What is a hire narrowboat like?

What features and facilities can we expect if we get a canal hire boat? What do we have to bring with us and where do we put stuff?

  • What facilities and equipment can we expect to find on our canal hire boat?
  • How many people can sleep on one hire boat, how many bedrooms will there be?
  • How do we know what we need to bring with us on a canal hire holiday?
  • How much room will there be for our bags and holiday items, what about bikes and canoes?
  • Can we bring our pets with us?

What Facilities and equipment do Canal Hire Boats have, how much room?

All canal hire boats have flush toilets and hot and cold running water. Many have central heating, fridges, microwave cookers and televisions. The boats really do offer all the home comforts you need in a cosy environment. Many websites list an Inventory of things you can find onboard, usually there is no need to bring equipment or implements. Sheets and or sleeping bags are usually provided, you may need to specify which you want when you book.

How Many People Can A Narrowboat Accommodate?

Canal boats come in all different shapes and sizes, so they can accommodate 2 people with plenty of space to sprawl out or, in the case of the really big ones, a more cosy 12 people all at once.

If you’re planning a trip as a big group, make sure there’s enough room – you could always consider hiring two boats which can be a lot of fun. Because of safety regulations you probably won’t be able to hire a canalboat which sleeps more than 12 people.

What Will We Need To Bring With Us?

Hire company websites and brochures will usually list exactly what their boats are equipped with. Make sure you bring the right clothing depending on the time of year: warm clothes and waterproofs, shorts and t-shirts, hat, sunglasses and sunscreen (the sun’s rays are more powerful when you’re on the water), non-slip deck shoes etc. Take binoculars and a camera to make the most of the wildlife, and don’t forget the torch. Shops are never too far away if you forget anything. Do try to have a mobile phone on board, handy to ring ahead and book a table in a pub, or to contact the hire firm if you breakdown!

Can We Bring Our Dog Or Cat?

It’s a great holiday for dogs! See our Dogs on Boats info page. Not many cats like water though!

Will There Be Much Storage Space?

Canal boats are compact but there should be enough room to store everything you’ll need for the cruising. Don’t bring the kitchen sink though, there will be one already, and remember that you’ve got to carry it all on board!

Can We Take Bikes Or a Canoe?

Check with the hire firm first, preferably before booking! Some don’t like bikes on boats because they have to be stored on the boat roof, and can often cause scratches. The same goes for canoes, check first.


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