Canal FAQ

Canal Holiday Advice

A Great Way To See The Country...

Is It A Good Holiday For Overseas Visitors?

Taking a canal cruising vacation is an excellent way to see the English, Scottish and Welsh countryside, to escape the cities and the beaten tracks and meet with real people going about their lives. You get to brush up against authentic heritage - culture that lives and breathes - and beautiful picture-postcard countryside, but not from behind the window of a tourbus – on a canal boat you’re fully immersed in the natural world.

traditional canal boat

Canals have changed little since they played such a large part in the Industrial Revolution, and you’ll get a sense of this history as you cruise. Best of all, a canal holiday is an opportunity to travel slowly, to appreciate the fine details of life, enjoy new friendships, sample real English Ales in historic canal pubs and take some slow, deep breaths for a change.

Can We Incorporate A Canal Holiday Into A Bigger Trip?

If you’re on a long touring holiday, a spell of canal cruising is the perfect antidote to the hustle and bustle of airports and the frenetic pace of European cities, giving you the opportunity to relax and recharge your batteries for the next flight. But you might be surprised – it could well be the highlight of the whole trip.

Do We Need A License, Training Or Experience To Drive A Canal Boat?

No. Anyone can hire a canal boat with no license or training whatsoever. All you need to do is turn up, turn the engine on and off you go. Most people pick up steering and controlling the boat fairly quickly, canal hire firms will give basic training if you have no one experienced on board before letting you loose, and it is possible to take some lessons in advance. See our FAQs on Boating Skills for more information.

How Do We Get To The Canals?

If you're not familiar with Britain, it is a fairly compact country and has efficient transport systems. The northern most English canals are no more than 3 hours by train from London and if you fly into Manchester or Birmingham airports for instance you could be at any one of dozens of canalside boatyards by taxi or bus in under an hour. If you rent a boat or join a hotelboat cruise you will get detailed information on how to reach them.

How Do We Find A Firm To Organise Our Canal Holiday With?

Canal Junction lets you choose a canal route first, or go to the websites of the different 'hire' firms to see the boats and the routes that they can offer. If you want the hard work doing for you find an all inclusive canal cruise on a hotelboat through our Hotelboating website.

Can We Hire A Boat At The 'Last Minute’?

It depends when you’re hiring. In the middle of summer and on school holidays, it can be difficult to hire a boat unless you book in advance. In quieter times, many of the hire companies will have last minute options. Keep an eye out on the individual websites. Offers will also feature on our Hireboats2go website, an online search facility for late availability canal holidays from over 50 family run hire companies. There are often hundreds of boats available over a 2 month period.

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