Oxford Canal Boat Hire & Narrowboat Hire

The Oxford Canal is one of the most beautiful and popular canals to take a narrowboat holiday. Once the main transport route from the midlands to the south of England, the canal starts by the River Thames in Oxford. It runs for 77 miles, mainly through quiet rolling countryside. Near Coventry, it connects with the midlands’ canal system. It has 43 narrow locks and takes about a week to cruise.

Hillmorton Locks

Hillmorton Locks

  • The Oxford is a canal of two halves.The southern Oxford below Napton is an early contour canal, winding through villages and around the Cotswold Hills. Above Napton it twists and turns so much that Napton Windmill can be seen for hours from many different directions!
  • The northern Oxford was straightened with embankments and tunnels in the nineteenth century. This almost halving the length of the route and you can still see some of the evidence of this. There are straightened loops spanned by fine cast iron bridges and the entrance to the original Newbold Tunnel.
  • So much to see!The City of Oxford, with its Museums and University Colleges founded nearly a thousand years ago. It is located where the canal joins the River Thames.
  • Fascinating Oxfordshire villages like Lower Heyford and Cropredy, gain an extra 17,000 people during an annual music festival. Then there is Blenheim Palace with its Capability Brown Gardens, Churchill’s birthplace.
  • The famous canal town of Braunston, at the junction between the Oxford Canal and the Grand Union Canal. It has many original canal buildings such as the Stop House where tolls were collected. Here there is an annual rally where you may see 80 plus ex working narrowboats in a stern-to-bow parade!

How to Find the Best Boat Hire Oxford Canal

Hiring and cruising a boat is easy, with dozens of hire firms offering a variety of boats, including day boats.

See our listings below for details of top boat hire companies. Compare companies and book directly for the best deals. These firms are a great alternative to the ‘corporate big boys’!

Canal Boat Hire from family firms on or around The Oxford Canal

College Cruisers

College Cruisers offer relaxing holidays on the Oxford canal & River Thames. Excellence in customer service & comfort with a friendly welcome & expert tuition. Central Oxford base. All parties welcome including dogs.

Grand Union Narrowboats

Grand Union Narrowboats. Small family run company. 2,4 & 6 berth four star graded narrowboats for weekly hire on the Grand Union and Oxford canals. Experience the Northamptonshire countryside at its finest.

Kate Boats

Kate Boats, a family run business, with quality narrowboats from two bases on the Grand Union Canal, ideally situated on the Warwickshire ring.

Beginners welcome, full instruction given.

Napton Narrowboats

Based at Napton Junction, Napton Narrowboats family-run fleet now gives you the widest choice of boats and routes.

Narrowboat Escapes Holidays And Training

Narrowboat Escapes Holidays And Training specialising in traditional narrowboat hire, holidays and training. Based at the heart of England's waterways at 'Braunston Marina' we have six beautiful and historic canal routes within a short distance. Phone: 07944 589 679

Oxfordshire Narrowboats

Oxfordshire Narrowboats. Cruise the beautiful Cherwell Valley & Cotswold Borders toward Oxford & the Thames. Short breaks, families, pets, and large groups are welcome.

Rose Narrowboats

Rose Narrowboats are a family firm with a fleet of 20 luxury narrowboats for weekly or shortbreak rental in the heart of the Midlands canal system.
On-line brochure here now.

Twyford Wharf Narrow Boats

Twyford Wharf Narrow Boats Ideally situated on the Oxford Canal, just below Banbury at Twyford Wharf.  4-6 berth, well equipped narrowboat available throughout the year.  Expert tuition, ideal family holiday.

Rose Narrowboats

Rose Narrowboats on the Oxford Canal near Rugby have Rosette, a tug style narrowboat with galley and toilet, available for self-drive day trips for up to 12 people.

Canal Rings

Thames Ring
The south Oxford Canal forms part of the Thames Ring, with the Thames & Grand Union.
Warwickshire Ring
Includes the Birmingham & Fazeley and Coventry and sections of the Grand Union and north Oxford.
Leicester Ring
Includes the Coventry and sections of the Grand UnionTrent & Mersey & north Oxford Canals.

More Information

Holiday Cruising Guide to the Oxford Canal.

More Southern hire firms or narrowboat hire firms in other canal areas.

Day hire boats to cruise with a few friends for a few hours.

Help to choose the right canal boat for your holiday.

Plus lots more advice and tips in our Canal Holiday Advice.

Our Listings

We provide contact telephone and email details free of charge for canal based companies, click for details.
Please note: We provide all contact details as an information service. We rely on traders to keep us informed about these listings so we can't guarantee that details are accurate or up to date. Please see our Terms of Use.

Add a company

Grand Union Canal
Grand Union Narrowboats
High Street, Weedon NN7 4QD.
01327 342418
Kate Boats
The Boatyard, Nelson Ln, Warwick CV34 5JB.
01926 492968
Narrowboat Escapes Holidays And Training
Braunston Marina, The Wharf, Braunston, Daventry, NN11 7JH
07944 589679

Oxford Canal
Armada Boat Hire
Falls Bridge Wharf, Cathiron Ln, Rugby CV23 0HA.
Rugby, North Oxford
Clifton Cruisers
Rugby, North Oxford Canal
College Cruisers
Combe Rd, Oxford OX2 6BL.
01865 554343
Elegance Boat Hire
Lime Farm Marina
Rugby, Warwickshire
Napton Narrowboats
Napton Marina, Tomlow Rd, Stockton, Southam CV47 8HX.
Oxfordshire Narrowboats
Station Rd, Lower Heyford, Bicester OX25 5PD.
01869 340348
Rose Narrowboats
Fosse Way, Brinklow, Rugby CV23 0PU.
01788 832449
Twyford Wharf Narrow Boats
The Old Barn, Twyford Wharf, Banbury OX17 3JN.
01295 816025

Day Hire
Clifton Day Boat
Clifton Wharf, Clifton upon Dunsmore, Rugby CV23 0EY.
Lime Farm Marina
Cathiron Ln, Rugby CV23 0JH.
Rose Narrowboats
Fosse Way, Brinklow, Rugby CV23 0PU.
01788 832449
Union Canal Carriers Ltd
Dark Ln, Braunston, Daventry NN11 7HJ.

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