about their holidays with us.

The Stratford Canal
Leonard, Utrecht. NL

To sum up, we had a great week on the boat, with our captain (my wife) receiving praise at several moments from other more experienced boaters and the crew receiving offers to be hired by other captains 😉


The Warwickshire Ring
Elizabeth, Wiesbaden, Germany

Their boat was excellent value, and when we needed help, they responded immediately. The staff were friendly and thoughtful, and they were completely dedicated to making sure that our holiday continued without a hitch


Catherine M, Saskatoon, Canada

It was a great adventure as we went through over 20 locks. Stopped in many villages to eat in the pubs. Took a bus to Warwick Castle and Stratford


Want to get started? 

Start planning your trip.

Find your perfect holiday with Great British Boating. Simply select your preferred start location and date and click on “check availability”. 

You can further refine your search by selecting holiday length and berths.

Or you can book directly now by calling us on:

 +44 (0) 1252 796 402

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