What will a canal hire holiday or Hotelboat cruise cost?

It might look a lot of money at first but don’t forget that’s accommodation and entertainment as well for all of your party! And you can save money by eating in some nights!

  • Hire boat prices vary depend on time of year and boat size but are probably between £350 to £450 per person per week.
  • Hotelboat Holidays are usually all inclusive, fully catered and serviced, costing between £1,000 to £1,500 per person per week.
  • Prices are competitive when compared to hotels, holiday cottages and airbnb which of course cover accommodation only.
  • Lower prices by avoiding the summer season, self catering and finding late booking discounts.
Canal on a sunny day

How Much Will It Cost?

Prices are highest during the summer months (July & August) when a 6 berth self drive hire hire boat would cost between £2,000 to over £3,000 per week, in low season between £900 and £1,500.
A single berth for a week on a fully catered and organised Hotel Boat will cost about £1,000 to £1,500 (UK pounds) during that period.
These costs are illustrative only and will vary with the standard of accommodation and service, time of the year etc. However, they need to be compared with hotel prices which can cost between £600 and £2,000 per person per week for average hotel accommodation or £2,000 upwards for an airbnb weekly rent in a holiday area. Neither alternative provides your holiday activities and entertainment like a canal holiday does! All the hire boat websites and hotelboat websites will have exact figures.

Are there Extras to pay, what about a Deposit?

You have to pay a deposit and pay the balance usually six to eight weeks before the holiday. If you are booking at short notice, or from overseas, you may have to pay the full amount to book. Hotelboat cruises are usually fully inclusive of meals and some drinks. Most self drive hire boat prices include diesel fuel, gas for cooking and heating, parking, tuition, bed linen & towels. Some boats will allow pets but there may be a small surcharge. Check with the hire or hotelboat company before booking.

Can We Haggle Over The Price We Pay?

You can always try to negotiate the brochure price down, but you won’t always be successful! Your best chance of getting a discount will probably be outside of the holiday season. The canals are even quieter in Autumn, Spring and Winter, and canal cruising is a healthy all year round activity, so it’s a great time to go boating! You may find that some hire companies will be prepared to offer a slightly larger boat at a lower price if they haven’t got the size boat you want. It always pays to talk to the firm, even if they appear to be fully booked for the week you prefer. They also may be able to recommend another firm who may be able to help. Firms do also often have offers, especially when bookings are slow, watch their websites!

Are There Discounts For Longer Term Hire?

Most companies will discount if you hire a boat for more than a week. If you’re planning to rent for an extended period, months rather than weeks, some firms specialise in long term hire.

How Can We Cut Down The Holiday Cost As Much As Possible?

Try to avoid peak holiday periods, prices are often more than twice as much then. Some firms offer boats with slightly lower specifications, look for 3 star boats rather than 4 or 5 star ones in the Quality Inspection Scheme. Boats with more berths will usually work out cheaper per person. And take as much food with you as possible and cook your own! If it still seems too expensive why not just take a short break this year, most companies offer 3 or 4 night holidays, midweek or over a weekend.

What About Late Booking Offers?

Our hireboats2go website is 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. Late booking narrowboats may be at discounted prices, or companies may be provided to haggle over the listed price. We also have Hotelboat Holiday Late Bookings in season.


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

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