All Great British Boating canal boat hire companies uphold standards of excellence, ensuring we are among the best in the business and all our customers can expect professional care and attention.
Hundreds of people discover the delights of taking a canal boat holiday on Britain’s beautiful inland waterways each year. Unlike cars on our roads, boats travel on the right side of our canals and rivers. On most of the inland waterways the maximum speed is 4mph. You don’t need a licence to cruise our peaceful inland waterways and all our operators provide expert tuition as part of their holiday packages.
Your party should include at least two fit adults. When cruising along, you only need one person to steer, but when you reach a lock, one person needs to stay on the boat and the other has to get ashore to work the paddles and gates. Children can help with working the locks and steering under supervision.
You’ve come to the right place
Great British Boating offers information and advice to help you decide on the right boat, departure point and journey.
Your Boating Guide
Watch this video before going boating for the first time and learn how to navigate our waterways safely.
Our canal boat hire operators offer a range of holidays from each starting point.
Short Breaks, One week or longer holidays are all possible.
Great British Boating offers the choice of dozens of canal boat hire departure points serving the Midlands waterways. All are within a reasonable taxi ride or train journey from Birmingham International Airport and transfers can easily be arranged.
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.
What To Bring
Things you might want to bring with you, include a torch, camera, binoculars, a good waterways guide (such as Nicholson’s or Pearsons), enough food supplies for a couple of days (supermarket deliveries to direct to your boat can be arranged in advance), non-slip deck shoes and protective gloves for working the locks.
Our canal boats range in size from 32ft, providing accommodation for just two people, up to 70ft with beds for up to 12 people. All our boats are unique, so once you have selected your starting base, take a look at our range of flexible boat interiors and layouts to see what works best for you.
Pets Are Welcome
Well behaved pets are welcome on almost all of our self-drive boats. When booking, we will be able to confirm the conditions that apply to the different companies. Please include details on the holiday reservation form.
A small charge may be applicable.
Inside Our Boats
All our boats have a TV and DVD player, and many also have WiFi. On boats with 204v sockets, hairdryers, straighteners, phone and computer chargers, and other electrical appliances that use up to 1,000 watts can be used, but anything using above 1,000 watts is not permitted.