Everyone Can Enjoy The Canals…

Canal Boat Holidays Can Be Enjoyed By Anyone, From The Youngest To The Oldest, Individual Travellers To Groups, Locals to Overseas Visitors.

  • You don’t need to go far to find a canal to enjoy, the UK is full of them!
  • If you are going for a canal holiday you can use car or public transport.
  • Most canal hire firms and canal attractions will provide car parking spaces.
  • Some holidays will be more suitable for people with disabilities, so check first.
  • You can usually get mobile phone and Internet access on the canals.

How Do We Get To Our Canal Holiday?

Most of us live within easy reach of a canal. You can drive to your hire base or canal attraction, or use public transport. Overseas visitors will find that the UK is a fairly compact country with reasonably efficient transport systems. Almost all English canals are under 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 marinas by taxi or bus in under an hour. If you hire (rent) a boat or join a hotelboat cruise the operators will provide detailed information on how to reach them. Due to the nature of how and why canals were built, many canals pass through cities making access by public transport easier.

Finding Hire Bases and Hotelboats

It may not be just the canal you need to reach, but a particular hire company or attraction. Hire companies commonly operate out of marinas, some are in the middle of the countryside, others are a stone’s throw from a railway station. Some firms will organise a pick up from a station or airport, so do your research before booking.

Most hire firms operate from boatyards or marinas with car parking. Often the marina gates will be locked overnight to give some security, though companies may warn you that they are not liable for any losses. Sometimes there may be a charge or limitation on the number of cars your party can park.

Hotelboats can be joined from locations around the canal system, but they can usually offer advice about where to leave a car, and costs. You will often have to use public transport to get back from the end of the cruise to the departure point.

Can Disabled People Enjoy Canal Boat Holidays?

If you are a little unsteady on your feet or use a wheelchair you could have problems getting on and off the boat and negotiating within the restricted confines of the boat.
Some hotelboats and hire boats can cope, be clear about your requirements and most companies will go out of their way to accommodate you, or recommend somebody who can.

Towpaths too can be uneven and not wheelchair friendly. However, even if you don’t help with locks you can still enjoy watching the world float by and seeing new places. Some hire firms do have boats specially adapted with wheelchair lifts and aids for people with a range of disabilities.


We have a full page about Accessible Canal Boat Holidays.

Will My Mobile Phone Work on the Canals?

Mobile phones will work from much of the system, though there are areas where reception is poor and local black spots caused by being in a cutting etc. If you are cruising you should get a signal most days, though some networks are better than others. You may find that reception is poor inside a modern steel cabined boat and you have to go outside to get a good signal. It is possible to buy an antenna to fit on the boat roof.

Can I Get Internet Access on the Canals?

If you can get a mobile phone signal then you can probably access your emails and the Internet. However, download may be slow unless you are in a 4G area, sometimes not the case in the most rural parts of the canal system. You can either use a laptop computer connecting through your mobile phone, a laptop with a wireless broadband modem, or a mobile phone with Internet facilities.


All materials and images © Canal Junction Ltd. Dalton House, 35 Chester St, Wrexham LL13 8AH. No unauthorised reproduction.

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